The Irish Come to Town

Football rivalry staged in Annapolis for the first time 

The Fighting Irish are coming to Annapolis. A long-standing football rivalry between Navy and Notre Dame, that was set to be played overseas, will instead take place in Annapolis for the first time in its history this Labor Day weekend. 

The Aer Lingus Classic football game, intended to be played August 29 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, will instead be played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The game will be the 94th consecutive matchup of the longest continuous intersectional rivalry in the country between the Fighting Irish and the Midshipmen. 

“We normally play (the game) in an NFL stadium, which is twice the size of Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium,” says Scott Strasemeier, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Sports Information at USNA. “Because of COVID-19 and the very real likelihood that we will have very limited seating for this game it didn’t make sense to play it in an NFL stadium.” 

“We are obviously disappointed not to be traveling to Ireland this August,” said Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk.  “But, as expected, our priority must be ensuring the health and safety of all involved.  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.” 

Organizers say the game is still being planned for Labor Day weekend and should be televised nationally by ESPN or ABC, although specific details have not been set. Strasemeier is hopeful that fans may be able to attend in person. 

The last Navy-Notre Dame game held at Aviva Stadium, back in 2012, was a huge success with over 35,000 fans traveling from the United States and this year there were close to 40,000 expected to attend the sold-out game. The Navy-Marine Corps Stadium has a current seating capacity of 34,000. If fans were allowed at the Annapolis game, they would be kept well below capacity. 

For more information on possible tickets, go to