After our two-day stint in Belfast, we made our way back down the eastern coast of Ireland to complete the last leg of our trip in Dublin. Once we arrived in Dublin, we were given some free time to explore the city and grab lunch. After lunch, Greg, our tour driver, took us around the different sights of the city. We drove through Phoenix Park, one of the largest recreational parks in Europe, and home to the Wellington Monument, the Irish President's home, the American Ambassador's home and the Papal Cross. After touring the various sights, we went to our hotel to get ready for our last game.
At 8 p.m. we faced the Dublin Lions, one of the top teams in the second-best league in Ireland. They were a tough team with some good players, but, ultimately, Haverford was the better team. We received great performances from all of our returners, and a huge lift from some of our first years coming off of the bench. Notably, Joe Wujciak controlled the ball and tempo of the game, while Jonathon Lang provided some big buckets at clutch moments. We walked away from the gym, with a win in our back pockets and positive ending to the basketball portion of our trip. We were able to conclude the night by celebrating the 20th birthdays of Jesse Turkson and Josh Radin with cake and exploring the nightlife of Dublin.
On our final full day, we ventured to Croke Park a historic site for traditional Gaelic games. Croke Park is the third largest stadium in Europe and seats up to 82,000 people. Yet, only amateur sporting events are held there, including the All-Ireland finals. After seeing Croke Park, our last planned tour was to see the Book of Kell at the historic Trinity College of Dublin. Then we were given the rest of the day to enjoy Dublin and see as much of the city as we could. One group of players walked nine miles around the city, while others felt the need to get some rest back at the hotel. Our team enjoyed a traditional Irish night that included Irish dancing and Irish food. Michael Wiper was one of the braver souls on the team and participated in the Irish dancing with some of the entertainers. We concluded our trip, with a fun night out on the town and an early flight back to Philadelphia.
As a team, we recognize how fortunate and lucky we were to have the opportunity to see a foreign country with our teammates and coaches. While basketball remained a priority, the most important aspect of the trip were the bonds and connections made amongst one another. We would like to say thank you to the parents who made great sacrifices for us to take this trip as well as anyone who had helped support us.
Written by Kyle Goldfarb '19