The Keough-Naughton College football trophy, the prize that will be claimed by the winner of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic in Dublin, was unveiled in the U.S. at both Boston College and Georgia Tech’s respective games last weekend.
Boston College and Georgia Tech will compete for the inaugural ‘Keough-Naughton’ Trophy in next September’s Aer Lingus College Football Classic in the Aviva Stadium.
The trophy, made by Waterford Crystal, got the seal of approval on its tour over the weekend. From Boston College on Friday night ahead of their match against Florida State, to the Notre Dame v Georgia Tech College Football game played at South Bend Indiana on Saturday, both the Keough and Naughton families were on-hand to give the final seal of approval of the stunning new trophy.
As part of a tour of the U.S., the trophy will stay in Notre Dame until October 10, where it will be on display for Notre Dame Ireland Council Meeting, before making its way to Atlanta, Georgia for a number of engagements in November, the highlight being the Georgia Tech v Virginia Tech on November 12 at the Bobby Dudd Stadium.
The House of Waterford Crystal manufactured the game trophy, which was designed by Matt Kehoe, Head of Design at Waterford Crystal, and hand crafted at the Waterford factory based in Ireland.
The trophy is an American Football mounted on three individual sculpted pillars of crystal, resting on a beautiful base and plinth. Matt’s concept for the trophy was a ball in flight and the pillars represent the players’ arms catching the ball. The trophy is a fantastic addition to Waterford Crystal’s collection of World Famous sports trophies.
Neil Naughton, Chairman of the steering group created to maximize the business opportunity between Ireland and the United States around future College Football games in Dublin, was joined by Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh and Boston College Athletic Director Brad Bates for the unveiling ceremony at Boston College. Both Fergal and Neil Naughton then met with Mickie Keough, wife of the late Don Keough, in South Bend after Georgia Tech had played Notre Dame.
Commenting in the US, Neil Naughton said “Don Keough was a charismatic leader, often described as the best president America never had. As leader of Coca Cola, an iconic global brand, Don was a vigorous and visionary presence in American business for over half a century. He was also a dynamic presence in Irish America, where he supported Irish business, education and culture in multiple ways. Don brought wise counsel, good humour, and vigour to strengthening the relationship between Ireland and America.”
He continued: “One of the legacies that Don was most proud of was the Irish Studies program that he founded in Dublin, which has brought thousands of young Americans to Ireland. Because he believed strongly that the Irish-American partnership only worked well if it was equally supported on both sides of the Atlantic, he invited my father to co-chair this Irish Studies initiative. The Keough and the Naughton families have worked closely together in the last two decades to foster a strong link between Ireland and America.”
Asked about the aim behind the college football classic, he said “One ambition that the families share is to bring major American College football games to Dublin every two years, where elite universities will bring the spectacle and the drama of their sport to Irish turf. These games offer huge publicity potential, practical economic benefits, and a genuine expression of the close ties between our two countries.
"We hope to add an exciting international chapter to the rich narrative of American College Football, which brings famous franchises like Boston College, Georgia Tech, Penn State, Notre Dame, and Navy to Dublin,” Naughton then concluded.