In Ireland, Georgia Tech’s luck begins with Lucky Charms cereal

Soda bread? Irish.

Black pudding? Irish.

Lucky Charms? Surprisingly, not Irish.

Georgia Tech learned this truth this spring, when football operations assistant director Craig Candeto made a site visit to the hotel where the Yellow Jackets will stay prior to their season opener Saturday against Boston College in Dublin. Among Candeto’s responsibilities was ensuring that the hotel could pull off the team’s standard pre-game breakfast, which includes a variety of cereals, including a certain children’s cereal with pink hearts, blue moons and purple horseshoes.

“They’re like, Lucky Charms – what is that?” Candeto recalled last week.

Candeto was concerned he might have been committing a cultural faux pas by asking for a product with an Irish stereotype. One employee ultimately recognized the brand.

“She’s like, oh, yeah, yeah, the leprechaun,” Candeto said. “I guess that’s a touchy subject?”

It’s part of the job of operations staff like Candeto to ensure that players and coaches are able to stick to their routine, even down to cereal.

The Jackets need not fear at breakfast time. Eager to please its guests, the hotel went the extra mile and ordered a shipment of the magically delicious cereal. The challenge of helping coordinate the team’s visit to Ireland has had any number of similar logistical details, including realizing that there are differences in how bacon is prepared in the U.S. and Ireland.

“They also don’t have grape jelly,” Candeto said last week. “I found that out today.”

Apple, raspberry and strawberry jellies were on hand, but not grape jelly. Candeto initially figured the team could go without.

“Hopefully, Coach (Paul) Johnson doesn’t really look forward to his grape jelly,” said Candeto before pausing. “In that case, maybe I should bring a couple packs. Now you’ve got me concerned about it.”