DIARY of the end-of-season tour which brought a fitting end to a memorable first season for a Sunday League football team from Widnes.
JUST weeks after a freak tornado hit the seaside town of Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland, The Dragons AFC swept the town with the wind on their backs, blowing away their opponents The Royal Oak Revolution.
This was the grand finale to the Dragons open-age age side's inaugural season which has seen more drama than The Empire theatre.
Friday, May 25 - 7pm
LANDING at Belfast International Airport, 30 miles from Belfast, the team soon set off in search of the Irish Holy Grail - a pint of Guinness.
Waiting to host the pre-match festivities was The Royal Oak, the home of the side they were set to face the next day.
Needless to say, the opposition were more than generous when it came to getting a round in -perhaps this was part of their plan to win the big game.
Several pints of the black stuff later, it was back to the hotel and lights out except for one sneaky room of players, who settled down for an ill-fated game of poker.
Saturday, May 26 - 10am (3 hours till kick off)
IT really is the morning after the night before and the bleary-eyed Dragons meet in the hotel car park in Carrick's picturesque harbour area.
'Boys will be boys,' stated Liam Murphy, describing the previous night's card-school shenanigans. For the record, the game had ended in a no result after chips were stolen!
As the boys prepare to set off for breakfast a harsh reminder of the reason we are all here appears a football.
Within seconds the lads start kicking the ball which just happens to be the match ball and with one foul sweep of Mark Barrett's trusty left peg, the ball sails over the railing and into the harbour.
So with the game fast approaching, and the match ball having gone for a swim, the hunt was on for a new one.
Saturday, May 16 - 12.30pm
ARRIVING at the match venue is always a nervous occasion. Finding that the pitch currently has a soccer school running on it is nerve shredding.
Had we come all this way to not even play football? 'Happy days,' exclaimed Dragons' Les McKee, still feeling the effects of his excursions the night before.
Luckily a few phone calls later and we were all set to go.
The big match
'I WONDER what would happen in the Premiership if a player spilt his breakfast during the warm up?' gargles Dragons Philip McKeown, wiping his bottom lip after an unfortunate puking incident.
This is park football however where a pre-match meal consists of an Ulster Fry and a can of lager.
With a loud blast on the whistle, the referee gets the game under way.
The Dragons have all the early pressure and really should have been a few goals ahead before they finally got the breakthrough, coming through James Murphy.
The same player had to hang his head in shame seconds later after stabbing the ball over the bar with the net as wide open as the Mersey tunnel.
The Dragons had the majority of the play and should have had the victory wrapped up. Sadly, they were very wasteful whereas the night before they hadn't wasted a single drop.
'Let's finish them off' was the rallying cry from Jimmy Murphy, father of James.
'We need to pass the ball better,' said Ben Harvey the Dragons player, who had arrived 15 minutes into the game after a four-hour coach trip from Dublin.
The Dragons set about the second half like they meant business but the goals still didn't come until late on. The first came after a break down the right with Liam Murphy finishing at the second attempt, the keeper flapping at his feet like a drowning swimmer.
With the second, the wind had been knocked from The Revolution's sails.
Dragons skipper Kevin Gamble made it 3-0 and before the end James Murphy blasted home a McKee corner to leave a rather flattering slant on the scoreline Royal Oak Revolution 0 The Dragons AFC 4
Saturday, May 26 - 9pm
'DID you win?' we get asked for the millionth time. 'Yeah' replies Dragons injured player-of-the -year Andy Taylor.
'What was the score?' 'Erm dunno' once again the effects of the local refreshments seem to have taken their toll as The Dragons celebrate finishing their first season on a high.
Monday, May 28 - 4pm
BACK at that airport miles from Belfast the lads reflect on what has been a fantastic tour. 'Where we off to next year then boys?' inquires Anthony Ramanouski
'Think I need to recover from this one first,' comes the reply.