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‘Fighting Irish’ set to march on Kilkenny
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Sponsored by‘Fighting Irish’ set to march on Kilkenny
Published on Sunday 19 February 2012 09:04
A 50-MEMBER marching band from the University of Notre Dame, complete with cheerleaders, is set to participate in this year’s St Patrick’s Day festivities in Kilkenny city.
The group representing the Indiana university known as “The Fighting Irish” will give a public performance on the Parade Plaza on March 16 from 11am to 12.30pm.
With 50 band members, plus cheerleaders, managers and team, the blue-and-gold clad performers are sure to put on a show the city won’t soon forget.
A presentation will be made to them by Mayor David Fitzgerald and St Patrick’s Day festival committee chairman Malcolm Noonan, and the group will then travel to Dublin to perform on The Late Late Show that night.
Duke takes on Irish
The past two seasons, Duke and Notre Dame have played four times. Although the Blue Devils fell in both regular season matches, they made their victories count with a 6-5 overtime victory in the 2010 national championship game, and a 7-5 win in last year’s national quarterfinals.
The two powerhouses will continue their budding rivalry as No. 2 Duke travels to South Bend, Ind. to play the No. 9 Fighting Irish at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Even though the Blue Devils (1-0) enter this game with a higher ranking than their foes, that was the case in each of their last two regular season matches against Notre Dame (0-0), both of which delivered Duke its first losses of the year.
“Anytime you play the University of Notre Dame in any sport—checkers, chess, if the mathletes go out there—you know that they represent the best of what athletics are about,” head coach John Danowski said.
In the programs’ nine-game history, the Blue Devils are 6-3 but have yet to play in South Bend. This is the third straight year that the Fighting Irish are opening their season against Duke, looking to come out with a win for a third consecutive time.
The Blue Devils have consistently played difficult nonconference schedules, taking on the ranked Notre Dame and Loyola the past two seasons, in addition to other top teams such as Bucknell, Georgetown, Brown and Harvard.
“Without a tough schedule, you can’t get big wins,” Danowski said. “The best thing about playing a tough schedule is you can lose these games and know that they’re going to have a great year and this is a good loss. And, if you win, that’s a good win. So, either way, you win at the end of the year.”
The Blue Devils are already one game into the season, with Danowski earning his 300th career victory in the team’s opening 16-8 win against Rutgers last weekend. It was a strong offensive performance paced by senior midfielder Robert Rotanz, who netted four goals.
Duke outshot the Scarlet Knights 51-28, while also snagging more groundballs and faceoffs.
But the team identified clears, extra-man opportunities and penalties as areas in which they need to improve heading into a matchup against a highly ranked opponent.
“Statistically, the way we grade it, we didn’t think we cleared the ball as effectively as we could have,” Danowski said. “We want to be better man-down, stay out of the penalty box—we thought we were in the penalty box way too much.”
The Blue Devils committed eight penalties in the contest, giving Rutgers 8:30 of man-up time, while they had just 2:30 of their own.
In Duke’s first road test of the season, it cannot afford to commit those types of mistakes. Notre Dame returns its top two scorers from last season, senior Sean Rogers and sophomore Westy Hopkins, each of whom tallied 18 goals last season.
“It’s the first road trip, so there’s a lot of challenges built into this,” Danowski said. “Number one, they’re terrific. Number two, who are we really after one week? Three, how are we going to handle playing on the road?”
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