Pep ral­lies and an open air mass are all part of the build-up to the big game writes Ciaran Daly

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Emerald Isle Classic -

T HE SHOW­PIECE Amer­i­can football match at the Aviva Sta­dium to­mor­row may be the Emer­ald Isle Clas­sic be­tween the Univer­sity of Notre Dame and the US Naval Academy but there is so much pomp and pageantry ac­com­pa­ny­ing the game that even the most sport averse peo­ple in Ire­land can’t help but notice the furore.

Hol­ly­wood tends to pro­duce movies that sug­gest that Amer­i­can football is just one big party with pep ral­lies and cheer­lead­ing al­most su­per­sed­ing the ac­tion on the field of play. The good news is that ap­pears to be the case and this week the party has moved to this side of the At­lantic. The event has been or­ches­trated in con­junc­tion with The Gath­er­ing 2013, an ini­tia­tive aimed at at­tract­ing the Ir­ish di­as­pora from across the globe back to Ire­land next year.

The Min­is­ter for Trans­port, Tourism and Sport Leo Varad­kar said: “I’m de­lighted to wel­come the Emer­ald Isle Clas­sic to Dublin. With 35,000 Amer­i­can football fans mak­ing the trip to Ire­land, this week is set to pro­vide a huge eco­nomic boost to the coun­try. It’s an ideal op­por­tu­nity to pro­mote The Gath­er­ing Ire­land 2013 di­rectly to the thou­sands of Amer­i­cans trav­el­ling, as well as the expected multi-mil­lion tele­vi­sion au­di­ence.”

Min­is­ter Varad­kar added, “We’ll be us­ing this week­end to high­light the unique bond that ex­ists be­tween Ire­land and the US, and en­cour­ag­ing Amer­i­cans watch­ing at home to see Ire­land at first hand in 2013.”

Those bond­ing events be­gan yes­ter­day af­ter­noon with both Notre Dame and Navy get­ting ac­quainted with the Aviva Sta­dium. Later, the Global Ire­land Football Tour­na­ment (GIFT) parade, which be­gan at Stephen’s Green, wound its way down to Trin­ity Col­lege for a pep rally. For those not in the know, a pep rally is ef­fec­tively one large party with brass bands, cheer­lead­ers and a lot of scream­ing play­ers and fans.

This af­ter­noon the GIFT Amer­i­can football event gets un­der­way in three venues across Le­in­ster. Na­van’s Páirc Tail­teann and Dublin’s Par­nell Park and Don­ny­brook Sta­dia will play host to 12 US and Cana­dian high school teams. Three matches kick off at 4pm while a fur­ther three games are set to start at 7.30pm.

It ap­pears that low key prepa­ra­tions for big games state­side aren’t the done thing. Notre Dame will be tak­ing over the O in Dublin to stage their pep rally tonight. The sold-out event – A Wel­come Home, in as­so­ci­a­tion with Glen Dim­plex

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