Whether playing or observing, the tour 'buzz' in distant lands is a powerful one and Ireland's impending Test against the USA has awakened memories of a trip to North America eight years ago.
Even though that 2003 tour was an end-of-season 'jolly' for a Dolphin squad that had just won promotion to Division 1 of the All-Ireland League, Kiwi coach Hamish Adams (now the leading light in IRUPA), had a clear intention -- meaningful matches against meaningful opposition to prepare for the stern challenges the following season.
Adams had not accounted for Irish enthusiasm for overseas adventures and could do nothing to contain the exuberance of his players, who arrived for the first match in rag order.
In stark contrast, the local club assigned for tour opening duties were taking the fixture very seriously and the sight of these buffed-up, enthusiastic, failed American footballers zealously going through their pre-match routines introduced an immediate note of sobriety among the visitors.
Dolphin captain Dave Pomeroy felt it would be wise to focus minds for the battle ahead and, calling his players into a huddle, issued the line: "Lads, these guys are out to make a statement and if we don't stick together, they will kill us. No showboating, no running off on your own, we need to play together as a team or we will be humiliated."
Pomeroy then caught the kick off and, never threatening a pass, ran 60 metres for the opening try.
Midway through the second half, after yet another Irish touchdown, the home captain was heard to berate his players: "C'mon guys, what the hell happened? We just got served!"
The score at that point was 67-0 (pre-conversion) -- never underestimate American commitment to the cause.