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Visit Florida and BookaBed / A2B Entertain American-Style at Croke Park

Visit Florida and BookaBed / A2B Entertain American-Style at Croke Park

An attendance of 53,304 people, including some 20,000 from the USA, watched the American Football Classic game in Croke Park between Penn State Nittany Lions and University of Central Florida Knights on Saturday – while two travel trade teams were hosted in the hospitality suite, one by Colin Brodie of Visit Florida, the other by Lee Osborne of BookaBed and Adam McKnight, A2B Travel Extras.

Irish and US flags are paraded before the match

Irish and US flags are paraded before the match

 

A last-second, 36-yard field goal by Sam Ficken won the game for Penn State by 26-24, but the excitement had begun some three hours beforehand with all the razzamatazz that such a game brings, including a low fly-past by two US Air Force F16s (from a base in Italy) and ball deliveries by two parachutists, one of whom managed to actually land in the stadium, the other on the adjoining railway track!

The Penn State parachutist who did land on the pitch – the other landed on the railway track alongside the stadium!

The Penn State parachutist who did land on the pitch – the other landed on the railway track alongside the stadium!

It took a while for most of the travel trade attendees to learn the rules of the game, but that did not detract from their enjoyment of the day, only adding to it. Many did wonder, however – with the frequent stops between plays, the constantly changing teams of 11 from the 100-player rosters lined up on either side, and four quarters rather than two halves – just how long any one of the players would last on a soccer or rugby pitch, never mind in a GAA or hurling match.

ITAA President Martin Skelly with Colin Brodie, Visit Florida

ITAA President Martin Skelly with Colin Brodie, Visit Florida

Bev Fly, BookaBed, and Paul Manning, Hertz Ireland

Bev Fly, BookaBed, and Paul Manning, Hertz Ireland

Lee Osborne, BookaBed, with Mary Denton, Sunway; Ita Hendrick, Travelworld; and Martin Skelly, Navan Travel

Lee Osborne, BookaBed, with Mary Denton, Sunway; Ita Hendrick, Travelworld; and Martin Skelly, Navan Travel

Ivan Beacom, Aer Lingus, with Adam McKnight, A2B Travel Extras

Ivan Beacom, Aer Lingus, with Adam McKnight, A2B Travel Extras

Austin Carroll, Platinium Travel, and Dee Burdock, American Holidays

Austin Carroll, Platinum Travel, and Dee Burdock, American Holidays

Mary McKenna and Veronica Flood, Tour America

Mary McKenna and Veronica Flood, Tour America

UCF had big ideas for the match

UCF had big ideas for the match

Kevin Williams, Abbey Travel, with Lee Osborne, BookaBed

Kevin Williams, Abbey Travel, with Lee Osborne, BookaBed

The teams take a break during play – one of many!

The teams take a break during play – one of many!

Martin Skelly, Navan Travel, and Adam McKnight, A2B Travel Extras

Martin Skelly, Navan Travel, and Adam McKnight, A2B Travel Extras

Mary Denton, Sunway, with Ita Hendrick, Travelworld

Mary Denton, Sunway, with Ita Hendrick, Travelworld

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 50 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 40 years.

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