An All Star cast for an All Star show
Staff and players hugged each other at baggage collection in Dublin Airport's terminal 2 as the inaugural Liberty Insurance All Stars tour had come to an end.
The exhibition match at Hortaleza Rugby club may have ended in a one-sided drubbing, with the 2016 All Stars cruising to a 10-13 to 7-8 win over their 2017 counterparts, but the match served as the centrepiece of a four-day tour that saw visits to Liberty Seguros offices, the Irish Ambassador's residence as well as the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Bernabeu and Hortaleza Rugby club could not have been more stark in their differences. Everything in the Bernabeu is designed to generate revenue. €25 for a tour, €5 for an additional audio guide, €18 for a photo with the Champions League trophy, €112 for a replica jersey.
By contrast, the Hortaleza Rugby club is a small and homely venue. It's not the size of a ground or clubhouse that counts, it's the people that roam around inside that make the difference.
And the people inside the Hortaleza Rugby club last Thursday could not have been kinder or more generous with their time. Mark and JJ from the Madrid Harps were ecstatic with the Liberty Insurance All Stars visit.
The pair acted as hosts, dinner guests and even umpires, as the Madrid Harps were the chief benefactors of a tour that was designed to promote the game of Camogie and celebrate the achievements of its players.
Irish Ambassador Síle Maguire certainly acknowledged their achievements when she hosted the touring party at her residence in the plush Calle de Castelló part of the city.
Ambassador Maguire commended the players for their service and their commitment to their counties while the players got the chance to let their hair down and socialise with one another, an interaction that is not often possible during the height of the intercounty season.
It may take a long time for Camogie to take off in Madrid but this trip was about celebrating the players and their achievements, the game's best players will take their experiences back to their counties, experiences that they won't forget.