Thursday 7th August, Temple Bar, Dublin. With just over three weeks to the Croke Park Classic, an exciting programme of events around the American College football game between Penn State and the University of Central Florida (UCF) was announced today by Croke Park Stadium Director, Peter McKenna and Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke. The game will be played on Saturday 30th August but events surrounding the game have already started in the city.

With over 20,000 overseas tourists expected for the game, the majority travelling from North America, the economy is set to benefit to the tune of an estimated €30 million from the event.

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke said; “The economic benefit from the Croke Park Classic and the various social, business and entertainment events surrounding the game are hugely significant to the country. It’s a wonderful platform to showcase what Ireland has to offer to the many tourists who are over for the game and all those watching on television around the world. I am certainly looking forward to what promises to be an exciting build up followed by a superb spectacle in Croke Park.”

Croke Park Stadium Director, Peter McKenna said, “We have made a substantial investment to bring this event to the city and establish Dublin as the European Home of American College Football and we’re delighted to announce details of a series of events taking place in the run up to the game. These include the American Ireland Business Forum, The UNESCO Symposium on Youth Civil Engagement and Leadership through Sport, the GIFT high school games in UCD and a host of cross cultural and entertainment events in the Croke Park Classic Fanzone in Temple Bar. We’re delighted Dublin has embraced the event and hope that a fantastic welcome will be extended to all those travelling from overseas and around the country.”

Temple Bar will become a Croke Park Classic fanzone over the weekend from Thursday, August 28th to Sunday August 31st providing travelling fans and locals with an area to mix and mingle and get behind their chosen teams. Both teams Pep Rallies will be hosted here on Friday 29th and the pre-game Tailgate Party will also take place here on the morning of Saturday 30th. Dublin Bus will offer a complimentary shuttle service from Temple Bar to Croke Park to take fans from the Tailgate to the game.

The Croke Park Classic game spectacle will be a full days entertainment for all the family featuring parachute jumps, the Penn State marching band, Extreme Rhythm, The Dublin Gospel Choir, cheerleaders, team mascots and the Hurling Super 11’s. Tickets, including a special August Family Ticket Offer, are still available for the event.

UCF and Penn State will be playing for the Dan Rooney Trophy and there is a special coach’s Waterford Crystal helmet for the winning coach.

American Football is set to dominate the Irish sports calendar this August with the Irish American Football Association’s ‘Shamrock Bowl’ between Trinity College Dublin and Belfast Trojans in Tallaght Stadium this Sunday 10th August.

Tickets for the Croke Park Classic are on sale and further details are available on

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Event Schedule

Knights without Borders - 4th – 10th August, Lourdes Community Hall

Student athletes from the University of Central Florida are in Dublin this week as part of their ‘Knights without Borders’ social programme to help renovate the Lourdes Community Hall on Sean McDermott Street. This community initiative was developed in association with Croke Park Stadium and Habitat for Humanity Ireland to coincide with the Croke Park Classic.

American Irish Business Forum (AIBF) – Thurs 28th August, Croke Park Conference Centre

The business forum will be held on Thursday 28th August at the Croke Park Conference Centre, focusing specifically on trade and enterprise between Florida, Pennsylvania and Ireland, and will feature a number of high profile speakers from both sides of the Atlantic.

UNESCO Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation - Thursday 28th August, Croke Park Conference Centre

The symposium will bring together experts, practitioners, members of development organizations, UNESCO goodwill ambassadors, and youth leaders to create innovative solutions to issues that directly impact youth and their communities. The event will develop a series of key policy directions and a major formal UN declaration on utilizing sports and recreation as mechanisms for youth development worldwide. This declaration will be presented to the UN, UNESCO, and UNICEF as a platform for them to build global programming and policy.

Croke Park Classic Fanzone, Pep Rallies & Tailgate Party – Temple Bar

On Friday 29th August both sides will host their Pep Rallies in the area with UCF set to take over Meeting House Square at 4pm. UCF will be working with Irish drumming sensation Extreme Rhythm on their performance which will include the UCF Cheerleaders, Head Coach George O’Leary, members of the team and their mascot Knightro.

At 4.30pm on the same day, Penn State will kick off their Pep Rally close by on East Essex Street, Temple Bar and their party will include a dance troop, members of the Penn State Marching Band, a large contingent of the team as well as cheerleaders and their official mascot, The Penn State Nittany Lion.


The Global Irish Football Tournament (GIFT) takes place on Friday evening in UCD between two high schools from Pennsylvania, Cedar Cliff from Harrisburg PA and Penn Manor from Lancaster PA.