Football | Loyola's Ford pumped about chance to play in front of family in Ireland

Special to the Tribune

Luke Ford hoped to visit his relatives in Ireland someday.

Loyola's sophomore safety never considered the possibility of having them watch him play a high school football game in Dublin.

On Aug. 31, in Week 2 of the 2012 season, Loyola will play against Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas as part of the Global Ireland Football Tournament.

The Friday night game will be followed Saturday by the annual Notre Dame-Navy matchup.

"It is pretty exciting," said Ford, who will be a senior then. "Both of my maternal grandparents are Irish immigrants. I have two or three grand uncles and all their children. They all came over here last year. My mom has never been there. My whole family is going for the trip."

John Holecek, the former NFL player who has turned the Ramblers into a power in his four seasons as coach, was presented with the opportunity during the winter thanks in part to his friendship with former Augustana coach Jim Barnes of Global Football.

"I didn't expect it to go through," Holecek said. "I thought I'd throw it out there to the administration, and we're doing it. It's going to be an unbelievable experience."

Loyola will not cover all costs of the trip, but players will get reduced prices and the school will help those in financial need, Holecek said.

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