Top coach George O’Leary has urged the NFL to follow college football’s lead and play a major game in Dublin.
O’Leary made the remarks at the announcement that his University of Central Florida side will play Penn State in the Irish capital next year.
The game is expected to sell-out at the GAA headquarters Croke Park in August of 2014 and will bring in over $100million to the Irish economy.
UCF coach O’Leary and Penn State Director of Athletics Dave Joyner both welcomed the opportunity to play at Croke Park when they attended Sunday’s launch.
They were guests of honor as Dublin defeated Meath in the Leinster senior football final.
Irish-American O’Leary said: “We know the Notre Dame game against Navy here last year was a huge success and this fixture will be just as big.
“It is a huge opportunity for us to bring college football to an Irish audience and huge numbers of our fans will travel from America as well.
“With parents from Cork and Down backgrounds I am well aware of my own Irish roots and many of our players and fans have similar stories to tell.
“It is a homecoming of sorts for many of us and that only adds to the attraction.
“I also think it is something the NFL could look at. They already play games in London and a game in Dublin is a viable proposal for them to consider.
“I would like to think we can act as trailblazers for the college game next year and the NFL might well follow suit.”
Joyner attended the Dublin launch on behalf of Penn who are expected to bring as many as 30,000 fans to Ireland next year.
He said: “Watching the Dublin-Meath game on Sunday has only increased our desire to play in Croke Park.
“It is a very special stadium in a very special city and we are really looking forward to our visit.”
More information on the game is available at www.crokeparkclassic.ie.
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