Wild Geese Classic
Stadium Gaelic Grounds
Location Limerick, Ireland
Operated 1991, 1993

The Wild Geese Classic was a NCAA-sanctioned American college football game played in Limerick, Ireland. The game was played on the pitch at Gaelic Grounds in Limerick in the years 1991 and 1993.

The Classic was intended to be a celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Flight of the Wild Geese of 1691 and the Irish heroes who resisted an English seize of the City of Limerick. The game matched Division I-AA teams Fordham University and Holy Cross College with Holy Cross winning 24-19. The game was repeated 2 years later with The University of Massachusetts Amherst taking on the University of Rhode Island. UMass won the matchup by a score of 36-14.

The two Wild Geese Classic games were both hampered by poor attendance, Gaelic Grounds had a capacity at the time of about 50,000 people. The 1991 game saw an attendance of about 12,000 fans and only about 5,000 attended the second. Further, the game was unable to gain a national television contract and was only broadcast locally to areas where the competing Universities were located. These factors led to the Classic being discontinued after the 1993 contest.

Most native fans who attended the Classic were very confused by the rules, having never watched American Football. They incorrectly assumed that the rules were similar to those of rugby and therefore could not figure out why after a pass was ruled incomplete, that the clock was stopped and the play was ended, or how substitutions could be freely made between plays. Subsequently, the loudest cheers during the game were for such meaningless activities like the hang-time on punts, which in rugby are called Garryowens.[1]

Game results[edit | edit source]

Date Winner Loser
November 16, 1991 Holy Cross 24 Fordham 19
October 9, 1993 UMass 36 Rhode Island 14

References[edit | edit source]


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