Three strategically placed vending machines have gone live this morning in Cookstown for young men in need of an emergency check shirt before heading to one of the dances in the town whenever they reopen.
Scientists have worked out that over five months of unplanned courtships between mostly mid to east Tyrone men and women in the 18-25 age group have been lost due to the pandemic lock-down, resulting in the probable loss of over 200 future marriages.
The check shirt vending machines offer a range of colours from red checked, blue checked and a third multi-coloured check shirt, all costing £10 un-ironed or £15 ironed.
Cookstown hotelier Leon Kennedy maintains this has been a genius idea:
“The amount of times I was caught out in the 80s wearing a plain t-shirt thinking I wasn’t going to pull and then tacked a blade from Galbally but lost her due to a lack of checked shirt. This is a game-changer for lads out of practice in recent months.”
Meanwhile GAA supporters have been asked not to turn up to matches this weekend due to Covid19 health and safety concerns but have also been told that if they do turn up anyway they will still have to pay in.
Barbers and hairdressers across the county are said to be dismayed and worried at the lack of customers in their premises since lock down rules were relaxed.
In what is said to be a related trend, over 300 new 80s tribute bands have been registered in the county, with many groups formed within single households featuring siblings with big hair and imitating bands such as Bon Jovi, Bananarama and Europe.
Coalisland barber John ‘Crowbar’ Timlin fumed at the latest development:
“People would need to wise up. Most can sing for none and although they may look the part I wouldn’t spend a penny on going to see a rake of Gervins singing The Final Countdown. Come and get your hairs cut for feck sake.”
Already, four sisters from Brackaville have received several bookings for their tribute band to The Bangles called ‘Yer Bangles’ after growing seriously big hair over the lockdown, even though three of them are tone deaf.
Meanwhile, a barber in Killyman has been reported for taking a Samurai Sword to customers with more difficult barnets.
A local West Tyrone priest has been asked to mediate in the escalating Lynch family war after a disagreement over whether beans should be in an Ulster Fry or not turned ugly.
The question, which asked participants to name as many ingredients in a traditional Ulster Fry as possible, was the last question to be asked due to the violent threats issued in its aftermath.
With all teams separated by one point going into the last round, allowing ‘beans’ as an answer would have resulted in a clear victory for John Lynch’s team but it was not allowed by the question master who was also John’s godfather and uncle.
“I knew that bollocks had set me up. Beans are one of my favourite food stuffs and I’d pour them over the whole fry and he well knows it. Sure his wife, my aunt, used to ask me if I wanted a fry with my beans. This isn’t over.”
The local parish priest was called in the early hours of Saturday morning after three Lynch families were spotted openly brawling on the Kilclean Road amidst a volley of bad language including ‘you know where you can stick your f**kin mushrooms”.
Various leaders within the county have asked families to proofread and adjust any controversial questions in future.
The Department of Education has urged older teachers to sharpen their aim for the return to teaching in September. Social distancing regulations means normal methods of sharing classroom work have to be shelved in favour of throwing the exercise books at each other.
Teachers will be brought back early in August to practise long-range throwing for pupils sitting in the back row. Any pupils caught purposely mis-throwing their books in order to hit other pupils or firing them intentionally hard at the teacher will be moved to the front for a two-month probationary period.
Education Minister Paddy Weird added:
We have also advised the cooks and catering staff to get used to flinging sausage rolls and pizza slices at pupils, either landing on a disposable plate or directly into their mouths. Foot such as mashed potato and gravy will be funnelled down pipes onto the plates from at least a 10m distance.”
Teaching unions have surprisingly supported the workbook-flinging initiative and have pushed for pens, staplers and sharpeners to be included in the hurling list.
Meanwhile, teachers of History have voiced concerns that local children may have a completely one-sided version of history now that they’ve been homeschooled by parents, especially those in Galbally and Carrickmore.
This morning GAA authorities have confirmed that they will liven up behind-closed-doors GAA games by playing recorded abuse towards the referee from the crowd in order to create a better spectacle for the TV.
A meeting was held this morning to identify the most common insults and the committee settled on many favourites which will create a sense of nostalgia for supporters sitting at home. They include:
‘You’re a cheating lousy bastard’, ‘Useless C**t’, ‘what do you expect from a (insert county/club here) bollocks’, ‘He’ll give us nothing the hoor!’ ‘Are your eyes painted on?’ ‘You’re a f**king wanker!’ ‘You forget your cards ye dick?’ ‘you’re a disgrace (insert surname here), just be fair!’
as well as other favourites. Referees have also been asked to add to the list if they can recall some from their own experiences.
The committee has also added some player abuse such as ‘if it was a fish supper you’d catch it’ but didn’t want to create offence by using too many.
Meanwhile, Croke Park officials are also considering asking TV spectators to pay a fiver to watch the games on the TV as well as uploading pictures of themselves onto social media sites eating ham sandwiches and opening flasks of tea whilst sitting in makeshift boots in their living rooms.
East Tyrone Eating Establishment Under Investigation For Selling Underground Cowboy Suppers In April
A well known fast food outlet in the east of the county is reportedly being investigated for trading in illegal cowboy suppers since early April under the noses of the police in the town.
Although we’re unable to identify the establishment for legal reasons, it has been confirmed that over 400 portions of the popular sausages, beans and chips dish were sold in the first two weeks in April in disused bus shelters and outside GAA grounds under the cover of darkness.
Additionally, two police officers are currently suspended pending investigation having been accused of buying two cowboy suppers on the night of Easter Sunday. Local comedian and bird watcher Peter Campbell added:
“I’m saying nothing but it wasn’t too hard to get one if you were really craving it. We all knew where to go. People need to be careful though. No salt was provided and you can forget about vinegar being added. People need to be aware of that before buying or at least know to provide their own.”
Tins of Lilt were also available for much cheaper than the local supermarkets.
Meanwhile, local men have been urged to stop wearing retro tight shorts during the spell of good weather.
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.
Clubs up and down the county are currently coming to terms with news that, when life returns to some form of normality, Windmill GAC may be playing Junior football in 2021 and may have already started training.
Although O’Neills have refused to confirm or deny their involvement, jerseys sporting the feared Windmill logo and design have already been spotted in and around Coagh and further afield. Uruguay, who based their aggressive 1950s style on Windmill after one of their players married a girl from Drummullan, is apparently awash with Windmill jerseys and its population is said to be beside themselves with excitement at the news.
In a statement read by hooded men this morning over Skype, reasons for their return were spelt out in a clear and concise manner:
“Football has gone soft. We, at the Windmill, cannot sit back and watch men dive and wave imaginary black cards any more. The only cards we dealt in were Mass Cards before a game, as a warning. Also, there has been serious breeding going on recently in families with the Windmill in their blood. O’Neills, Grahams, Martins, Devlins, Quinns and Herons. All mobilised. All raring to give lads a good reason to dive.”
The Windmill people haven’t seen any football in the area since their infamous friendly with Moortown in 1988 which saw a 130 man and woman brawl which lasted over two days down at the Wee Line.
Referees have today asked for better protective clothing for 2021. Mickey Harte is also considering not picking any Junior League players next year just in case.
RTE bosses have attempted to remedy the effect the current lockdown conditions are having on Mass-goers by streaming some of the best Masses from the 60s and 70s ever seen in Ireland.
Starting on Easter Sunday at 7am, their online streaming service will begin with a classic Mass held in Bundoran in 1974 which lasted nearly two hours and had singing and all from the local choir. It includes the hilarious moment when a ginger altar-boy set his own hair on fire when lighting the candles at the start.
Locally, a Mass from Pomeroy in 1978 will be shown on Tuesday at 7pm which was at the time recognised as one of the quickest ever Sunday Masses, lasting 18 minutes. It coincided with the World Cup Final which was being held in Argentina and played at midday GMT.
RTE Streaming CEO Henry Bogue explained:
“Lots of us are really missing Mass at the minute so we’re allowing those in need to binge on some of the greatest Masses ever celebrated on this island by some talented clergy. We hope these classics will bring a smile to our faces and people can even watch them with a mineral, crisps and even a beer.”
RTE have warned viewers that any illegal videoing of the Classic Masses series will be punished severely by either the police force or God himself.
Plumbridge Man Who Tried To Raise Spirits By Singing Wagon Wheel From Doorstep Told To ‘Shut The F**k Up’ By Neighbours
Inspired by scene from balconies in Italy, a Plumbridge tree surgeon was cut down in his tracks by angry neighbours after trying to sing ‘Wagon Wheel’ to cheer people up.
Scenes soon deteriorated as more neighbours came out to tell the other neighbours to shut up themselves. Within 20 mins, police were called to the village as over 200 people were shouting bad words at each other to the backdrop of an out-of-tune Wagon Wheel.
Jackie Coyle (46) admitted he was overwhelmed with emotion when he witnessed various Italian communities come together in song and music and thought it would do The Plum good to try the same.
“I didn’t think I’d have received the reaction I did. I had hardly finished ‘Rock Me Mama’ when someone shouted ‘shut the f**k up’ and fired what looked like a tricycle in my direction. Soon he was joined by others as I continued to sing. Then loads came out to tell the first crowd to shut up, only using worse language”.
Coyle maintains that he will be undeterred and promises to do a rendition of Johnny Logan’s ‘What’s Another Year?’ on Easter Sunday but will wear protective clothing such as a helmet and some kind of body shield.
A Ballygawley car salesman has been told for the last time to stick some trousers on FFS after wearing nothing but a 1986 Tyrone top and boxer shorts for the last three days whilst holed up at home.
Patsy McGeehan (44) was even spotted in his trunks answering the door to delivery men and feeding birds out around his back. Calls from his wife and children to put on even a pair of tracksuit bottoms on or pyjamas have fallen on deaf ears until this morning when his mother demanded and even cursed.
Mrs McGeehan (87) added:
“He can be an awful contrary bollocks sometimes. Even if he had changed the boxer shorts it may have been tolerable, and I’m just talking about what I see from Skyping him. I think cursing on the phone made him think again. I haven’t let a ‘fuck’ out of me since Armagh won the All Ireland in 2002.”
The McGeehans have confirmed that Patsy donned a pair of old brown cords today and an A-Team t-shirt he kept from the 80s.
Meanwhile, marriage counsellors have confirmed a 700% rise in phone calls in the county since mid-March.
Uproar In Brackaville As Priest Makes Parishioners Shout Confessions From 100 Metres Away, Up His Lane
Thousands of spectators are gathering in Brackaville to listen to confessions of their neighbours after Fr Gillis demanded they are shouted from the bottom of his lane due to the current health crisis.
Already there have been three major disturbances due to the nature of some confessions, whilst many onlookers drink their carry-outs, sitting in deck chairs and clapping and yahooing at some confessions.
The PSNI confirmed they had been called three times to the area:
“Yes, there was one major incident in the village when a farmer admitted he had impure thoughts about another farmer’s wife. Unfortunately the other farmer was listening too. Another fight occurred when an elderly women confessed she didn’t pay for a Mars Bar in the local garage. The final incident was in relation to a confessor admitting he thought Coalisland people were dicks. People need to mind their own business and go home.”
Cheers and laughing were still echoing around the area this morning as guilt-ridden parishioners divulged personal details to Fr Gillis who at one point appeared to be giggling himself.
The police confirmed that no one will be prosecuted for confessions heard in this manner although they did initially arrest a 49-year old man who confessed he hadn’t used legal diesel since 1997.
Fr Gillis has absolved everyone so far.
Over 8000 packets of fig rolls have now been purchased in the greater Fintona area since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, with scientists at a loss to explain why the Fintonese people are stockpiling on the controversial biscuit.
Despite remaining tight-lipped about the reason behind their spending habits, many from the village have brazenly traveled as far as Fivemiletown in order to top up their fig roll provisions.
Professor Kitty Kilmore remains perplexed by the pattern:
“We’ve looked at this from every angle but cannot find a reason why the Fintonese people feel the need to stockpile fig rolls in case of a emergency. Water and bread I understand but this fig roll obsession has us stumped. We’d love to know what this signals.”
Despite persistent emails and phone calls, Fintona Lord Mayor Freddie McCann refused to comment on their rationale and just kept winking and pointing at his nose when asked.
One explanation currently being considered is a misunderstanding by the local finona people. When asked at a Mid-Ulster conference as to which foods to stock up on if a national emergency was announced, an irate Health Minister Noel Pattyson simply replied, ‘frig all’.
Despite the temporary banning of the shaking of hands, church officials today confirmed that God will not allow anyone to get the Coronavirus by passing the collection basket around or by handling money, especially notes.
Although the message was met with groans across the county this morning, the collection in all 43 parishes still totaled just under £90’000 for all Masses this weekend, a slight decrease on last week.
Bishop James Bogue from Trillick confirmed that the Vatican are sure God would not allow anyone to contract the illness from the basket but reminded people to use notes instead of coins as you’d never know whose hands had been on the coins:
“Yes, we had a long good prayer about the basket and came to the decision that God wouldn’t allow it. But to be on the safe side, use notes as they normally stay in wallets and all. Coins would be fiddled with in pockets and stuff.”
Clogher Parish only managed to donate £30 this week after parishioners failed to make it to Mass on time due to queues outside the Spar which was selling 100 toilet rolls for £50.
Meanwhile, a hand-washing seminar in Ardboe was cut short after no soap was produced. Locals confirmed that soap hasn’t been used in the area since the 80s, with people just washing their hands in the Lough in the morning.