A Tyrone man has admitted he queued for 12 hours outside a GAA ground in Donegal in heavy fog in February this year, unaware that the game had been cancelled earlier in the day.
Tommy McGaharan, an 81-year old Sligo native but living in Tyrone for 60 years, was finally made aware of the postponement when a late-night reveller recognised him from standing in the same spot 5 hours earlier on his way to the pub.
McGaharan explained why he came forward now, four months after the debacle:
“I just don’t want this happening to anyone else. I eventually completely thawed out just a couple of weeks ago so I’m fit to talk about the ordeal now.”
The East Tyrone resident explained how he drove 120 miles through freezing fog for the McKenna Cup fixture, setting out at 5am and averaging 25-30mph in his Morris Minor before reaching Ballybofey a few minutes before throw-in at 2pm.
“My motor doesn’t have a radio so I wasn’t aware of the postponing. I did think it odd that I was the only one queuing up outside the turnstile but sure these McKenna Cup games can attract small crowds at that time of the year.”
McGaharan now recalls receiving strange looks from passers-by as he stared intently at the turnstile for it to open:
“After a few hours I did start to have doubts but just thought maybe I’d gotten the throw-in time wrong. It wasn’t until 2am in pitch dark and at temperatures of -9 that a young fellow staggered my direction and told me to catch myself on and that the game had been rescheduled for the following Wednesday.”
The unlucky McGaharan’s weekend was further ruined when he checked in to a bed and breakfast at 3am only to sleep in and miss the breakfast completely.