Emerald Isle Classic
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2012)|
|Emerald Isle Classic/Shamrock Classic/Croke Park Classic|
|Previous stadiums||Lansdowne Road, Aviva Stadium|
|Operated||1988-89, 1996, 2012, 2014|
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. After poor attendance 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, played at Croke Park, drew a slightly smaller crowd than the first Emerald Isle Classic. 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 teams in 2012, held at Aviva Stadium, was confirmed by the two schools, the Irish American Football Association, and stadium management in September 2010. The Emerald Isle Classic was tied to the Irish tourism initiative The Gathering, which sought to encourage members of the Irish diaspora (especially in the U.S.) to visit their ancestral home in 2013. The first advance sellout for a sporting event in the two-year history of Aviva Stadium (though the stadium was used to capacity crowds, and, anyway, not all of the ticket purchasers would ultimately attend), 15,000 tickets sold in two hours, and about 35,000 Americans went to Dublin. This contrasted with the 1996 game, played in a half-empty Croke Park. 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. The U.S. Navy docked an amphibious-assault warship in Dublin before the game.
In June 2013, Penn State and UCF were reportedly in negotiations to play their 2014 season opener at Aviva, and the stadium was also seen as a potential venue for a proposed bowl game that would begin that season. The Orlando Sentinel, located in UCF's home city, reported in July 2013 that the teams would play the game at Croke Park instead of Aviva. That month the game, to be called the Croke Park Classic, was confirmed. Yet the timing of the game proved disastrous and irked locals - it interfered with the 2014 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship and upset indigenous sports fans annoyed that a crucial Kerry-Mayo showdown had to be forced out of the venue and into another city at short notice. Furthermore, Dubliners themselves were inconvenienced by a stray American parachutist crashing onto a railway line and telephoning for help, while car alarms and heart attacks were triggered by two American fighter jets which, without warning, soared over the normally tranquil city at a low altitude ahead of the game.
|1988||November 19||Emerald Isle Classic||Lansdowne Road||Boston College||38||Army||24||42,525|||
|1989||December 2||Emerald Isle Classic||Lansdowne Road||Pittsburgh||46||Rutgers||29||19,800|||
|1996||November 2||Shamrock Classic||Croke Park||Notre Dame||54||Navy||27||38,651|||
|2012||September 1||Emerald Isle Classic||Aviva Stadium||Notre Dame||50||Navy||10||48,820|||
|2014||August 30||Croke Park Classic||Croke Park||Penn State||26||UCF||24||53,304|||
- Croke Park Classic
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