Such had been Notre Dame's decline from the upper echelons of college football in the United States that no one was predicting they would be serious contenders for the national championship when they began their season in Dublin last September.
Tomorrow night in Miami, Notre Dame take on Alabama in the national final, having gone through the regular season unbeaten. Notre Dame say they are right back up where they belong.
The Dublin visit was a huge success, and although some wild figures were bandied about in the immediate aftermath about the economic benefit, it cannot be argued that the financial impact of 35,000 visitors over that weekend was hugely significant. The 16-year wait for Notre Dame to return had been well worth it.
The hope is that the next wait won't be as long. One private sector initiative has seen the commissioning of a detailed report to determine what the true benefits to Ireland, not just in direct monetary terms, of the game between Notre Dame and Navy at the Aviva Stadium were. The report will look at more than just the direct monetary impact that week, but also the value of the goodwill and business opportunities that were created.
It will be used to see how Ireland can create the correct environment to encourage Notre Dame, Navy, and other US college football teams to return to Ireland, possibly as early as 2016.