Portuguese Medallion Tour 2015/16

Director of Rugby, Mr McKeever (DoR) speaks with Matthew McCullough (MMC) on the Medallion Tour to Portugal, October 2015



MMC: We made our departure from George Avenue early on Thursday morning buzzing with anticipation and wondering what the next 4 days would bring. The journey to Dublin went quicker for lots of the squad who enjoyed a 2 hour rest on the way there. After offloading our baggage and despite the loss of Ewan Wasson’s (E Wassi) hair products at security we still had time to scrum down at Burger King.

DoR: I think you had plenty amongst yourselves to stock up boots for a month anyway, so I am sure he got by…

MMC: Yeah true… well we touched down in Portugal saw us welcomed by excellent weather and Karen our guide. After a quick check in and lunch at the hotel we were off to our first match against local side Argonomia U16, unfortunately we lost narrowly. Our defeat was quickly forgotten about by our Norn Iron sing song on the way back to the hotel.

DoR: This was an excellently competitive match for the boys, we were able to use the full squad and the experience of playing in a different venue, atmosphere, country was excellent and as for the singing it did become a ritual that as soon as they had bums on seats that singing would start… however the singing was a better option to the music tunes that had been blaring from the back of the bus. Certainly not the Andre Bocelli that Mr Campbell is used to in his drives to and from school.



MMC: Friday was the day we got to train on a 3G pitch for the first time and it was excellent session also the weather stayed on side. After this session we tackled our food in the beach bar and some members even went into the rough waves.

DoR: We gave the boys time to choose an acivity here on the beach and they set up a touch rugby compeitition and some football.

MMC: Yeah then we moved on to do some shopping in the town centre and then we ate a healthy pre-tournament meal of burger and chips.

DoR: From the past experience of tours, it is best to feed the good and bad food at the right times to keep a happy camp.

MMC: After dinner it as all downhill as we had the punishments came from Tour Entertainment Manager Jordan (Massey) McKinstry, after some of his woeful singing as well as great covers of Sweet Caroline and Wonderwall we went back to our fancy hotel. Later on, we had our mini track to the supermarket was unsuccessful as we had seemed to have turned the whole supermarket against us by accidently dropping 6 glass bottles of chocolate milk as well as Richard Whyte nearly destroying a horse riding simulator outside. This was the only horse play on tour.

Day 3 – competition day

MMC: Today we had a tournament to look forward to as we lined out on the same pitches we had faced Argonomia in our opening game. Our group was made up our new friends Argonomia and Lusitanos who went on to the win the tournament. We lost both games narrowly to both older and bigger sides and this resulted in many injuries like the destroyed calf of soupy, broken nose of Thomas Ferguson and fractured femur of Matthew McCullough.

DoR: The rugby was very competition and worthwhile from a development point of view and the injuries were minimal apart from the injury to you Matthew, which was manageable and not as bad as first thought but the assistance we had on hand to us was excellent. Think we even have a great selfie of you in an ambulance…

MMC: Then after the tournament we spent a few hours playing football on a small pitch and socialising with the Argonomia players and even exchanging a few songs with them. Then we went back to the hotel for some group competitions which was great craic and the victorious team was “Mr. McKeevers One /Direction” just edging it over “Mr. Millikens farmers” and “Massey Massive” with “Mr.Campbells SPF50” coming last.


Day 4

DoR: Day 4 and it seemed like day 14 with the chants from every bus trip getting louder and to top it off we got “light drizzle” for the whole day… that wasn’t going to stop “Mr Milliken Tours” and we had the boys taken around the main must sees in Lisbon.

MMC: Yeah we were given a showing of the city during this we passed sporting Lisbons ground and this resulted in a new chant of “ULSTER, SPORTING, ULSTERRRR,SPPORRRRTTINGGGG!”

DoR: Yes… the driver really appreciated that one…

MMC: Yeah hahaha anyway, the tour took it out of us and we popped into a McDonalds and ended up wiping out the chicken nugget supply. As the weather conditions weren’t on side we ventured to the an U20s European rugby qualifier and in the pouring rain we made a group decision to go to the shopping centre instead this resulted in most of the squad buying 20 euros worth of sweets. Our bus journey back to Lisbon Airport left many of us trying to remember our best parts of the tour and worst parts. As we landed back in Dublin all you seemed to hear for a 2 hour bus journey was song after song after song and when we finally approached the mighty Rashee Road we had a final blast of our newly adopted chant “Everywhere we go!”

Great trip guys,

Matthew McCullough