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.
There was great excitement today in amongst Ulster’s Muslims after it was revealed that Edendork parish have decided to offer the Hall entirely to the Muslim community from September onwards, as long as they play bingo in it at least once a month.
Following the recent controversies in Belfast and the ill-judged remarks from pastors and politicians, the 4,000 strong Muslim community have been looking for a community centre for general cultural gatherings. The hall, which was once described as ‘a little piece of Italy in Tyrone’ by someone, will also double up as a Mosque. The chance to clean up with grants was a deciding factor in the decision.
Dungannon Muslim, Hous Bin Pharteen, was ecstatic at the news:
“This is deadly. We were hiring out a disused shed around the back of the defunct Tyrone Brick for praying and stuff but this moves us into view for the whole of the province. It’s such a beautiful building. Those who say it’s the ugliest structure in Ireland are slabbers.”
Opposition to the Mosque has come from nearby engineering firm Hurson and Sons. Company CEO Jimmy Hurson predicts issues over a work-shy workforce at his clay-making business 500 yards from the hall:
“Don’t get me wrong. I think Muslims are a great bunch of lads. However, my workers will only pretend get confused when the adhān (Muslim call to prayer) is played by that boy in the trumpet. To get one tae break a day is plentiful. I can see these boys, mostly from Coalisland and Clonoe, bringing in 10 lunches and downing tools every time the bugle is sounded.”
After it was pointed out that the call to prayer is recited, probably by loudspeaker, and not played on a musical instrument, Hurson remained doubtful:
“Anyway, with the adhān to be played 5 times a day, I fear my workers will suddenly become Muslims in order to skive off work. They’ll find a way to screw me. I know them.”
Local residents have been assured that if they send one of the Muslims to McCann’s shop for a packet of Paris Buns or a Knutty Krust, the correct change will come back as predicted by First Minister Peter Robinson.
There are also high hopes South Tyrone Hospital may reopen due to the predicted influx of doctors and surgeons into mid-Ulster.
Recent comments by First Minister Peter Robinson have opened a can of worms in the county as pubs, clubs and homes debate who they’d trust to go to the shops for them. Early figures show an extremely low percentage of trustworthiness within the county with no one in Coalisland prepared to admit they’d allow a Brackaville man or woman to go to the shops for them.
Regular mass-goer, and founder of the Christian Ethos In Coalisland group, Maire Lyons was crystal clear with her take on the issue of trust:
“As long as there’s breath in my body, I’d never allow a Brackavillonian to go to the shops for me. Put it like this, if you gave one of them money and a shopping bag and told them to get bread, milk and the papers for you, you’d never see that bag again. Or maybe you would but they’d be wearing it. Themuns are a shower of heathens up there. They’d take the eye out of your head if you stood still long enough. The bible says we’re all God’s children but they must be a different species completely.”
Such views were replicated throughout the county with only 3% of Urney folk trusting Clady locals to do the shopping for them. At the other end of the scale there appeared to be evidence of a love-in between Galbally and Donaghmore with 88% of Galballians trusting their neighbours to go to the Spar for them. Pat McGinn explained:
“Ah I love it when I ask someone from up the road to go to the shop for me for a pound of mince or a packet of sausage rolls. Them Donaghmore ones are wild generous and sometimes you’d look into the bag and they’ve thrown in about £300 worth of food and jewels and stuff. People say Donaghmore is the Kengsinton of Tyrone but I’d not have a bad word said about them. They even throw coppers at us in the pub. Wild kind.”
Meanwhile, an unexpected figure of 76% trustworthiness between Ardboe and Moortown residents was exposed as a fraud after it was revealed both areas have applied for a £30’000 grant to build a ‘Friendship Wall’ between them. Rumours suggest the money will be drank.
A recent report into the On The Runs (OTRs) in Ireland has confirmed that of the 177’000 inhabitants in Tyrone, almost 100’000 are on the run from something or somewhere. This startling revelation has thrown the Civil Service into chaos as they attempt to examine each case individually, originally thinking they were dealing with only 200 cases.
Chief civil servant Valerie McMahon listed a few of the reasons for the rather large tally of OTRs in the county:
“This is a bit of a nightmare. We asked around Galbally and Moortown for information on who was on the run and nearly every household had a couple of OTRs. In one lane in Galbally, there were 16 on the run from the TV licence man, 12 on the run from their wives, one on the run from buying a round and another dozen on the run from their drunken antics at recent weddings. And that was just the men. We met a woman from Cappagh on the run from her sister after leaving on a pair of straighteners and burning a hole in her Frankie Goes To Hollywood sweatshirt. Categorising these is going to be a logistical hell.”
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is said to be livid at the suggestion that those on the run from stealing Choc Pops from a local garage in Pomeroy is to be given the same category of offence for those on the run from sticking up Union Jacks in Carrickmore. An insider told us he pleaded for the downgrading of ice lolly thieves:
“Marty went clean mad at Peter Robinson when it was revealed that an on the run Choc Pop burglar would receive a category 4 OTR status, the same as the two fellows from Newmills who put up three Union Jacks outside the toilets in Carrickmore. He says that the deadly summer we had last year left men and women fierce hot and that the ice lolly makers were cashing in on climate change, especially in Pomeroy with it being so high up and all. He didn’t go as far as condone the theft of Choc Pops but intimated that a blind eye should be turned, especially if the OTR is over 70.”
Meanwhile, a traffic warden who nearly gave a ticket to a vehicle in Coalisland last week and went on the run after being spotted licking his pencil by locals, has been told his OTR status will be quashed if he returns to his home in Banbridge.
Former US diplomat Richard Haass has admitted defeat for the second time in a couple of days after his efforts to resolve the Ardboe Christmas Tree dispute ended in several parties tearing the heads off each other.
The argument revolved around who will turn off the lights on Ardboe’s first ever Christmas tree. Mickey Coleman, Brian McGuigan, Barry Devlin, Adrian McGuckin, Chris Lawn, Tom McGurk, Malachi Cush, Ronan McSherry, Dennis Taylor, Kevin McAleer, Mickey Harte, Pope Francis and Billy Ray Cyrus were all named as interested parties, each putting forward viable reasons for pulling the plug out.
Haass, who admitted Ardboe was a ‘wild place’ on a par with Kosovo and Sierra Leone, was able to narrow it down to four celebs after intense negotiations:
“We managed to rule out McGuckin and Lawn as we suspected they were there to sabotage the event, being enemies in some shape or form. The cost for the Pope was astronomical. Apart from the flights, the pot holes would wreck the popemobile. No insurance around here. Harte, McAleer, McSherry, Taylor, Cush and McGurk were ruled out next during the eel-skinning demonstration.”
With Coleman, McGuigan, Devlin and Billy Ray Cyrus left, tensions were beginning to reach boiling point with accusations of bribes and counter arguments over ancestry muddying the waters.
“I thought dealing with Robinson and McGuinness was tough. These guys are stubborn. It ended up in a bare-knuckle contest between all four.”
Haass left the scene an hour into the free-for-all, admitting defeat and vowing never to return to the island again.