Around 60 middle-aged men from Carrickmore, Galbally, Kildress, Coalisland and Ardboe will make their debuts today in the Commonwealth Games in Scotland, with high expectations of bringing home a rash of medals despite no official training.
The athletes arrived over in a convoy of six white vans yesterday, claiming they purposely avoided the opening ceremony because of the amount of cameras and men in uniform about the arena.
Early practice ironed out a few problems, especially after the majority turned up camouflaged with ferns and brackens from home. Additionally, many of their guns appeared to be covered in turf, as if unearthed just recently.
Jackie ‘eagle-eye’ McDermott (61) from Kildress was disappointed that the categories were not what they expected them to be:
“Yes a few things have annoyed us but we’ll tear away anyway. They said we are not allowed to wear any facial coverings but some of these lads shoot far better with what we now call ‘head-warmers’ on them. But rules are rules I suppose. The dark sunglasses and moustaches will do ok. Sniping doesn’t seem to be a category at all too.”
Unfortunately three men were sent home after early practice this morning for shouting ‘yeeoooo’ and a three-worded saying in Irish every time they hit a target, despite repeated warnings. One of the threesome, Peter Bradley (54) from Ardboe, dejectedly explained:
“Ghost-oh we got thrown out. It was a natural reaction, like, from years ago. I suppose shouting abuse at the English shooters was bad manners. We’ll be back in four years though with a better idea of the format. We haven’t gone away ye know.”
Meanwhile, another shooter, Hugh Devine (49) from Carrickmore, has been sent home for testing positive for homemade brew as well as making animal noises when rival air rifle competitors were aiming.