Brian Kelly starts his 3rd season as the Irish head coach against the Midshipmen of Navy here in Dublin at Aviva Stadium. He brought his team 4,000 miles across five time zones to begin the 2012 season.
"The venue is certainly classic," Irish coach Brian Kelly said Friday. "The fans are going to be right on you. Yankee Stadium was similar in a sense because you felt the fans were right there."
"Our guys are excited about playing and we're anxious to get it going."
The team toured the city and the Dublin Castle after practice on Friday.
"Everyone out here is so nice," captain Kapron Lewis-Moore explained. "Just having some fun and looking around the city for a bit."
Notre Dame fans packed the streets in Dublin throughout the day and the night concluded with a sold out pep rally at the 02 Arena. Irish Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick and President Father John Jenkins spoke to fans. Then the Band of the Fighting Irish took center stage to perform along with the Notre Dame cheerleaders.
As for the game, Notre Dame and Navy are meeting for the 2nd time in Ireland. The Irish won the previous meeting in 1996.
What was once a lopsided game in the long time series has been very equal as of late. Navy beat the Irish as recently as two years ago in Brian Kelly's 1st year with Notre Dame gaining revenge last year.'
"It's a great rivalry and there are so many layers to it historically," Irish coach Brian Kelly explains. "They were there for us during World War II where we were training a lot of their soldiers on our campus. There was a relationship there."
"Some of the things we do today--painting the stadium gray, it's the battleship gray that was leant to us by the Navy. There's a long relationship there. When you have the caliber of kids that Notre Dame and Navy have, it makes for a special game."
Kickoff Saturday is set for 9 a.m. South Bend time.