So there was Gaelic football in London, four Maitland natives together and a pub somewhere on the Monopoly board in Leicester Square.
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It sounds like the start of one of those jokes, you know the ones – take an Aussie, a Pom and an Irishman and put them in a particular location, more than likely a pub, and create some form of humorous social situation.

But this happened to be my completely unexpected day out in the English capital on Sunday.

It started with a phone call early that particular morning with a friend asking me where I was.

At the time I was watching the Hockeyroos play the Black Sticks in a trans-Tasman battle from a horizontal position on a very comfortable lounge but apparently I was supposed to be elsewhere after making earlier arrangements (which were made in a local watering hole and I have little to no memory of).

Anyway, a quick Clark Kent-like change and it was off to Rusling in the west of the English capital for a day of non-Olympic sport with an Irish flavour.

It was quarter-final day of the London Gaelic Athletic Association with hurling and Irish football on offer.

There were seasons on the line and at times tensions boiled over, which was much easier to understand than some of the strange rules being played out in front of this foreigner.

But after having a chat to Tom, an elderly gentleman seated on the hill at half-way taking the game and a bit of rare afternoon sunshine, I was able to fathom some of the unfathomable.

Tom also informed us that the combatants out in the middle actually drank out of the same establishment, which would make celebrations/commiserations quite difficult after play that night knowing one club had ended the others’ chances of premiership glory.

But anyway, back in the clubhouse at the same time many a Guinness was being consumed by the locals while watching an all-Irish hurling play-off on the television.

This was happening despite the play outside and the fact the Olympics were being screened on another screen within the one-room venue.

To be honest no one would have known it was on even if Usain Bolt had of been starting the 100 metre final from the bar (unless it was his shout).

Beyond that my companion for the day, one of Brunswick Street’s best Sarah McCann, went to meet a mutual friend in Tom Briscoe, the former Northern Suburbs left-arm swing bowler turned all-rounder playing in the Manchester league.

There was another person meeting us in Leicester Square, a friend of Tom’s and I presumed this would have been a fellow cricketer from the north.

Instead, much to my surprise, sitting in the Sussex was none other than former Western Suburbs opening bowler, now Tasmanian based playing in Cambridge – Andrew Kealy.

Shennanigans, much like the High Street venue in Maitland, ensued.

But what is it about meeting people from home across the other side of the world.

I mean, I had to see my sister for the first time in two months at Camden Markets because she has been busy travelling the globe.

Whatever the case may be, I’m sure it won’t be the last chance meeting on this Olympic tour.

* London Eye appears each day in the Mercury and online during the Games; Twitter: @joshuacallinan; Blog: Five rings, an Aussie and a London eye; Radio: Catch Josh live from London on 1233 ABC Newcastle at 7.30am each day throughout the Games.

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