Monthly Archives: May 2020
It has emerged that, pending clearance from Stormont, Mattie Donnelly will resume his inter-county career after a serious injury but only after making a near 600-mile round jog to Barnard Castle to test the left leg out.
Donnelly will embark on the light training jog from the Trillick Post Office tomorrow morning and is hoping he can catch a lift on a fishing boat or something across the Irish Sea, even taking in the scenic route of the Isle of Man if he has time on his hands by the time he reaches Belfast.
Donnelly, who has never been to the castle before or even to County Durham, has been warned not to bring back sticks of rock from his trip as it could mess up the county squad’s diet just before the resumption of football in the country.
Although Mickey Harte initially preferred the idea of a short training run to Tempo in Fermanagh, recent events convinced the Ballygawley manager of the healing properties of the 900 year old castle in England.
Mattie will be accompanied by team mates for part of the way (up to Fintona) and will be listening to his favourite band B*witched for the majority of the run.
By Landan Seamy
Local spy Sean McGrinny suspects the GAA is planning to follow the example of the exam boards and use data to predict the winner of this year’s All Ireland.
Sean says he found some spreadsheets on his wife’s laptop with loads of data that is almost definitely going to be used to predict things.
“I’ve studied them” he told us, “and things were looking good for Tyrone in the first draft. Not only were they predicted to be in the top two, but it was even looking like Sam would head north again. Then a second version added a disciplinary column which showed that Tyrone was predicted to have at least 17 black cards and that damaged us a bit”.
Nevertheless, this version still suggested Tyrone would meet Kerry in the semi-final again and considering Tyrone beat Dublin earlier in the year, whilst Kerry only managed a draw, it looked like Tyrone was going through.
However, a third version of the spreadsheet added an additional referee column which predicted that Maurice Deegan would referee the semi-final and that added a few points to the Kerry score. So the spreadsheet shows Kerry and Dublin in the final and the only thing to be decided is whether or not David Gough will get to referee it.
Asked whether something similar was going to happen to the hurling championship, Sean’s wife Kate who hates hurling, and who asked to remain anonymous, butted in to say it’s unlikely. “Hurling” she mused “is just all about whacking a ball as hard as you can and then giving the other team a go. There are no tactics so you just might as well just toss a coin”.
As a spy, Sean usually likes to remain tight-lipped but on this occasion he has opted to come out, to warn managers across the country to get together and agree to play behind closed doors if need be. “We cannot allow this coronavirus to be used as an excuse to kill gaelic football” he insisted. “Hear hear” said his wife.
However, not everyone is happy with the prospect of playing this year. Killyclogher’s Tiernan McCann is one among many. According to Tiernan, “Times like these helps you to get things in perspective. There is no way I’m willing to risk playing a football match until the hairdressers reopen”. When informed that Kieran McGeeney is happy to let Armagh play, Tiernan pointed out that “It’s not comparing like with like. The Armagh team know they’ll be knocked out long before they reach the televised stages”.
Mickey Harte launched a broadside on hearing of this rebellion in the Tyrone camp and has warned his boys that there are men waiting in the wings who are willing to play whether the hairdressers reopen or not. There is Peter Canavan and Ryan McMenamin and the entire Tattyreagh team.
The current Covid crisis has confirmed what many women in the county have suspected for decades – that men are only good for putting out bins and nothing else.
A survey in a local magazine about strawberries confirmed 95% of women recently discovered that when most men say they’ve work to do in the shed, they simply sharpen tools that they never use and just put the bins out once a week, grunting.
One anonymous replier, Sadie from Eskra, commented:
“For years he’d be hammering and scraping away in that shed and I was too busy in the house to find out what he’s at. Now I see it all. He’s doing buck all, sharpening away at a saw I’ve never seen him use. Even when he puts the bins out he makes it out to be a big job and comes back sweating and stuff and looking tea.”
Over 90% of women complained that even the bins were not put out correctly and that more often than not, half the rubbish will have spilled out from the house to the end of the driveway by the time he’s left it out.
In other news, a Brocagh woman has told her husband that she’s addicted to social distancing at home and that she may need to extend it for another 24 months.
Our reporters spent most of yesterday wandering around the county asking people, from a safe distance, what their plans are for reintegration into normal life again and what is the first thing they’ll do.
“I’ve had a lot of time to watch old videos. So, as soon as I can, I’m going to raise funds to build a marble statue in the middle of the hamlet of Plunkett Donaghy in the pose when he kicked that ball in the 1986 Ulster Final.” C MACKLE, MOY
“Flat out Massey diffing the whole way to Cappagh” P McCANN, GALBALLY
“This has given me time to reflect, and, in an act of solidarity with our neighbours, I’m going to buy an Urney jersey. I suppose they’re not that bad.” A HARKIN, STRABANE
“Straight to the pub. The bars being closed has turned me into an alcoholic.” K LUNDY, COALISLAND
“The barber. Doing your own colouring is unreliable. I look like an Armagh flag.” O MULLIGAN, COOKSTOWN
“I just want to lay a blanket on the ground, at Drum Manor” P BEGLEY, POMEROY
“I’m going to do a free concert in Donaghmore for all the new hairy Tyrone women out there” M CUSH, DONAGHMORE
“I’m considering swearing an allegiance to Armagh” L FAY, DUNGANNON
“I’m the same as the Mulligan boy above. I feel like I’ve lost my superpower. The barber for me.” J LYNCH, CASTLEDERG
“It has changed me too. I’m going to learn the Lambeg.” M O’NEILL, CLONOE
“I’m going to hunt down anyone who likes Mrs Brown’s Boys” O CORR, COALISLAND
“I’d an idea for a great comedy show called Donaghmore Girls about their lack of razors over the lockdown but looks like Malachi Cush will be in there first with his free concert and all.” M GRIMES, DONAGHMORE
“Starting up a GAA team in Newmills.” R MCSHERRY, COALISLAND
“Starting up an Arsenal Supporters’ Club in Leckpatrick.” G EARLY, LECKPATRICK
“Erect a big outside heater in Garvaghey for goalkeepers. Not standing around there all night doing nothing any more.” N MORGAN, EDENDORK
A trial run of mask-wearing in Stewartstown for all inhabitants has raised concerns that anonymous name-calling could be on the rise.
Three shopkeepers reported being called ‘dickhead’ by elderly customers in a queue but were unable to ascertain the direction of their abuser. A postal worker was also targeted as a ‘wanker’ and a ‘tramp’ which was shouted from an unidentified member of a group of mask-wearing parishioners lining up to get their confessions heard from behind a tree near Tullyhogue.
Local councillor Margaret Wilson lamented:
“It’s the teachers I worry about, if these masks are introduced at school level. You can imagine the name-calling from 30 pupils who can hide behind the face-wear. And that’s not to mention the abuse within the staffroom, with PE teachers being targeted by History teachers etc. “
Scientists at Queen’s University are working on a light system which can be attached to the masks. A red light will flash if any one of 300 identified bad works are spoken from behind the mask, making it easier for the victim to identify their verbal abuser.
However, this initiative could run into teething problems, as being called a ‘bollocks’ in Caledon is a term of endearment.
Meanwhile, PSNI have asked locals to stop bathing in home heating oil just because it’s cheaper than lavender bath foam.
With social distancing measures still a constant for the foreseeable future, hundreds of South Tyrone illegal diesel merchants have signed a letter urging Stormont to apply the national furlough conditions to their line of business until things settle.
The current lockdown directive has witnessed a marked decrease in vehicle traffic in the county, with many households simply walking to the shop or off licence to get essential provisions. The illegal diesel business is reckoned to be on its knees with many car owners still using the fuel they bought at the start of March.
Davy Quinn (55) from Coalisland was adamant that they will not become the forgotten business of this pandemic:
“Let’s be honest here. 75% of the money spent on shops in Coalisland, Brackaville and even Clonoe has the smell of diesel off it. Sometimes you come out of a shop in the town after buying corned beef and stuff and your hands smell like a lawnmower after getting the change. We exist! It’s time we got our 80% furloughing. In my case that would be roughly £3m.”
South Armagh businessmen have joined their South Tyrone and South Derry counterparts in arranging a protest online about their plight on Zoom, with their cameras turned off though.