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City gets a taste of US football fever

It was a display the likes of which Dublin's Docklands had never seen before.

Cheerleaders from America's Penn State University and the University of Central Florida (UCF) performed their spectacular routines yesterday ahead of tomorrow's American football clash at Croke Park.

Also performing was Penn State's Blue Band, recognised as one of the best marching bands in the US.

The marching band and cheerleaders proved to be perfect lunchtime entertainment for the crowd at the CHQ Building in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) yesterday.

Tomorrow's match is the teams' 2014 season opener. It will be the first time UCF and Penn State have played outside the US.

With a capacity of 82,300, Croke Park can be a daunting place for many sports stars.

However, Penn State's student players are used to playing to crowds of 107,000 at the side's Beaver Stadium.

A graduate of the college, Joe Doncsecz, who is in Dublin for the game, said fans would show up in force for the show-piece event.


He is one of 20,000 Americans expected in Dublin for the fixture, labelled the Croke Park Classic. The match will be broadcast on ESPN in the US.

Two years ago, Notre Dame and Navy played their season opener at the Aviva Stadium. It was dubbed the Emerald Isle Classic.

That game attracted 33,000 Americans to Dublin and was worth €100m to the economy. Tomorrow's event could generate €30m for the city.