When you think of Notre Dame University, most people think of Rudy, Touchdown Jesus, and a storied legacy of championships dating back to the 1920s. This Memorial Day Weekend, the Fighting Irish’s lacrosse team added to the school’s trophy case, winning the first National Championship in the program’s thirty-five-year history behind a gritty performance from senior captain Pat Kavanagh who played through a torn hamstring to help his team secure the victory.

A Kavanagh Family Affair

The Kavanagh family legacy at Notre Dame began with Pat’s older brother Matt who played for the Irish starting in 2013. In his three years with the program, he became a prolific scorer ending his career fifth in points in program history with 175. During his time in South Bend, the team reached the final four in the national tournament, the Quarterfinals, and were runners-up in the championship in 2014. After watching their older brother’s college career his two younger brothers, Pat and Chris, vowed to go to Notre Dame and bring home a championship.

“We didn’t come here just to play games, win or lose,” the youngest of the Kavanaghs, Chris, said in an interview earlier this season. “We came here to win a National Championship and to doing it with your brother by your side is just insane, it’s unbelievable.”

Revenge Tore

In 2022, Pat and Chris took the field together for the first time. Pat, a junior, joined forces with Chris, a talented freshman who was the No.4 ranked recruit in the country. After a slow start to the season, the Irish won six games in a row to finish the season 8-4 to and become Co-ACC Champions. Despite this, the team was not selected to compete in the NCAA tournament. In 2023, the team came roaring back with a 14-2 record and a trip to the NCAA tournament. The night before the championship game against Duke, Pat Kavanagh, injured with a torn hamstring, didnt know if he would be able to play and finish the dream his brother put in motion a decade earlier. That’s when his goalie stepped in and sent him a text that would inspire him to fight through the pain. Although Kavanagh was limited due to the injury, he still managed one assist in the team’s 13-8 victory over Duke.

Ground Balls for Good

This season Pat Kavanagh partnered with Citylacross, an organization dedicated to growing Lacrosse programs in middle schools in the Bronx. For every ground ball, he picked up this season, he would donate $10 to the organization. After the championship game, Kavanagh’s ground ball total reached 43, a career-high. Kavanagh also launched a Gofundme to raise money for the organization. if you would like to donate, click here

Pat Kavanagh is a great example of how oftentimes, when we have setbacks, we can look outside of ourselves and see what others have endured and overcome, allowing us to gain some perspective and accomplish amazing things.

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