NCAA College football returns to Ireland in a big way; Notre Dame to face Navy

For the first time in four years, major American (NCAA) college football returns to Dublin, Ireland as Notre Dame will take on Navy in August 2020.

This will mark the first of a five-game college football series in the Irish capital and the third time these two teams face each other in Dublin.

The (Aer Lingus) College Football Classic, is the seventh in a string of college games in Dublin and which last pitted Boston College against Georgia Tech in September 2016, will kick off with Navy-Notre Dame on 29 August 2020. The four additional games are yet to be confirmed, but they are scheduled to take place by the end of 2024.

According to, the five-game series could bring  €250 million to the economy of Ireland. According to estimates, 35,000 fans traveled to Ireland for the second meeting between Notre Dame and Navy in 2012. Notre Dame won that contest 50-10.

With the popularity of American football growing in Ireland and Europe, even more interest is expected in this game.

However, while hospitality packages will go on sale over the coming year, fans can’t expect tickets to go on general sale until at least March 2020.

Since 1988, a total of six NCAA college football games have been held in Ireland. Boston College beat Army that year 38-24 while in 1989 Pittsburgh downed Rutgers 46-29. After a seven year hiatus, the game returned to Dublin in 1996, that time with Notre Dame and Navy squaring off for the first time. Notre Dame rolled over Navy again, 54-27.  The two teams battled again in 2012 as mentioned and then two years later Penn State edged the University of Central Florida 26-24.  In 2016, Georgia Tech defeated Boston College 17-14.

Apart from the game in 1989, attendance has never fallen below 38,000 for these games with a peak in 2014 of 53,304 turning up at Croke Park. Organizers are expecting another capacity crowd in 2020.

Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar:

“This is a long-term partnership with US college football. We want to see it continue long into the future. I believe the series will capture the imagination of football fans in both countries.”


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