By Mary Ann Jackson
There has been mixed reaction to the news that a new Boxing Club in Galbally is to open its fine facilities very shortly in a state of the art gym built by local volunteers.
Many “auld hands” in the area had expressed their opinion that the younger generation were “goin saft” before recalling with pride the many times they had engaged in the noble pugilist art bare-chested in the snow and the rain in the car parks of The Gap, Knocknamoe Hotel, along with the neighbouring Cookstown venues of the Glenavon and the Greenvale not to mention the bouts in the middle of the busy A5 at Garvaghey or the on the main Dublin Derry road at Main Street Emyvale.
Now after a number of very successful boxing nights in the local Community Centre, locals appear to have developed a “Grá” for the better conditions boxing under a roof and a surprising new attachment to rules and regulations.
One lady, who recently moved to Galbally under the impression it was a modern settlement full of metrosexual New Men, expressed surprise to learn that a Boxing Club was opening shortly, commenting:
“I thought the local lads were more into synchronised swimming and singing along to girly videos, going on what I’d been told.”
She later required medical intervention when it was explained to her that a few local lassies are also up for the fight.
Some Galbally men are not impressed that the local lads are to fight under the Queensbury rules, believing Stormont’s fingerprints are all over this. Founder Arthur Nugent confirmed that this was not the case.
A brand new sport was introduced in Galbally last night at the Community Centre, as locals participated in ‘Chess Boxing’, a hybrid sport that combined chess with boxing in alternating rounds.
“We’ve tried some of these hybrid sports before, with mixed success”, said Fergal Tiernan, who organised and refereed the event. “We tried Cage-Fighting Gymnastics last year which was quite good, although Archery Wrestling didn’t end very well. And the less said about Karate Skydiving the better. We got the timing of the rounds wrong. Jays, that was a messy one to red up. Still, you’ve got to try these things”.
The Chess Boxing competition involved eight competitors, although Tiernan immediately encountered challenges.
“Aye, only one of them could play chess. We forgot this was Galbally. The rest were just there for the fighting really, and the free Tayto afterwards”.
Tempers boiled over when one of the competitors, 52-year old Oisin McShea, refused to learn the rules of chess, saying that he would involve himself in no loyalist scheme involving a Queen, King, or any other member of royalty, regardless of whether or not they were made of moulded plastic.
In fact, the only competitor able to play chess was Peader Carson from Kilnaslee Road, one of the first to apply for the competition, although it transpired that he hadn’t fully grasped the rules of the competition when applying. “Poor Peader”, explained Tiernan. “His eyesight’s not so good so he didn’t really understand about the boxing bit of it until he got into the ring. It might not’ve been so bad, but he’s 84 next birthday. Still, he paid his £3 entry so he was entitled to a go same as the rest of them. Jays, you should have seen him going down. Like a sack of spuds mangled up in a zimmer frame”.
“That’s true”, said the octogenarian Carson from his hospital bedside. “I went into the ring with a tactical plan of how I was going to open up my chess game with maybe a classic Budapest Gambit or a Sicilian Defence, and then I got punched in the face really really hard. Jays, my dentures flew halfway across the ring, and then it was goodnight Vienna. Don’t remember much after that, but it’s surprising how good Baxter’s pea and ham soup tastes through a straw. Still, it’s a lesson learned. If they repeat the competition next year, I’ll come back older wiser and stronger. Well, certainly older. Sorry, would you mind helping me onto the commode?”
The event was won by Father Polland of St Luke’s Chapel in Cappagh who won all of his chess matches after insisting he was, ‘on very good terms with both of his bishops, and had ecumenical dispensation to take any piece he wanted”.
To the cheers of delighted fans a team of Tyrone athletes took to the podium in Glasgow yesterday to accept a gold medal, in one of the newest disciplines to be introduced into the modern Games.
The four-man team, mainly from Drumquin, won the new Triathlon ‘Complete Headcase’ event, which include three key disciplines of: drinking 10 pints of Stella without vomiting; fighting in the street with a minimum of 5 passers-by; and sleeping soundly for at least 12 hours with the volume on a nearby television turned up as high as it can go.
In a nail-biting finish, the Drumquin team initially slipped into second place after having lost a 12-point lead after one of the team, 24-year old Feargal Donaghy, wasted 20 minutes picking a fight with a lamp post he mistook for a very thin, very quiet, man. However, the team showed their mettle by gaining bonus points for putting toasted cheese under the grill and then forgetting all about it until the cooker went on fire. The team also impressed judges with their ability to last the entire event without eating anything than a packet of pork scratching between them.
“Their dedication to their sport is amazing”, admitted judge Tarquin Pringle from Canada. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Tyrone produce some of the very best nutters in the whole of the Commonwealth. Seeing them lurch onto the podium to collect the gold medal made my heart sing”.
Proud team leader of the squad Patsy Mirren, said,
“Some say that ‘Complete Headcase’ as an event isn’t a ‘proper’ sport. Jaysus, have you ever watched Mountain Biking? My 12-year old nephew could do that. And fighting’s just the same as the boxing or wrestling, except without the leotards”.He continued, “We nearly got disqualified when they found out we were from Drumquin, because they knew we had an unfair advantage. We’ve been training for this for years. Thon Glasgow boyos in particular gave us some run for our money, but we saw them off early doors at the drinking stage. They’d had a big feed of fried Mars Bars before the event and couldn’t keep up the pace. Mighty”.
Reflecting on the win, Donaghy said, “This gold medal is just phenomenal. We can’t wait to get it back to Tyrone and show it around. Some of them pawnshops in Cookstown will be deadly interested”.
The Tyrone Sports Council have already nominated further events for inclusion at the 2018 Games, including Head -Scratching, Diffing, Giving Directions to Strangers, and Breaking Wind.
Government officials are said to be on high alert after a shadowy phone-call from a group calling themselves the West Tyrone Independent Disability Living Allowance (IDLA) announced they will resist a tightening on fraudulent payouts by whatever means necessary.
The news that benefits in some cases are to be reassessed came after a Strabane man, who was claiming incapacity benefit for a sore back, was caught moonlighting as a bare-knuckle cage boxer in the lucrative underground fighting ring in Clady. Jon McElhinna defended his position:
“I never said I was incapacitated at night. The cold air seems to work wonders on the muscles. I’m only incapacitated during the day and I’m not giving up my £300 a week. No siree.”
IDLA have also sworn to stand up for any benefit cuts, including the case against Donemana’s Mary McClean who had failed to declare her life-long partner and executive banker, Cyron, as a resident. Hurson defended her position by declaring:
“No he doesn’t live here. Yes, he arrives at 7am for breakfast and yes I make him his lunch-time salad. And yes, he does kiss me at the door as he leaves and yes returns at 6pm for a bit of lunch and tells me about his day before putting the children to bed and yes falling asleep on the TV whilst watching cooking programmes. But he doesn’t live here. Anyway, I’m bisexual.”
The IDLA say they’ll let the tyres down on anyone who looks like someone from Belfast carrying a clipboard walking up driveways.
Meanwhile Barry McElduff has endorsed a Christmas single to be released by the balaclava-ed IDLA called ‘Keep er Lit’, a direct attack on the proposed cuts being made to households who earn over £100’000 per annum and who claim for heating allowance.
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.