On September 1, 2012, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame will return to Dublin, Ireland, for the first time since 1996. Notre Dame will...

On September 1, 2012, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame will return to Dublin, Ireland, for the first time since 1996. Notre Dame will face long-time rival Navy.

Notre Dame and Navy also faced each other 16 years ago at Croke Park in Dublin. The Navy vs. Notre Dame showdown was dubbed “The Shamrock Classic,” drawing over 2,500 American fans and over 40,000 spectators.

This season the Emerald Isle Classic at Dublin΄s new Aviva Stadium is expected to draw 48,000 fans, including over 10,000 travelers from the U.S. and Canada. This game is the first time an American college football game sold-out on non-U.S. soil, according to the Irish Tourist Board.

According to Engaging Ireland News , “The new Aviva Stadium, where the 2012 classic will be played is located in a scenic residential area just outside of Dublin city center, allowing travelers staying in nearby hotels the opportunity to walk to the game. The intimate Aviva Stadium is also much smaller than the U.S. stadiums the schools typically play at — offering an experience unlike any other state-side.”

Navy vs. Notre Dame is a long tenured rivalry, dating back to 1927. The two teams have faced each other annually, with Notre Dame holding a 71-12-1 advantage. Prior to 2007, Notre Dame held a 43-game winning streak over Navy from 1963-2007.

Navy ended the winning streak with an exciting 46-44 triple overtime victory in 2007. Since 2007, Navy has won two (2009 and 2010) out of the last five meetings between the two well-known colleges.

Notre Dame, ranked 24th in the U.S. Today poll, is coming off of a 8-5 season in 2011with newly announced Everett Golson as quarterback. Coach Brian Kelly named Golson the starter after an intense three-way battle for the position. Golson will be making his first college day debut this weekend at the ˝Emerald Isle Classic˝.

Mike Golic will be filling in in the broadcast booth for Allen Pinkett, who was recently removed from the Dublin broadcast team due to controversal comments he made about Notre Dame’s players. Pinkett’s comments followed on the heels of the recently announced suspensions of tailback Cierre Wood and defensive end Justin Utupo.

Wood, a senior, led the Fighting Irish in rushing during the 2011 season with 1,102 yards and scored nine rushing touchdowns while averaging a 5.1 yards per carry. Both Wood and Utupo are suspended for the first two games of the season.

In addition to the Emerald Isle Classic, other notable games this season for Notre Dame include:. September 15 vs. #13 Michigan State, September 22 vs. #8 Michigan, and November24 vs. #1 University of Southern California.