Thirty five hardy souls travelled to Belfast last weekend to indulge in the culture, some rugby games and also copious amounts of Guinness.
After going out to sample the nightlife of Belfast on Friday evening, Saturday started with a touch of breakfast followed by an open-top bus tour of Belfast. The group headed to Malone Rugby Club for a game organised by Darren ‘Irish’ Neilly, whose organisational skills are very questionable to say the least. On arrival it looked like the lads were in for an easy game as there was a children’s tournament in full flow. Unfortunately it wasn’t the under 8’s team we were up against but a well drilled Malone side who weren’t as hungover as the tourists. The team put up a spirited display (literally in Tom Forshaw’s case!) and managed to cross the whitewash three times with tries from Shielsy, Hinch and Sowers. Unfortunately the team fell just short and ended up losing the game 22-19.
Although they may have lost the game, the boys won at drinking, triumphing in the after match boat race session!
With Malone struggling for a team for the game on Sunday, the boys decided that it may be better to go watch the 7’s tournament at Carrickfergus, which by the end of the evening then somehow turned into the team actually competing in the tournament.
Again Irish’s organisational skills came into question when on arrival the only teams visible were women! Panic over, as we had been entered into the mixed tag 7’s tournament, the only sticking point is that we were lacking women. After borrowing women from a number of teams, the team managed to play 4 games, losing all of them along the way! Little wonder the team lost when even the day after the game players were still unaware of the rule that each try was worth one point by a man and three by a woman! However the team were awarded the wooden spoon trophy for the worst team of the tournament, which Karl Haigh went and collected from the clearly delighted /frightened Mayor.
The team also bumped into Novocastrian ladies, who first team hooker Fran Entressengle used to coach.
The weekend was slightly marred by a nasty injury to Stan during Saturday’s game, which saw him taken to hospital, ultimately cutting his tour short as he had to take an early flight home on the Sunday. We all wish him a speedy recovery.
The tourists would like to thank Malone and Carrickfergus for their hospitality over the weekend and hope we can one day return the favour.