I predict a riot
The Irish squad have been on their travels again, in Australia this time, where their quest for Test status moved a step closer with a hard-fought win over Papua New Guinea.
Tours often don't give the players much chance to experience local sights and culture - (is Australian culture an oxymoron?) At the last count I've been to 63 different countries, and I'm ashamed to admit I'm not much of a "culture vulture".
The words "museum", "gallery" and "cathedral" in particular fill me with dread, although on a trip to The Netherlands for the World Cricket League in 2010, I was persuaded (bribed with the promise of beer) to go along to view the paintings of some of the great Dutch artists.
I reluctantly confess that I was impressed by the works of Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Vermeer, and there was the added bonus that shortly after it enabled me to answer a question on University Challenge. In the picture round, I was able to identify a painting as Johannes Vermeer's "Girl with a pearl earring" - Michael Taylor eat your heart out! The family thought my body had been taken over by an alien, given by previous philistine attitude towards the arts.
Perhaps it's an Ardmore attitude - my brother tells a story of how he and a few friends went driving around Europe one summer in the 1970's. They made their way through France, Italy and Germany, stopping off at all the bucket list sights.
One lad however showed no inclination whatsoever of viewing any of these modern wonders of the world. Despite pleadings from the group and warnings about how he would regret it, he would ask to be dropped off at the nearest pub to the landmark and get picked up again when they were finished.
When asked if he would like to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, his reply was, " I don't think I'll bother me balls!"
The one missed opportunity I do regret was the chance to photograph the summit of Mount Everest when working at a tournament in Nepal. A nasty virus swept through the participating teams and officials which meant you didn't want to stray too far from a bathroom.
On one of the rest days I'd been offered the chance to go up in a plane and take pics of the summit but I had to decline given the risk of depositing some unwanted detritus onto the unsuspecting climbers below.
It was in Katmandu where I got caught up in one of the more controversial incidents of modern times. The final group match of World Cricket League Division Five between Nepal and the USA was heading for an easy win for the US, and a heavy defeat would see the hosts knocked out of the competition on run rate.
I was taking photos at long-on with a local snapper who I had got quite friendly with during the course of the game. The temperature was in the low 80s when he proceeded to put on a motorbike helmet. I'd just got out the words "Why are you putting..." when the first brick hit the metal sightscreen five yards to my right!
The home crowd of 12,000 had decided to stop the game by hurling anything they could get their hands on at the teams on the field. Police fired tear gas and emptied the stadium as everyone scurried for cover.
As I sprinted to the safety of the pavilion I couldn't help but laugh at the irony of getting caught up in a riot 5,000 miles from home when I live five minutes from the Bogside.
Amazingly the incident saw Nepal qualify, edging out Singapore by 0.0035 on run rate, after the match was abbreviated and finished behind closed doors. The ICC dismissing the riot as "a few pebbles" being thrown. Pebbles? You have to wonder whether - with Giles Clarke's bid apparently dead in the water - it might be worth the ICC seeing if Sepp Blatter is available to become their next chairman?
While on the travel theme I received my ticket details for the forthcoming T20 World Cup in India this week. I've been allocated 80kg of luggage - I don't think I own 80kg of clothes!
However, as I'll be joining the party late, I may be asked to take out a few things for the squad, as was the case for the World Cup last year in Australia and New Zealand. I was expecting the request to involve a few shirts, caps etc, but it turned out I had to escort a bowling machine!
The tonnes of kit and equipment these days is a far cry from the luggage used by players in days gone by. I still have the case my late father carried his gear in - it resembles the box used by the Chancellors of the Exchequer to deliver the annual budget in London.
I'll finish with my favourite luggage story. A few friends from the parish were going to Galway for the weekend and they turned up with their little sports bags - Puma, Nike, Adidas etc - containing the essentials for the trip. They were waiting on the last mate, a local farmer, who duly arrived carrying his clothes in a Richardson's Fertiliser bag!
Maybe they might be interested in becoming my official luggage supplier?