The recent TV coverage of tennis at Wimbledon has prompted a local opportunist entrepreneur to capitalise on the renewed interest in the sport.
Fergal Donaghy from Annaghmore decided to make the investment after seeing two youngsters playing with tennis racquets near Greencastle last week during the Wimbledon fortnight.
“Sure, they were using them to belt lumps out of each other, but still, it’s the Wimbledon effect”, said an excited Donaghy. “The cubs are mad for the tennis in Tyrone, and once my tennis centre opens, they’ll be flocking in”.
Donaghy has already started work on a permanent venue for the centre and a search for much-needed equipment.
“Aye, we’re still sort of planning where the site’s going to be. The place I’m using at the moment is amazing with lots and lots of space and kids think it’s class, but apparently Asda say it’s ‘their’ car park. Sure, we’ll squeeze it into a corner of Garvaghey. They won’t mind. We don’t need much space because I’m going to use much smaller tennis courts. The size of existing courts has players run ragged. No wonder Andy Murray’s always got a face like a slapped arse. The poor lad’s knackered. No, we’re going to reduce the court by about three quarters. Revolutionary”.
“Thon Andy Murray’s a class act. Unbeatable. I didn’t get to see much of Wimbledon this year, but I didn’t have to to know that he’s won it again. He’s unbeatable that boy”.
Sourcing appropriate kit has so far has proved a challenge for the entrepreneur.
“I picked up all these class state-of-the-art wooden tennis racquets at a sale. The kids love playing with them. Imagine how much more they’ll like them once we put strings in them. Tennis racquet string’s supposed to be made from catgut, and we tried sourcing it locally, but Jays, it was some handlin’. The miaowing’s still ringing in my ears. I’ve still got the scratches. I’m not making that mistake again. A wee bit of blue rope will do the job just as well”.
Donaghy revealed exciting expansion plans for the future.
“Once this tennis centre’s open, I’ll do one in every county. Armagh’s first, then Fermanagh, probably in Enniskillen. I want to come up with a snappy name for it that combines ‘Enniskillen’ with ‘tennis’, but so far it’s got me stumped”.
Donaghy has also sent a fax to Cliff Richard asking him to stay away from the centre when it opens.
The Ulster Council have confirmed that for the potentially fiery Monaghan/Tyrone game they’re considering replacing St Michael’s Enniskillen Band with the infamous Coalisland Silver Band whose drummers are known for their fighting skills and general ‘taking no crap’ appearance.
The move comes after Armagh and Cavan players brawled just as the young Enniskillen band prepared to launch into The Boys of the County Armagh for the pre-match parade. A flag dispute has been identified as the reason for the punch-up but body language experts agreed that a few heavy hitters along the back line of drummers would solve any future disagreements.
Marching band fanatic Frank Hurson from Pomeroy explained:
“It is an old tactic we have used up in Pomeroy for decades. If there was a chance of things kicking off between two rivals, we’d (Pomeroy Pipe Band) have replaced our whole rear drummer line with the drummers from the Coalisland Silver Band. Rumour has it they were much sought after in Uruguay and Chile during the 1960s when their club football pre-match parades were riddled with mass brawls and maimings.”
Ardboe octogenarian Felix Quinn reminded authorities of the importance of a muscular drumming corp. Remembering the Battle of the Battery in 1971 when Moortown and Ardboe players fought for four hours after a musical difference during the parade, he warned:
“It’s vital the Ulster Council act now. In ’71 the Moortown lads objected to our flute band playing ‘Mary, The Moortown Harlet’ around the field even though it was a favourite around our parts. They charged at the drum lads at the back but we had infiltrated the musicians with our toughest reserves. Bloodbath. The Coalisland Silver Band are ideal for these Monaghan mountain men.”
Meanwhile, rumours persist that Mickey Harte will make a few fringe players camp out overnight in Clones in order to secure the outside line during the parade. He has denied meeting with Ardoyne protestors to ask for tips.
The PSNI were forced to respond yesterday to allegations that the extra police drafted in to the county for the G8 summit in Enniskillen have been so bored that they have resorted to playing children’s games and making preposterous allegations against residents.
The claims come following the arrest of Joe McElduff of Cappagh, who was lifted on Sunday evening on a charge of attempted arson whilst trying to light a barbeque in his garden in the rain. A number of what the police called ‘strange-smelling items’ were also removed from his property that subsequently turned out to be some burgers he had bought from Aldi in Dungannon. He was later released without charge.
On Monday, twenty-nine cattle were detained in a field near Benburb for four hours by over 200 officers in a controversial practice known as ‘kettling’, on the grounds that they were ‘acting suspiciously’ and ‘loitering with intent’, whilst a woman having lunch in Askin’s in Ballygawley was cautioned for ‘eating without due care and attention’ after she dribbled some mayonnaise down her chin.
Other people have claimed that a county-wide game of policeman hide and seek is underway, which is why officers are spending so much time parked on top of bridges and key access points across the county, as they try to spot colleagues who are in hiding in ditches, barns and fields.
DI Sean Robertson of the PSNI refuted the claims, saying,
“The PSNI and our mutual colleagues from across the water offer the highest standards of professionalism, a level that is demanded to protect some of the world’s leaders”.
The G8 is being policed by 4,400 PSNI officers together with some 3,600 who have been drafted in from England.
“These ridiculous claims that there’s some sort of childish game going on is a complete fabrication”,
whispered Robertson, from half-way up a tree in a field near Clogher.
Meanwhile 76-year old farmer Finbar Kerr from Plumbridge was stopped for allegedly speeding at over 80 miles per hour in a 1976 Massy Ferguson tractor and link box, whilst going from one field to another.
“80 miles an hour?” said a peeved Kerr. “That thing wouldn’t do 80 miles an hour if you pushed it off a cliff. Them police have nothing to do all day but sit. I have 3,000 litres of dirty diesel sitting out the back in a tank and they never so much much as looked at it. Call themselves policemen?”
“We’re here to do an important job”, said DI Joseph Bruce of the Yorkshire Constabulary. “There are dangerous criminals about and it’s our job to catch them. Which, if they’re as good as hiding as the PSNI, may take some time”.