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.
Sources from within the Dublin camp have confirmed that the half time brawl between themselves and Tyrone was down to Tyrone turning off the immersion heater during the first half, leaving cold Dublin players without their half time shower.
The immersion switch, which is located at the end of the tunnel, was turned on by the Dublin management just before throw-in, in preparation for their half time warming session which is the norm at Croke Park.
It emerged that the switch was mischievously turned off by a Tyrone backroom member during an important play on the field. Dublin masseuse Brenda Pollan explained:
“Big Fenton went mad. He loves his warm showers and as soon as he saw the light was off he started swinging. I’ve never seen him so animated. They even wash their balls and all. Think the Tyrone boys didn’t know what the fight was about but threw digs anyway. Dark arts are still alive in Tyrone.”
Tyrone GAA have yet to respond but are known to be very careful about the immersion being on and prefer players to defrost by jumping up and down doing star jumps, as well as the heads, shoulder, knees and toes children’s dance.
Following the news that beautifulpeople.com confirmed Irish males are the ugliest on the planet, the Tyrone Council have launched an ambitious bid to find at least three men in the county for breeding purposes.
Application forms were released this morning in Omagh, Dungannon and Strabane for anyone who thinks they might be half decent looking and willing to join the breeding lab in Cookstown, even Pomeroy men.
Already 55 applications have been filled in, with 54 immediately rejected. One form has yet to be processed as the applicant took a picture of the back of their head by mistake.
Council member Bridie McAteer described the breeding process:
“It’s a bit primitive like, but we have hired three rooms in Cookstown with music and all playing and women who want beautiful children can tackle one of these three lads if we find them. They’ll then receive a grant of £100 a month until the child is 16, providing the child is male and decent looking too. In time, we hope to have an extensive breeding programme by 2050.”
Applications are open until 1st March. To apply, the council needs three photos of the applicant’s face in different poses, unshaven. If selected, the breeders will be put on a strict diet of oysters and milk.
Brandon Lewis’ appointment today, who replaced Julian Smith as the NI Secretary of State, has caused much consternation in Tyrone as he clearly has a distinct Derry head on him.
In recent years, there has been a feeling in the county that Derry have been given money more readily towards infrastructure and schools and this will only increase suspicions of bias especially as the new man has a Derry head on him.
Margaret Dinny, a politics teacher from Omagh, confirmed our worst fears:
“He definitely has an oul thick Derry head on him. Those puffed red cheeks and attempt at a spiked haircut despite his advancing years is a classic south Derry look. And he’s always smirking. Bet the wee balax has a notion of his cousins too. We could be in for a tough time again in Tyrone. “
There has already been confirmation that one of Lewis’ first visits will be to Ballinderry to confirm that most of it is actually in Derry which is geographically incorrect.
There are also rumours that he may move the foot of the Sperrins out of Tyrone completely by doing some serious fracking around Greencastle in order to move the mountain range by force.
Ten days of sub-standard cabbage and bacon was reportedly the final straw for Cathal McShane after it was confirmed he will stay in Tyrone for 2020 instead of Adelaide.
Preferring the bleak and miserable setting of Leckpatrick, McShane was said to be dismayed at the presentation and texture of his favourite meal of champ, three sausages, brown sauce and a bacon and cabbage combo which he has eaten every day since he was 7.
Close friend and confidante Kieran ‘Tootsie’ Bagule revealed that this was only the tip of the iceberg:
There was no Emmerdale either or nothing. Corned beef sandwiches were also almost impossible to locate in Adelaide. And the tea was shite.
He also confirmed that McShane was asked to sing an initiation song at his first training session. The fact that no one knew who Garth Brooks was after he belted out ‘Friends In Low Places’ confirmed his decision to leave.
Rumours that his Adelaide Crows teammates complained of having to wear sunglasses during meetings, due to his bright white skin colour, were said to be exaggerated.
Man Who Was Fined For Being On Phone Whilst Riding Donkey Maintains He Was Passenger. Donkey MOTs Delayed.
A Benburb farmer has appealed his £30 fine for riding a donkey while phoning his girlfriend on a backroad near the Moy after he claimed that he was not in charge of the beast but simply a passenger.
George Wallace (33) admitted he was on his phone to his girlfriend whilst sitting on the donkey’s back on his way to an illegal greyhound meeting when he was caught by three PSNI officers who were also on their way to the meeting.
However, Wallace argued that he did not set out on the journey with the donkey and only just embarked it halfway up the road, as you would a taxi.
There’s no way I was in control of that donkey. I just pointed it in the way of the Moy and sat back and relaxed. And I phoned the woman to remind her to turn the immersion off. I’ve never heard of a taxi passenger getting done for being on a phone.”
Meanwhile, donkey MOTs are to begin in March 2020 after the lifts which raises donkeys up were found to be suitable for left-handed donkeys only.
Three donkeys were turned away from the Cookstown MOT depot yesterday on a trial run for dunging in the centre.
A Cookstown boiler servicer has been refused a refund after purchasing over 200 items at a charity auction in Cookstown last weekend.
Patsy Sheehey, who had been at a 40th birthday party until 6am that morning, admitted that although he may have still been intoxicated the morning of the auction, it was the tremors that resulted in him bidding for over 200 items consecutively.
Sheehey returned home with a car full of useless household goods including a freshwater pearl, five broken grandfather clocks, an octopus mermaid ornament, a lobster in tangled lights ornament, a squirrel in underpants ornament, a toilet plunger ornament, a pirate girl pink flamingo ornament and a replica of Steven Hawking’s chair.
“It’s a disaster. I only went to see what an auction was like. I didn’t expect to spend £50’000 and come home with three cracked Belleek Crystal Bells amongst other stuff. It was just the jitters after the drinking session that had me bidding and I didn’t even know it.”
The charity has requested that Sheehey pays up in full by the end of the month, with the money going towards a much needed shelter for lonely and depressed donkeys in the greater East Tyrone area.
Meanwhile, a snowman was built on Tuesday morning at 5am outside Lissan.
After a recent survey confirmed that housewives were turning away from reading the Irish News in favour of Loose Women on TV and Stephen Nolan on the wireless, the newspaper giant have reportedly offered former columnist Paddy Heaney a blank cheque to write again in order to regain lost female readership.
Middle-aged Heaney, who took time off from the writing in a bid to become World’s Strongest Man before becoming embroiled in a multi-million dollar lawsuit with several bread-making establishments after he told people to stop eating bread, was pictured today in a deliberately provocative pose in the Irish News.
An Irish News insider added:
“Yes it’s all true. Heaney is back and, going by the swooning in the queue outside the Spar in Draperstown this morning, so are the women. It just made total sense. The fact that he’s now all toned up after a few years of pumping iron makes him an even more attractive product.
Tensions in the Irish News sports department were said to be palpable, with rival journalists Archer, Crossan and O’Kane all spotted wearing gym gear over the weekend, and the latter having reportedly spent over £12 on hair products in Boots yesterday in Antrim town after the game in Glenavy.
In addition to a series of new easy-to-understand rules already being implemented for the start of the league, the GAA authorities have managed to slip in a plethora of surprise changes which should ‘spice up the game’, according to Playing Rules Committee PR Tam O’Rourke.
One of the most controversial changes is the rule that “if you catch the ball left-handed between the midfield and the 45m of the opposition’s half, and land on both feet simultaneously or within 0.05 seconds of each other, facing away from your own goals, whilst raising three fingers on your right hand, you will be awarded a free kick from a 45 degree angle to your nearest opponent as long as that opponent is also either airborne or looking towards the sky with both eyes, and that the ball was kicked towards the recipient with conviction”.
“This should re-ignite out love for the the lost art of one-handed catches and stop Ulster players passing the ball around and keeping it and all. In terms of kicking the ball with conviction, a look into the eyes of the kicker of the ball, as he kicks it, should be enough to ascertain his intentions. It’s spicy. It’ll spice it up.”
Additionally, anyone sin-binned can only speak in Irish to team mates whilst in the bin. For the first time in high level sports, a bin will actually be used for black card recipients with rumours that it’ll be a green recycling one to help the environment.
Another rule which should be easily implemented is that only players under 15 stone are allowed to take sideline kicks.
Already, seven inter-county referees have begun seeking counselling even before a ball has been kicked.
As hundreds of Derrylaughan residents woke to the fact that they’re now Derry people, Irish News readers have contacted authorities in their droves to provide evidence that the media are in cohoots with Derry.
A blueprint for the Derry invasion of Tyrone was uncovered in a graveyard in Lissan, with Cookstown next to be annexed before Easter. However, The Irish News have been accused of simply relocating Tyrone townlands into Derry through their articles, unashamedly.
Derrylaughan stalwart Packie Kennedy admitted it was hard waking up a Derry man this morning:
“It was a bit of a shock to read in the paper yesterday that we are now in Derry. Though, to be honest, I found myself half fancying my cousins at Mass this morning so it must be true. Up the Oak Leaf.”
Cookstown have already brought in reinforcements with several Kildress and Greencastle men manning the main road up to Magherafelt. Rumours tonight suggest that Ardboe and Moortown have already fallen and it’s only a matter of time until Coalisland is under attack. Coalisland officials have postponed the rolling out of their one-way system until this is sorted.
Meanwhile, a Aghyaran woman walked three miles yesterday to the shops and her plastic bag split coming home, losing a pint of milk and three Freddos.
MLAs from all parties have been hit with serious stomach cramps after tea was made yesterday in the staff kitchen using milk from January 2017.
Angry exchanges were allegedly heard outside the MLA kitchen with one high-profile DUP politician accused of making the milk turn sour by looking at it too long. A Sinn Fein MLA was also blamed for using milk produced by republican cows which has a history of causing explosive side effects according to food engineers at Queen’s University.
Kitchen porter Jeremy Carson admitted it was simply a case of the fridge not being emptied since the Assembly folded three years ago:
“I’m just glad no one ate the platter of tuna sandwiches which were still there since then. They’d have ended up with severely flushed skin, headaches, itchiness, blurred vision, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and possible death. An SDLP woman did tackle a Snickers which was in there too but seems to have been lucky with that one.”
Meanwhile, funding has been requested by the Washingbay Society for the construction of an eel aquarium beside the Derrylaughan football field. The aquarium proposes to showcase over 4000 different types of eels from excited brownish eels to grumpy grey ones. The proposal suggests a worldwide audience for the idea, with a live Webcam for people to watch eels at any time of the day, anywhere in the world.