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Northwestern and Nebraska to kick off 2022 College Football season in Dublin

Northwestern University will take on the University of Nebraska at Dublin's Aviva Stadium in the opening game of the 2022 College Football season. 

The Big Ten Conference encounter is scheduled for week zero, and will be played on Saturday the 27th of August 2022 at Lansdowne Road.

Nebraska Huskers had been set to travel to Dublin later this summer for their game against Illinois, however, it was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was second successive year where the start of the Aer Lingus College Football five-game series was disrupted by the coronavirus situation.

“We are excited to reschedule the trip to Ireland for our football program," Nebraska's Athletic Director Bill Moos said.

The young men in our program have been looking forward to this trip and we are happy to provide them this memorable experience.

"I know our great Husker fan base will be excited as well and the opportunity to travel to Ireland to see their team compete on an international stage will truly be special. I also want to thank Irish American Events for being a great partner throughout this process the past couple years.

"We were pleased Northwestern was willing to move a home game to Ireland and look forward to a great season opener in Ireland in 2022.”

Northwestern University coach Pat Fitzgerald says the chance to play at the Aviva is a "fantastic opportunity" for their players and coaches.

"We are thrilled that our program will get to immerse themselves into the beautiful Irish culture, while we continue to help grow the game of college football on a global stage.

"It’s an honour to be included in this once-in-a-lifetime experience and can’t wait to have the Northwestern faithful join us in one of the world’s most amazing settings.”

19 May 2021; Aer Lingus College games launch at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Nebraska are 11-time champions while Northwestern University has strong Irish links through the city of the Chicago. Organisers are estimating that 18,000 US fans and 5,000 European supporters will make the trip to Dublin for the game, bringing a €63million boost to the Irish economy.

“The past year has been a very difficult one for us all in Ireland and in the United States," Taoiseach Micheál Martin said of the announcement.

With our vaccination rollout advancing at pace, we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, and we can begin to look forward with optimism to welcoming visitors safely back to our shores. When we do, we will have a very special welcome ready for the teams and their supporters when they visit us for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic on the 27th of August 2022.”

Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons, added that the match will be a shot in the arm for the Irish tourism industry.

"As we get ready to restart international tourism to the island of Ireland, the game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Nebraska Huskers will deliver a very welcome boost for tourism from the United States, with about 23,000 people expected to travel here from the US and Europe. Our message to the teams and their fans is that we cannot wait to roll out the ‘green carpet’ and welcome them to Dublin and Ireland.

"I am confident that the Aer Lingus College Football Classic will be a truly wonderful opportunity to showcase Ireland and, more generally, the many attractions we offer as a holiday destination.”

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