US visitors stoked for weekend of American Football

Sporting showcase brings thousands to city for high school and college football games

Jorge Portorreal from St Peter’s Prep School New Jersey enjoying the parade at Trinity College Dublin after they marched through Dublin as part of the American Football Showcase high school teams visit to Ireland. The high school games will be played at Donnybrook Stadium on Friday. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

"I'm from Atlanta, Georgia; I'm here for Georgia Tech, " said Anna Rowe during the American Football Showcase's parade through Dublin yesterday. "This is my first time in Ireland, but I'm so stoked to be here." She's not the only one. Almost 20,000 Americans are in the city for a weekend of high school and college football, which began with yesterday afternoon's parade.

The six top American football high-school teams will play matches at Donnybrook Stadium today, with games beginning at 11am, 2pm and 5pm. Meanwhile, Boston College and Georgia Tech will take to the Aviva Stadium tomorrow for the annual Aer Lingus College Football Classic.

The clash is set to fill the 51,000-seater stadium with fans from the US, Ireland and all over the world. A number of special guests will be attending tomorrow's game, including Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg and Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive of Coca-Cola.

Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia and Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta are also in Ireland for the game. *


Irish tourism is set to benefit considerably from the weekend. It is estimated that Dublin will gain €19 million in tourism proceeds from the event, which is the third of its kind to take place in the past five years.

"The Boston College v Georgia Tech game will provide a further very welcome boost for tourism from the United States this autumn," said Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland. "It will undoubtedly be another wonderful college football event for Dublin, bringing wider benefits to the island as a whole.

“Sports-related tourism has emerged as a very significant element of the global travel business in recent years and the Aer Lingus College Football Classic will be another wonderful opportunity to showcase Dublin and Ireland.”

Yesterday's parade through the city centre, which began in Parnell Square and concluded at Trinity College, included live marching bands and cheerleaders from each school, as well as players and coaches.

The teams involved were Westminster School, Blessed Trinity, Marist School from Georgia, Community School Naples and Belen Jesuit from Florida, as well as New Jersey's St Peter's Prep.

“This is a great opportunity to be in the country and playing football,” said St Peter’s Prep running back Adonis McGee. “We have to combine two things: focusing on what we have to do for the game and have fun being in a different country at the same time.”

* This article was amended on September 2nd, 2016.