Wembley Steel Croker’s thunder but for how long?

Croke Park will not host an American Football game in 2013 but both Croke Park and the US ambassador to Ireland are confident the venue will host a regular season game soon.

Wembley will be home to the Minnesota Vikings when they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 29 while the Jacksonville Jaguars welcome the San Francisco 49ers to London on October 27.

However, American ambassador to Ireland and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney told Irish pigskin fans not to be too disappointed.

“This region has many NFL fans,” he said. “The games that have been played in London have been exciting, with big crowds. I feel that playing a game in Ireland would add to the area’s great interest.

“The NFL Commissioner [Roger Goodell] is anxious to keep the interest strong in this region. I’m sure that there will be other great games and that Ireland will be the site of a match.”

Croke Park’s stadium director Peter McKenna echoed those sentiments and admitted he will continue lobbying the NFL for a game.

“Obviously we’re disappointed with that but the decision is with the NFL and I think you have to respect that.

“The decision is to run the two games in Wembley. You can see some merit in that. It builds on the success they’ve had hosting American football in Wembley.

“I think our bid stands on its own and we’re still going to continue to lobby and push for Dublin as being a venue in the future.

“Part of the pitch is that we’ve been very successful in hosting major events as a country heretofore. You’ve got the Tour de France, Tall Ships, the Ryder Cup and the collegiate game that was held in the Aviva. They’ve all shown that large international sports fixtures can be held here and held very, very successfully. So I think the merits of our bid haven’t diminished.

“We were unfortunate this time but never say never.”

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