By Omar Ureña (Graficosports.com)
Aviva Stadium in Dublin will not be able to host an event expected by Irish fans due to the coronavirus pandemic. The long-awaited game in Ireland between the Irish Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Navy midshipmen with which they would kick off the 2020 season will have to be played in the United States.
After the medical authorities declared that the game could not be played in Dublin, the athletic directors of Navy and Notre Dame, Jack Swarbrick and Chet Gladchuk, gave the order to retreat and take the game to the North American soil, being Annapolis, Maryland, the site for War. The tentative date is Saturday, September 6, during the Labor Day weekend and will broadcast on national television by ESPN or ABC. This is the first time in the history of this rivalry that a duel will take place at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Each of the games in which the Navy has hosted Notre Dame has been on neutral battlefields.
This is a rivalry that started in 1927 and in 2020 it will be 94 years of cadets and Irish meeting each other in the trenches each season, without a doubt this is one of the oldest and most exciting rivalries in college football. These teams already fought in Ireland in 2012 and from the United States arrived a contingent of 35,000 fans who undertook the journey across the Atlantic Ocean to witness how the Irish appeared that day as the former four horsemen who terrorized the midshipmen. The Irish mercilessly bombarded the Navy 50-10 at Aviva Stadium with great performances from QB Everett Golson and RB Theo Riddick, who now plays for the Detroit Lions. For the Irish opening game of the Irish in 2020 an army of 40,000 American fans were contemplated making the trip to Dublin.
Ireland is eager to see the Fighting Irish. For Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar college football is a world-class spectacle, “we had been thoroughly looking forward to welcoming Navy and Notre Dame here this summer for the first game of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic Series”.
The Irish have dominated the Navy in 77 games while the midshipmen have annihilated the Irish in only 13 matches. Dramatic games like the 1999 one in which Jarious Jackson threw a touchdown pass to Jay Johnson with 36 seconds left and beat Navy 28-24 dramatically.
The Fighting Irish defeated Navy from 1964 to 2006, it was a 43-year domination, until a battle came at Notre Dame Stadium that was covered by a dark cloak, the sky fell apart and the Navy punished Notre Dame. On November 3, 2007 the Navy ship sank the Irish 46-44 in triple overtime.
Navy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk hopes there will be no obstacles for the game to take place in September. “I am expecting that we will still be able to play Notre Dame as our season opener, but there is still much to be determined by health officials and those that govern college football at large. Once we have a definitive plan in place, we will announce the specifics pertaining to the game.”
This year we look forward to seeing Ian Book take on the Midshipmen defense and it will be interesting to see how Navy offensive weapons like Mychal Cooper, Ryan Mitchell and Malcolm Perry can come out alive after being beaten 52-20 at Notre Dame Stadium last year.