By Landan Seamy
Imagine the thrill of lying in bed on a windswept December night listening to the hair raising howls from the moors as the wolves hunt their next victim. If local conservationist Pat “the wild man” Devlin and his 11 friends have their way this is what the future could hold for parts of Tyrone.
Pat and his team say plans to bring wolves back to Caledon and Benburb are “at an advanced stage”.
“People claim that we have not thought this through”
“but we have watched all the Jurassic Park films and know how things could go wrong so to be on the safe side we have chosen 2 areas with sparse populations and with absolutely no players on the Tyrone county squad. Both places are practically in Armagh anyway so I don’t see what all the fuss is about”.
Pat is convinced that there’ll be no disaster anyway.
“Whilst the cynics just see problems I just see benefits for the local economy. Just think of the euros and dollars pouring in. If some of that money crosses the border to Armagh then good luck to them. People have asked me if I’ll be introducing lions and tigers next. That’s just pure ignorance. Those animals never lived in Ireland. The gist of my plan is to return, to their natural habitats, the animals dispossessed by Cromwell”.
Pat has met with some opposition from local farmers and mothers with young children.
“I can understand their concerns” he sympathises “but they’ll just have to get on with it”.
“People say he’s crazy” added Sean who like some of the other 11 is actually one of Pat’s sons.
“But when has a madman ever influenced 11 others. As my father keeps reminding us 12 is a respectable number. Jesus had 12 disciples; Jacob had 12 sons; Christmas has 12 days and the 12th is one of the biggest days in the northern calendar”.
“And on that last fact” interrupted Pat,
“if our fellow county men don’t stop moaning I’ll take the idea to Paisley’s country. It’d actually save us all a lot of time for once we rescue the wolves from the zoo we’d practically be in Antrim already”.
When pressed to state when exactly the wolves are to be “returned” Pat smiled and tapped his nose before saying “plans are an at an advanced stage but if I gave you an exact date the big noises in the zoo in Belfast would probably try and stop us“.
Against all the odds, Moygashel have successfully applied to become part of the GAA landscape after their club ‘True Blues GFC’ were finally affiliated as an operating GAA club as of July 12th 2014.
Moygashel, who have suffered from unwanted publicity recently, will play their first friendly against Carrickmore on the 11th night, followed by games against Coalisland Fianna, Ardboe O’Donovan Rossa and Galbally Pearses to get them acclimatised to the Tyrone county scene. The move comes after Stormont agreed a multi-million pound investment in new facilities in Moygashel including a floodlit pitch and changing rooms with individual showers.
Manager Wesley Frazer was hopeful of a positive start to life in the GAA arena:
“I know we’d have a reputation for being a bit on the Loyalist/Unionist side of the Ulster political divide but we want True Blues GFC to be the start of folk forgetting these silly tags people place on certain enclaves in the province. We have a few good ballers who are sick of the way soccer is almost now non-contact so we’re going to try our hand at the GAA and get wired into some fenians in a nice friendly way. The Carrickmore game will be explosive. I suppose I shouldn’t use that word.”
True Blues GFC will use the motto Fidelitate et honore, terra et mare which means ‘loyalty and honour on land and sea’ and their crest will have elements of the culture from the area including the Queen’s face, a bonfire and graffiti.
Frazer, who recently served time in Maghaberry for tobacco smuggling, predicts a great 11th night festival and has offered Carrickmore supporters a safe and warm welcome:
“This could be Northern Ireland turning a corner. We’ll provide crisps and mineral for the Carrickmore lads and if they want they can stay on and watch the bonfire, singing and the odd military show of strength.”
There has been a mixed reception in Carrickmore to the news of the upcoming fixture. Captain Cathal Gormley admitted:
“I’m crapping myself, and I’ve been to Ardboe.”
In what has been described as a historic gesture that’ll reverberate across the globe, Derrytresk are to host a 12th of July parade for the brethren up at Tamnamore. The controversial decision has been roundly applauded with a couple of high profile republican and unionist ministers declaring that they’ll think about going if there’s nothing else on.
The march’s chief organiser, Sadie McClure, outlined the schedule:
“The band and its supporters will arrive at about 11. We’ve commissioned a few desks from Kingsisland School and a couple of women say they’ll prepare a pile of mineral, maybe 10 jugs of diluted juice, and we’ll have the mineral sitting on the desks at the electric pole outside the pitch. I’m making cheese sandwiches and the barman says he’ll throw up a couple of packets of Bacon Fries.”
The route itself is slightly less straight forward according to McClure:
“It’s a wee bit tricky. They’ll be marching mostly across barren ramparts the whole way to Drumurrer, negotiating a few hateful ditches that have claimed small dogs in the past. We’ve asked Johnny Hagan to tie up his buck goat for that one day. It roams the moss along with Tomney’s bull. It can’t be tied so we’d be hoping the lambeg drummer will give it a few skites if it runs for them. It should be ok.”
The PSNI have revealed they will not be patrolling the march as there’s nowhere to stand and no jeeps can access the route anyway.
Tamnamore have said they’ll return the favour next Easter Sunday with the Derrytresk Ceile Band allowed to parade around their roundabout about 20 times hassle free.