Georgia Tech back in Ireland for 2024 football opener
Georgia Tech President Angel Cabrera, left, poses with the Keough-Naughton Trophy and Irish Consul General Caoimhe Ni Chonchuir and Minister Darragh O’Brien, right.
Georgia Tech’s football team will return to Ireland for next year’s football opener in a competition that Atlanta boosters will likely use again to pitch the city to Irish investors.
On August 24, 2024, the Yellow Jackets will face Florida State University in Dublin, where they beat Boston College in 2016 with a last-minute touchdown in their first-ever away game, Aer Lingus College Football Classic.
A delegation from Atlanta took advantage of the public relations boost, with local businesses from Sweetwater Brewing to Equifax using the game as an opportunity to raise awareness in the Irish market.
The announcement came two days before St. Patrick’s Day during a visit to Atlanta by Darragh O’Brien, Ireland’s minister for housing, local government and heritage.
Speaking at a press conference, Mr O’Brien said Georgia Tech’s spectacular seven-year win was still remembered and next year’s game at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium – normally used for football and rugby – would likely attract another sold-out crowd of over 40,000. .
More than 1.2 million people watched the 2016 game, and organizers expect that number to top 4 million in 2024.
“I know in Ireland this announcement will be greeted with great enthusiasm and people will welcome it with great enthusiasm,” said Mr O’Brien, who made an extensive tour of Georgia this week to meet with businesses, heritage groups and government. officials.
Former Georgia Tech and Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, Mr O’Brien said, was thrilled when the minister whispered the news of the football game before the revelation.
“Sport transcends many things, and sport brings people together, and there is a real interest in Ireland in American football,” Mr O’Brien said.
Look no further than Georgia Tech for an example: punter David Shanahan hails from Ireland and was among the smiling Tech team members when a video revealed they would be crossing the pond next year.
John Anthony, the founder of Irish American Events Ltd. and the Aer Lingus Classic, said the competition is “much more than a game”, but also a chance for young men to gain global recognition.
“Our history tells us that 75% or so of players don’t have passports right now, so knowing that this will be the first international experience these student-athletes will ever have is really meaningful and impactful,” says Anthony. .
If history is any guide, ticket holders will come from 20 countries and around 20,000 people will make the trip across the Atlantic, deepening ties between the United States and Ireland.
The teams will compete for the Keough-Naughton Trophy, named after the late Irish-American Coca-Cola executive Don Keough and Martin Naughton, an Irish billionaire who made his fortune in home appliances.