Budapest (2010)

Budapest 2010


Once Bob got his passport sorted (thanks to Will) we were up and running, headed for Budapest “The Queen of the Danube” on our 6th International Tour.  On board we had a mostly youthful crew but also some veterans who had been on all previous tours, and even a couple who were part of the trips to London in the 70’s
Our flight eastward took less than three hours and we landed at Ferihegy Airport at 7 40 pm local time to be met by our tour guide, the lovely Aniko, who would be with us at various stages throughout the week-end. A solicitor by profession she worked as a tour guide at week-ends. En route from the airport we passed by Puskas Ferenc Stadium.

 Following check in we were met by Castlecomer man Liam Carroll who would line out against us next day in both games. Liam is in his final year in Veterinary Science and hopes to set up practice in his native Kilkenny when he returns home. 

With all the lads freshened up Liam conveyed us to Beckett’s for dinner and a few libations where we met up with Billy Curley and father Eddie who was out on a weeks vacation. Safely tucked up in bed by midnight our boys were fresh for the fray next day.

Saturday morning dawned hot and humid and the Tallow crew appeared in the lobby dressed in what could only be described as a kaleidoscope of colourful shorts and T shirts. They obviously hadn’t consulted our fashion guru Fada. Finn had forgotten his shorts (no cheap shots please) so Basher had to come to the rescue. They fitted perfectly.

Our guide Ani (we were on short name terms at this stage) was waiting in the lobby to take us on a guided tour of this impressive city. Our hotel was situated in Pest and following a visit to Heroes Square we crossed the famous Chain Bridge over the Danube to the hills of Buda where we sauntered around Castle Hill and Buda Castle Quarter while taking in the panoramic view of Gellért Hill (where a Celtic tribe had settled as early as 300 BC) and Pest across the river. We were witnesses to History as the cavalcade of newly elected Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán (from the centre right conservative party Fidesz) whizzed by en rote to the Castle where he would receive his seal of office. He was elected with a two thirds majority and one of his election promises was to reduce the number of MPs from 380 to 200 – this in a country with a population of 10 million. We would gladly have made room for Viktor on the plane home if he was willing to travel. The Hungarian economy is in a critical state like many others in Europe.

It was an interesting tour and Ani outlined some of the turbulent and traumatic history of this central European nation. George was like the class swot asking all the awkward questions.. 
With the temperature rising we stopped off at Beckett’s on the way back for lunch where some of us were foolish enough to sample hot Hungarian Goulash under the mid day sun. 
With game time approaching most of the squad retired to the hotel for a rest .Right on schedule Ani arrived at 4 00 pm to accompany us to Vasas Stadium where many interested spectators awaited our double header against Budapest Rangers. 

Gearóid O Sullivan, a native of Bantry was on hand to greet us. Gearóid is secretary of the Budapest club and more than anyone else was responsible for the success of the trip. We had exchanged numerous emails over the preceding months ironing out the finer details.  Unfortunately Gearóid has been suffering from severe back pain over the last few months and was unable to spend as much time with us as he would have liked. In correspondence since he has informed he will have to undergo surgery. We wish him well and thank him for all his efforts.

The games were played on a surface similar to our own all weather pitch. Budapest lined out in Mayo type jerseys – the colours actually represented those of the Hungarian national flag – green white and red. It was an entertaining faced paced game on a lively surface. Considering it was their first ever hurling match the Budapest team put up a stirring performance. The core of the team was made up of Irish born but they also fielded 4 Hungarian born lads. The Irish players included: Pat Fitzgerald ( Roscrea Tipperary), Eamonn and Sean O'Flynn ( Dromtariffe Cork), James Phelan (Newbridge Kildare), Tom Vaughan (Kanturk Cork), Michael McAteer (Birr Offaly) and Liam Carroll ( Erins Own Kilkenny).

 Billy Curley played in goals for Budapest in the first half but donned the blue and gold for the second period with Shane Glen taking over as net minder for Budapest. The attendance was intrigued by the speed and skills of the game. Eddie Curley has it all on camera and James Clancy provided unique commentary even though he was at times distracted by the attentions of the female Irish students on the line. The Clanc was very harsh on Fada in his commentary but you will have to view the DVD (which we hope to have up on our website soon) to appreciate the commentating talents and genius of this man. Truly a revelation! Manager Patsy Cunningham was ruthless in his rotation of players and was even brave enough to replace Fada at one stage. The Fad wasn’t happy! Game time is his life blood.

The football game which followed was very competitive. Budapest were under strength due to exam commitments but their quality was evident. It was a good work out for Terence and his squad in preparation for the next championship game. Tallow played a form of Total football in that the whole team attacked in waves but were not as adept when it came to filtering back to mount a blanket defence. We were sometimes exposed at the back with Florry left holding down 3 players on his own. . We salvaged a draw thanks to a couple of brilliant goals from Slats. Basher for me was man of the match in both games – a testament to this man’s endurance and stamina. What an athlete!

Bubs referred both games faultlessly and looked very dapper in his official referee’s attire. I bet he wears it around the house.

The Tallow club presented Budapest Rangers GAA club with some helmets, hurleys and sliothars following the game.

Later that evening we reconvened at Billy Curley’s famous Legends sports bar where we enjoyed fine fare and availed of Billy’s hospitality. We viewed the games and even the Hungarian lads enjoyed the humorous commentary. We presented Billy with a club jersey as a memento of our visit.
The young guns headed off to sample the lively nightlife which Budapest has to offer. Bed Beach is described in tourism brochures as a “vibrant summer party venue for Budapest’s chic set…” Just the spot for the Talla lads!
On Sunday morning after mass, some of our party visited the famous spas and baths which Budapest is renowned for. Others took time out to do a bit of shopping and we rendezvoused at Guinness House for lunch. We had changed plans and arranged for the Coach to the airport to collect us at Guinness House where the Cork/Tipp much was shown. A number of Cork and Tipperary supporters had gathered for the occasion but the Waterford lads remained rigidly neutral.

We watched the first half until Ani arrived on cue to shepherd us to the awaiting coach for transfer to the airport. We were delayed on the tarmac at Ferihegy Airport for a couple of hours - something to do with German radar malfunctioning. Typical! 

“The Clance” had a word with Trish and got it sorted.  We were homeward bound.- to the land of tribunals and tricksters.

As Mick Barry said “isn’t it great to be a Tallow man”. I’m always singing their praises and make no apology for repeating it. We are fortunate to have a great bunch of lads involved in our club. There is a good rapport between all ages. We have travelled to the US and throughout Europe with them and they are a credit to Tallow GAA club.

A few people to thank! Firstly we thank the Budapest Rangers club and particularly Gearóid O Sullivan as well as Liam Carroll. I can highly recommend Budapest for a week-end break or as a destination for clubs who want to play a game as well. Gearóid O Sullivan is the man to contact @
 We are also grateful to Billy Curley who looked after us and to Eddie who videoed the games. 
Buenos Aires beckons, but enough of that for now. It’s time to hurl!!

Tallow Squad and Officials who travelled:Colin Cunningham, Patsy Cunningham, Liam Mulcahy, Florry O Gorman, Pat Murphy, Mick Barry, Finghín McCarthy, George McDonnell, Mike Curley, Eric Hickey, John Moran, Donnchadh Mulcahy, Ross Livingston, Dave O Brien, Shane F McCarthy, Paul O Brien, Luke McCarthy, Shane G McCarthy, Brian Henley, Seán Slattery, James Clancy, Stuart Barry, Terence McSweeney, Kieran Geary, Eoin Condon, Bob McCarthy, Kevin Curley, JP Grey, James Hampton.