A sporting event aimed at bringing the communities in Tyrone closer together was declared a resounding success by organisers this morning.
The Clonoe Cage Cross-Community Fighting Extravaganza drew an impressive turn-out, with over 300 competitors paying £2.50 each to climb into the specially-constructed cage.
“These guys should be proud of themselves”, said 76-year old organiser and former parish priest from Benburb Frank McLean. “They were falling over each other to get into the cage and start fighting away. I’ve never seen enthusiasm like it. I watched these two lads form Cappagh and Moygashel slugging away like their lives depended on it. They didn’t even hear the bell. That’s how committed they are to making this sort of community event work. They just wanted to put on a great show. All the lads were the same. In fact, we had to intervene so many times the taser ran out of charge. After that we just stood back and watched”.
Participant Steve Lewis said,
“Aye it was some night boys. I was in the cage with this wan boyo from the Washing Bay. Some fighter. Even managed to knock me down a couple of times. Credit where credit’s due. That’s why I decided to show him some respect by scissor-kicking him in the face when we were back in the dressing room. And then hoofing him in the groin. Twice.”
McLean confirmed that working in cross-community projects such as this had been one of the highlights of his life.
“It’s moments like these you treasure. Some of the boys even started getting into all that bad-boy tag-team stuff like they used to do on the wrestling on the telly in the 70s, because there was these two boys who showed up wearing balaclavas and holding a couple of fake Armalites, waving them at the crowd and all. Jays, I was helpless with the laughter. I nearly ended myself. And do you know, even the crowd were getting into it, can you imagine? Jeering and chanting and suchlike”.
McLean confirmed that the next cross-community event planned in time for Christmas, ‘Brantry Bare-Knuckle Boxing’, is already generating interest.