The jeweled shillelagh has to be one of the most unusual college football trophies.
Traditionally it is passed between the annual winner of the USC versus Notre Dame game. After Saturday night’s game if USC win they will have held it for a record nine years.
The shillelagh is a traditional Irish club which is made from oak or blackthorn saplings from Ireland. These woods were used as they were said to be the only ones that were tougher than an Irish skull.
The shillelagh is just over a foot-long and has a ruby-adorned Trojan heads with the year and game score representing USC victories. While Emerald-studded shamrocks stand for Notre Dame wins.
A combined Trojan head/Shramrock medallion is used for games that are tied.
The end of the club displays an engraving “From the Emerald Isle”.
The winning team of the Trojan-Irish game is given year-long possession of the trophy.
Unveiled in 1952 by the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Los Angles, it was said that "this shillelagh will serve to symbolize in part the high tradition, the keen rivalry and above all the sincere respect which these two great universities have for each other."
The original shillelagh was brought from Ireland by the a pilot named Howard Hughes. John Groen designed the trophy which was introduced in the early fifties, however it dates back to the start of the series in 1926.
The original Irish trophy ran out of space for Trojan heads and shamrocks in 1989, it is now on display at Notre Dame.
A former baseball player called Jim Gillis commissioned the second, slightly longer shillelagh which was handcrafted in Co. Leitrim.
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