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.
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”.
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.