The Fighting Irish will officially be returning to Ireland in 2020 for the 94th meeting of the Notre Dame – Navy rivalry. An official announcement was made today between the University, Navy, and the prime minister of Ireland. This will mark the third time in the rivalry that the two teams will square off in Ireland with the most recent coming in 2012 when they opened the season in Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Notre Dame’s Jack Swarbrick released the following statement:
“The University of Notre Dame, our football program, our alumni and fans had such a wonderful experience in 2012,” said Swarbrick. “The people of Ireland were incredibly welcoming and made our time on the Emerald Isle unforgettable. It wasn’t long after our return from that trip that Navy initiated conversations with the hopes of bringing this matchup back to Dublin. Chet and his staff at Navy deserve a ton of credit for making this a reality.
The game is being moved up one week earlier than originally scheduled. The 2020 schedule had this game set for September 5, but will now be played August 29. That should give Notre Dame two bye weeks in 2020 and give the Irish a week to recover from the jetlag. As a reminder, the 2012 Fighting Irish were sluggish in week two against Purdue after making their Transatlantic flight to Ireland.
The news comes just two days before the 92nd meeting of the rivalry with the two institutions set to face each other Saturday night at 8:00 PM in San Diego. Announcing it today was a great PR move since now the CBS crew announcing the game will spend plenty of time talking about the 2020 matchup and showing highlights of Notre Dame’s 2012 victory in Dublin.
This is a win – win for everyone involved. For Notre Dame, the Irish players get to spend time in Ireland and the staff can point to the 2020 game on the recruiting trail as they close out the class of 2019 and work more on the class of 2020. Navy’s players get to go to Ireland as well and get to be showcased in what will now be a much more marquee game on a light weekend of college football. The city of Dublin will get an influx of travelers who will like head over to the Emerald Isle for extended vacations.
“Over 35,000 fans travelled to Ireland when Notre Dame and Navy last met in Dublin in 2012 and we will warmly welcome them and many others back for the Aer Lingus College Football Classics. Major games such as this one showcase Ireland as a location for international events and tournaments and put our world-leading hospitality and tourism sector front and center. I look forward to the first game of the series with the return of Notre Dame vs Navy in August 2020; I have no doubt it will be a hugely popular occasion.” Prime Minister of Ireland Leo Varadkar
Persoanlly, I missed the 2012 game and will not be missing this one. As someone who recently went to Dublin for the first time – and got engaged on the island – I can attest to how amazing of a city it is. In the interim I’ll be headed back one more time for my bachelor party as well. So in short, if you are on the fence about making the trip, don’t be. It’s an amazing city and this is an amazing opportunity to see the Irish in action.