American Football will come to life in Dublin over the next five years with an annual staging of the Aer Lingus College Football Calssic at the Aviva Stadium.
In 2020 it will be a big one with 50,000 spectators, as many as 30,000 of them coming in from overseas, to support Notre Dame and Navy.
The consistency of having such a big game every year will drive interest in the sport and part of the ongoing legacy it will create will be a greater degree of interest in the domestic game.
On Bank Holiday weekend at Energia Park in Donnybrook this year’s Shamrock bowl will be played between the South Dublin Panthers and the Belfast Trojans.
It’s the 33rd staging of the showpiece event and the conclusion of an eight-game regular season followed by a semi-final round.
The sides last meeting came in the regular season with the Trojans claiming a 26-16 victory.
The Trojans topped the Conference with an impressive 6-1-1 record while the Panthers (4-4) managed to hold on to their playoff spot despite losing their last three regular-season games.
Experience of competing in the decider could be key for the Trojans as they won four consecutive titles from 2012 to 2015.
South Dublin Panthers are competing in their first Shamrock Bowl but will be confident of providing an upset having already beaten last year’s champions Cork Admirals in the semi-final.
The bowl game has been played at Tallaght Stadium in six of the last seven years but this is Energia Park’s first time hosting the event.
“It promises to be a great day out for all with food vendors, full licensed bar, merchandise stalls and a halftime show provided by Fusion Elite All-Star Cheerleading,” said Kate Sherry, the newly appointed Commercial Director at the Irish American Football Association.
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