Emerald Isle Classic

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Emerald Isle Classic/Shamrock Classic/Croke Park Classic
Stadium Croke Park
Location Dublin, Ireland
Previous stadiums Lansdowne Road, Aviva Stadium
Operated 1988-89, 1996, 2012, 2014
US Ambassador Dan Rooney and Taoiseach Enda Kenny take part in the ceremonial coin toss before the 2012 game at Aviva Stadium.

The Emerald Isle Classic was the first NCAA-sanctioned American college football game played in Europe. The game was played at Lansdowne Road in Dublin, Ireland in the years 1988 and 1989. The first game featured a 2-7 Boston College team led by Mark Kamphaus against the 8-1 Army.

The game was intended[by whom?] to be an annual event to attract some of the 40 million Americans of Irish descent back to their fatherland. College teams with particularly Irish or Catholic background were chosen in an effort to attract Irish nationals to the games as well.[citation needed] After poor attendance[quantify] in 1989, the Emerald Isle Classic was discontinued.

In 1996, Notre Dame and the United States Naval Academy began a second American football event in Ireland called the Shamrock Classic. The event drew a slightly smaller crowd than the first Emerald Isle Classic. The game was played at Croke Park. Notre Dame won the game over Navy, setting the record for the longest winning streak over an annual collegiate opponent at 33 wins. A return trip by the two teams in 2012, to be held at Aviva Stadium, was officially confirmed by the two schools, the Irish American Football Association, and the stadium management in September 2010. The 2012 game was announced as the Emerald Isle Classic by Navy Athletics.[1]

The 2012 game was officially tied to an Irish tourism initiative called The Gathering, which sought to encourage members of the Irish diaspora (especially in the U.S.) to visit their ancestral home in 2013. It was the first advance sellout for a sporting event in the two-year history of Aviva Stadium (although the stadium has had capacity crowds before, and not all of the ticket purchasers would ultimately attend); all 15,000 tickets available in Ireland were purchased within two hours, and about 35,000 Americans, mostly Notre Dame fans, made the trip to Dublin. This contrasted with the 1996 game, played in a half-empty Croke Park. Media coverage for the 2012 game was also considerably greater than in 1996. The earlier game was televised on tape delay in the U.S., while the 2012 game aired live in parts of Europe as well as the U.S. In addition, the Notre Dame pep rally on the night before the game aired live on Irish television, and the U.S. Navy docked an amphibious-assault warship in Dublin before the game.[2]

With the success of the 2012 game, Aviva Stadium is now considering other American football games. In June 2013, Penn State and UCF were reportedly in negotiations to play their 2014 season opener at the Aviva, and the stadium was also seen as a potential venue for a proposed bowl game that would begin that season.[3] The Orlando Sentinel, located in UCF's home city, reported on July 9, 2013 that the teams had come to an agreement to play the 2014 game at Croke Park instead of the Aviva.[4] The official announcement was made on July 14, with the game to be officially called the Croke Park Classic.[5]


Game Date Event Venue Winner Score Loser Score Attendance Reference
1988 19 November Emerald Isle Classic Lansdowne Road Boston College 38 Army 24 42,525 [6]
1989 2 December Emerald Isle Classic Lansdowne Road Pittsburgh 46 Rutgers 29 45,525 [7]
1996 2 November Shamrock Classic Croke Park Notre Dame 54 Navy 27 38,651 [8]
2012 1 September Emerald Isle Classic Aviva Stadium Notre Dame 50 Navy 10 48,820 [9][10]
2014 30 August Croke Park Classic Croke Park Penn State vs. UCF TBD [5]


  1. ^ http://www.navysports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/navy-nd-ireland-travel-release.html
  2. ^ Pogatchnik, Shawn (August 31, 2012). "US fans take over Dublin for Navy-Notre Dame game". Louisville, Kentucky: WDRB. Associated Press. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  3. ^ Wilson, Christopher (June 11, 2013). "Report: Bowl games could be coming to Dubai, Dublin, the Bahamas". Dr. Saturday (Yahoo! Sports). Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  4. ^ Tenorio, Paul (July 9, 2013). "UCF, Penn State to officially announce Ireland game on Sunday". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved July 10, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Penn State to Face UCF in Ireland's Croke Park Classic to Open 2014 Season" (Press release). Penn State Athletics. July 14, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2013. 
  6. ^ Lohr, Steve (1988-11-20). "COLLEGE FOOTBALL; Dubliners Cheer as B.C. Wins". New York Times (The New York Times (1851 - 2004) database). Retrieved 2007-10-04. 
  7. ^ "Rutgers Stadium". Ellen & Russell. Retrieved 2007-10-04. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Games Played in Ireland". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2007-10-04. 
  9. ^ "Update on status of proposed Navy v Notre Dame game = Irish American Football Association". 2010-06-09. Retrieved 2010-06-09. 
  10. ^ "Aviva Stadium To Host The 2012 Navy-Notre Dame Game" (Press release). United States Naval Academy Varsity Athletics. 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2010-09-29.