There was a definite green theme to Notre Dame’s overnight flight to Dublin. The Irish players and most of the coaches and football staff wore bright green sweatsuits and hats. Ask for water and it came with a (green) lime and a miniature Ireland flag. The inside of the Delta plane was festooned with green theming.
— The Irish flight arrived a half-hour early but had to wait about 20 minutes because there was no gate available at the Dublin airport. There were racks of Notre Dame and Navy gear on sale the minute the Notre Dame traveling party passed through customs and entered the Aer Lingus terminal. By the time the team buses pulled out a little before 8 a.m., the sun shone bright and there was not a cloud in the sky.
— The Irish squad had time to get organized, ate a 10 a.m. breakfast at the hotel, and then jumped on buses at 10:45 am. to head to Aviva Stadium—with six members of the Garda providing a motorcycle escort.
Stephon Tuitt’s 77-yard fumble return for TD is the longest at Notre Dame since Steve Lawrence had a 79-yarder in 1985 and it’s the third longest in Notre Dame history.
— Manti Te’o’s fumble recovery was the first in his Notre Dame career.
— Theo Riddick’s 11-yard TD run in the 1st period was the first rushing TD in his career — he has six on receptions.
— This is the first time Notre Dame scored on its first three offensive possessions since the Nevada game in 2009
— Notre Dame played 47 players in the first period and 14 were seeing their first college action.
— George Atkinson III’s 56-yarder was the longest TD run by an Irish running back since Jonas Gray’s 79-yarder at Pitt in 2011.
— KeiVarae Russell becomes first Notre Dame freshman ever to start at cornerback.
— The Notre Dame football team headed back to Aviva Stadium Friday for a midday walk-thru in shorts. An off-and-on drizzle and cloudy skies kept the Irish off the Aviva pitch and sent them to the practice, artificial turf pitch just outside.
— Following the workout, the players jumped in three double-decker buses (with open-air tops) for a tour of the Dublin city centre and other spots in the downtown area—ending at Dublin Castle (near Temple Bar) where the squad held its team Mass.
— The Irish Times Friday included a four-page tabloid-style section on the Notre Dame-Navy event, and then Saturday ran a feature on the long relationship between the two programs.
— The 90-minute Friday evening event at the O2 proved a resounding success as a packed house of partisan and receptive Notre Dame fans watched and listened to interviews with Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., and vice president and athletics director Jack Swarbrick, performances by the Band of the FightingIrish, plus a variety of solid Irish musical stars.
— The Naval Academy opted to print a smaller, European-style match programme that sells for 10 Euros. The popular European-style soccer scarves with Notre Dame and Navy logos are being hawked on the corners down Lansdowne Road.
— Among the staff imported by CBS for its telecast are a handful of Dutch photographers who have worked NFL Europe games and the NFL events at Wembley Stadium in London. About 35 production staffers came from the United States to assist in putting on thegame.
— Gameday weather appears to be just about perfect, with the Aviva Stadium stands bathed in sunshine.
— Notre Dame’s team normally wears black adidas shoes for its games, but against Navy the Irishsquad will wear a special orange, green and white adidas shoes modeled after colors of the Ireland flag.
— The Irish squad practiced for about 90 minutes in shorts on the Aviva practice pitch (artificial turf) in extremely windy conditions, with a large group of mostly Ireland media interviewing coach Brian Kelly and captains Kapron Lewis-Moore, Manti Te’o, Tyler Eifert and Zack Martin after the workout ended.
— Among practice visitors was a group representing the Belfast Trojans, who won the Ireland American football title this summer. The team reps brought with them the 2012 Shamrock Bowl they won and had their picture taken with the crystal cup and Kelly.
— After practice, Kelly’s squad headed to Taylors Three Rock Pub in Rathfarnham for a late lunch and an exhibition of Irish dancing. The team ate dinner at its hotel and retired early after two days that seemingly became one.Follow paulmbanks