Blogs / Features
Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Sure and begorrah, Arizona grid officials head to IrelandAug 21, 2012
By Don Ketchum
The teams from Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep and Chandler Hamilton won’t be the only people representing Arizona in the Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT) in Dublin on Aug. 31.
An officiating crew from Arizona will work two games on that day, the first between Loyola Academy of Chicago and Jesuit Prep of Dallas and a college contest between John Carroll University of Ohio and St. Norbert College of Wisconsin.
Notre Dame will meet Father Judge (Pa.) and Hamilton will face Notre Dame (Calif.) at separate locations.
The crew is one of Arizona’s best, and has been working toward this event for nearly 18 months.
The men wearing the striped shirts are referee Don Cerimeli, umpire Dean Cerimeli (brother), head linesman Mike Chase, line judge Scott Williams, back judge Tyler Cerimeli (nephew), field judge Paul Hunting and side judge Russell Yurk.
“We have been looking forward to this for a long time,’’ Don Cerimeli said.
The group will “warm up’’ by calling Saturday night’s (Aug. 25) game between Phoenix Brophy Prep and Santa Margarita (Calif.) at Phoenix College.
They’ll probably get home by 11 p.m. on Saturday, “do our laundry,’’ as Don Cerimeli said, get a brief amount of sleep before scarfing down a bowl of Lucky Charms and heading to the airport for an early morning flight on Sunday (Aug. 26).
There will be about 15 in the traveling party, including family members. Most of the funds for the trip were raised by the crew, which was selected from numerous applications.
The two games will be played at Donnybrook Stadium, home of some professional rugby teams. Hopefully, all the lads on the field will behave themselves and the donnybrook will remain in name only.
Don Cerimeli said the crew had to rewrite some of the rules for the high school game, with approval by the two schools.
“Texas plays college rules and Illinois plays high school rules, so we have to split them up and be as fair as possible. That is very important,’’ he said. “We expect the game to be really competitive.’’
The crew will take a quick break and work the Division III college game. The men will have to wear separate uniforms, because the college officials wear thicker stripes, according to Don Cerimeli.
The men also will be a part of the big college game on Sept. 1 between Notre Dame and Navy at Aviva Stadium, working the game clock.
“The game sold out in about a half-hour,’’ Don Cerimeli said. “There will be about 35,000 in the stadium, and quite a few of them will have come over from the (United) States. And Notre Dame obviously has a big following in Ireland.’’
All the 12 teams will participate in a parade through the Dublin city square and the nearby town of Trim will be hosting a festival of Irish and American music, arts and cuisine.
“There aren’t many people who get this kind of opportunity. We have worked other events out of state such as the Kirk Herbstreit games in Ohio, but this takes the cake for us. It will be a neat experience,’’ Don Cerimeli said.