A primary five altar boy making his much anticipated debut at Saturday night mass last weekend maintains he was set-up by more experienced altar boys, probably the P7 lad, after he rang the bell during a period of silent reflection. Fr Lenny McGee, a short-tempered clergyman from outside the county, reacted badly to the mistiming youngster but has since forgiven the boy’s momentary lapse. Johnny Harbinson is adamant he was set up:
“To be honest, I was a bit green about it. My da had been an altar boy of fine repute and uncles would tell me he had the steadiest hand in the country for holding the plate under chins like they used to at communion. I had a lot to live up to and the pressure maybe got to me. One of the other lads handed me the stick for hitting the bell and I do remember thinking it wasn’t how I thought it would look like. There was no soft head on it – just a bit of lead.”
Young Harbinson went on to explain the moment he realised he’d been hoaxed:
“The bigger lad said he’d wink when it was time to hit the bell and to wallop it with the deadliest force I could muster. I heard the priest say ‘bow down your heads in silence and pray for forgiveness’ early on in the mass as he sat down on a seat to reflect. I looked at the p7 boy, he winked, so I hit the bell with the stick of lead with the most might I had in me. The noise was earth-shattering and I could see the elderly cradle their heads with the squealing from their hearing aids. A window shattered at the back. The ambulance was called to see to a couple of OAPs with weak valves. My lasting memory was a visibly-shocked Fr McGee shouting ‘Holy Jaysus’ with a scowl on him like nothing I’d seen before.”
Harbinson has been ‘rested’ this week but is expected to make a second appearance at the start of May.
The Glenelly Boxing By The River Fight Night, originally staged at the Mellon Country Hotel last weekend, is still raging on as four bouts have yet to witness a knock-out or retirement. Eight boxers from Glenelly, Gortin, Newtownstewart and Strabane have completed a total of 3022 rounds of fighting at the time of writing. The longest fight, involving Sheerin and McGlinchey, has just surpassed the 1000 rounds mark with ‘Give Em Hell’ McGlinchey finally showing signs of tiring today, day 12. Referee Leon McCaul insists it’s only a matter of time before Sheerin hits the canvas:
“You have to admire these lads. Sheerin had an advantage a couple of days ago when McGlinchey experienced a bit of a cold but a good sleep on Wednesday night saw ‘The Red Devil’ in fine fettle at the sound of the bell at 9am this morning. We normally call it quits at 7pm so the lads can go home, watch the soaps and refuel for the following day. I don’t think Sheerin will last that long today. He has only the one tooth left and has been blinded by the swelling since Sunday. It’s only one clean uppercut away.”
Other bouts have been less civilised. The McAnena fight has spilled onto fields in the surrounding area with members of both families taking welts out of each other on a daily basis as the main fight edges towards its conclusion. Local politician, Gary McVeigh, says the madness must stop:
“Ah come on now lads. What does it matter who wins now? McGinchey’s face is resembling his arse at this stage, and that’s not a sight women and children need to see. Tim Harney’s fight (round 886) is just a hugging match. It’s like the slow-set at Sense. Harney’s tongue is hanging out, for the love of God. This isn’t great for Glenelly’s image atall and our bid to host the paralympics in 2022.”
PaddyPower has suspended betting on the four remaining bouts after unconfirmed rumours suggest McGlinchey might take a dive in round 1011.