Barry McElduff plans to appeal his straight red card after a tempestuous politicians’ Greens v Blues charity game ended a draw this morning in Stormont gardens. Greens captain, Gerry Adams, was also yellow carded late on for a late tackle on Peter Weir despite denying venomously that he wasn’t even in the vicinity at the time of the alleged attack.
Windy conditions and a mudbath pitch greeted the small crowd in attendance as respective captains Adams and a fit-again Peter Robinson exchanged gifts before the kick-off, refereed by ex-politician Basil McCrea. Robinson set the tone for the game by breaking in half Adams’ present of a Clontibret shillelagh.
It was Robinson who opened the scoring for the Blues with a towering header from a Mike Nesbitt corner. The two celebrated in front of the partisan crowd by playing mock flutes whilst Jim Allister marched behind banging on an imaginary drum. Arlene Foster, who didn’t start the game, spent the entire first half trying to warm up along the touchline.
A stern half-time talk by joint-managers Martin McGuinness and Alex Maskey appeared to work wonders as the Greens stormed out of the blocks in the second half with a previously ineffectual Colum Eastwood rattling the crossbar and an offside goal ruled out, initially finished by Michelle O’Neill who was causing big problems for the Blues up front.
O’Neill was not to be denied after curling a splendid free kick inside the near post after Alex Attwood was fouled by Gregory Campbell. Campbell was booked for using inappropriate language to ref McCrea for the free. O’Neill was also yellow carded for taking her top off in celebration which proved to be a popular decision by both sets of supporters.
Despite Foster, sufficiently warmed up at this point, bolstering the Blues attack in the last ten minutes with her bulldozing approach-play, the game remained devoid of goals but not action as McElduff received his marching orders for a scything tackle on Sammy Wilson whose shorts were completely torn off in the incident, exposing his backside again to the crowd.
The final whistle was greeted by a free-for-all with Michelle Gildernew and Jo-Ann Dobson pulling the hair off each other whilst Jonathan Bell, who played as a lone striker, was booked for firing what looked like small wooden sticks at his team-mates.
Peter Robinson received the player of the match award for his long punts up the field to Dodds.
After a long day of counting and failure to declare anyone over the quota threshold in West Tyrone, bi-linguists at the counting centre in Omagh have been told to stop counting in their preferred language as it was causing confusion amongst other counters and onlookers.
Reporters at the Omagh Leisure Complex confirmed that several counters complained about an Irish language expert, Liam Ó Maoilriain, who maintains he can only count out loud. On three occasions several men in the complex all called Cathaoir shouted ‘what’ when Ó Maoilriain reached a ceathair (4), causing other counters to lose concentration and start all over again.
Additionally, Ó Maoilriain claims are no words in the Irish language for the number 1690 which caused serious confusion amongst the official compilers. Two candidates finished on 1690 votes but were given a question mark by Ó Maoilriain who headed off for a pint in Sally’s as soon as he handed his sheet in. With officials unable to find an explanation for the punctuation mark, there was another recount.
Counter Mary Johnston fumed:
“This Ó Maoilriain fellow is a handlin. He thought the whole Cathaoir thing was hilarious and I know he was louder when saying a ceathair compared to other words. He shouldn’t be counting out loud anyway. And he was drunk for the evening’s count and was just guessing how many votes there were by the size of the pile.”
Reports suggest Ó Maoilriain is counting in English today but is purposely going slower, in protest. At 10:30, after 30 minutes of counting, he was only on 6, having taken 7 toilet breaks.
Meanwhile, in an effort to raise flagging spirits, Barry McElduff has set up a spin-the-bottle corner in the complex. Already there have been complaints that McElduff has sabotaged the game as the bottle has continuously stopped at his party members Dillon and O’Neill who have been dared to kiss Barry on the cheek each time.
What started out as a harmless comment on Twitter concerning Madonna’s fall at an awards ceremony during the week has turned nasty with a clear West v East split emerging from the online spat.
Omagh teacher Pat Dougan (@horseitintoye) initiated the debate when he innocently tweeted
“Holy smokes, Madonna fell there on the TV”
at 9:45 on Wednesday night. Within minutes, tension escalated quickly when Mary Farrell (@badgerlass) from Brocagh replied at 9:46:
@horseitintoye Nice comment there, Mr Obvious
Unable to ignore the slight, Dougan retorted:
@badgerlass How about you learn some manners, ye prick
Which led to the following dialogue:
@horseitintoye – Ah, shut up ye grumpy oul bollocks
@badgerlass – You’re some girl. Typical Brocagh woman
@horseitintoye – Say it til my face ye slabber
@badgerlass – Yiz are all the same down there. Tramps.
@horseitintoye I’ll go up there and bate the bollix off a ye
@badgerlass – aye, in yer horse and cart. Don’t bring yer diseases please
@horseitintoye – aye, yer ma is yer sister, dick. Westie pansy.
@badgerlass – stupid hoor.
The high-stakes dialogue continued until after midnight with over 300 twitter users weighing in behind either Dougan or Farrell, with landmarks (e.g. Ardboe Cross v the Tin Men), footballers (e.g. Frank McGuigan v Ryan McMenamin), politicians (e.g.Michelle O’Neill v Barry McElduff) petrol prices and weather all used as weapons in the heated exchanges.
With no let up in the argument the following morning, and amidst threats of ‘arriving up with a crowd of our ones‘ from both sides, Twitter was moved to suspend over 700 accounts from the county for 24 hours in order to dampen emotions and calm the situation.
The Tyrone Tourism Board are to meet this evening to brainstorm ideas on how to repair east v west relations, with a ‘sharing and exchange of home-made gifts’ somewhere near the Ballygawley roundabout the firm favourite.
Following the welcome news that Tyrone GAA will be spearheaded by the brilliant Roisin Jordan, the first female chairperson of a county board in Ireland since its inception in 1884, Tyrone men have been finally consigned to the dung-heap after years of narrowly avoiding the label of being ‘good for nothing’.
Government statistics revealed that in the early part of 2014: 93% of teachers in the county were women as well as 79% of politicians including the high profile and successful Michelle O’Neill and Michelle Gildernew. 81% of county businesses had female CEOs or figureheads, 73% of GPs were women, 69% of dentists and 85% of farmers also female.
Long-time Tyrone man Cathal Corr admitted living in the county was ‘a bit scary’ but added it was only a matter of time before women took the reins in almost every facet of everyday life:
“Let’s be honest. They’ve been smarter for years. We could only hold them back through skulduggery for so long. Now with fair play and all that stuff we’ve been exposed for what we really are – good for feck all. I’m trying the rack my brains here looking for an example of something we’re better at and there’s nothing. Yesterday I was driving through Augher and I saw a pregnant woman with three sheep on her shoulders whipping a cow whilst talking on the phone to the Credit Union. Her husband was sitting behind her in the mud eating a turnip.”
Rumours that Jordan’s first move will be to order Mickey Harte to play 2-3 women in the full back line for Tyrone in the McKenna Cup have been dismissed as pure speculation.
Meanwhile, Omagh Technical College have asked that men need not apply for any courses next year unless they can prove they can write neatly without passing wind or can desist from scratching themselves whilst looking out the window at the same time.