Santiago Montoya - originally from Colombia - nearly ran into visa trouble entering Ireland.

Santiago Montoya Tells Of Trip To Dublin And Ireland-Netherlands Soccer Game

Aug. 18, 2006

The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team reached the final destination on its European tour on Wednesday, flying from Vienna, Austria, to Dublin, Ireland – the hometown of Irish senior Barry King – where they will stay until returning to the United States on Sunday. Sophomore Santiago Montoya uses his diary to describe that day of travel, as well as the international friendly soccer match between Ireland and The Netherlands that the team took in on Wednesday evening. Check back to for the diary of junior Sheeva Parbhu, which will cover the squad’s first full day in Dublin.

Men’s Tennis European Tour Diary #6 – August 16, Vienna, Austria to Dublin, Ireland, Santiago Montoya

It was most definitely a long day for the Irish, especially for Ryan Keckley, who came down with the now infamous “stomach bug.” It was exactly 12 a.m. when he first initiated his battle with the toilet. Of course, I was blessed with being his roommate – as was Sheeva – therefore we tried our best to help him out. Sheeva even made him a small bed by the toilet. Ryan was averaging a toilet session per 15 minutes, so it is needless to say that we were tired as the morning rolled around (especially Keckley).

We proceeded to meet at the lobby at 8:45 a.m. to depart for the airport, and surprisingly we were all on time, maybe due to the fact that Keckley had a natural alarm clock that woke him up every 15 minutes. As we reached the airport we realized that Iri was not there yet (he was staying at home) and more importantly we did not know were to meet him or how to contact him. As expected, Coach got a little tense, but it was all okay after Iri rolled in fashionably late. We said our good-byes and thanked the Akhvlediani family for their hospitality. There was not too much talking as we waited for our plane because the “stomach bug” had taken a couple more prisoners. Brett and Barry were also feeling shady. At this point I was just waiting for the bug to hit me so I could get it over with, yet (sports information director) Bo (Rottenborn) stated that if I stayed positive nothing would happen. Not surprisingly, Bo got the bug worse than everybody else and is still struggling as I write this diary.

When we arrived in Dublin, I realized that unlike the rest of my team mates, I possessed a Colombian passport. For all of you that don’t know, it is not a very good passport to have because of my country’s reputation; therefore I was a bit scared of the passport-checking man. What I didn’t know was that I needed an Irish visa separate from the European visa I already had, and without it, I was not supposed to enter the country. I must say that it was my lucky day because the passport man let me in by harshly saying, “Never come back to this country without an Irish visa – we won’t let you in.” I believe the fact that I was wearing a Notre Dame “Irish” hat might have helped the situation.

Barry, being a native of Ireland, flew through the passport check. The problem was that we could not find him anywhere around the baggage claim, yet his bags were left behind. Judging by past history we decided that he had just forgotten his bags (and we were right), so we decided to take his bags with us and hope for the best. He later explained that he wanted to see his younger brother Graham (an incoming freshman on the tennis team who was departing at that time for orientation at Notre Dame) so he ran out uncontrollably without any regard for his possessions.

Later in the day, we settled in the Harcourt hotel and prepared for a friendly soccer game between Ireland and Holland. We were all looking forward to this game, `specially the Irishman himself, Barry King. The atmosphere was great; it was a packed house and you could tell the crowd was ready to get crazy. Unfortunately, the Irish soccer team didn’t quite show up and to quote the local newspaper, “They were making school-boy mistakes”. The Dutch proceeded to manhandle the Irish and won 4-0. The Irish crowd was disappointed to say the least.

After a disappointing, yet still entertaining game, we were all looking forward to go back to the hotel and crash for the night. Unfortunately we found out that we had the biggest night club in town in the downstairs of our hotel, and it was also a big night out for the Irish younger crowd. It was a long, yet entertaining day indeed.

On another note, I just wanted to thank coach and the people who made this trip possible, especially the past alumni of the tennis team. We are having the time of our lives, and we will forever remember this adventure.