A Cookstown mathematics teacher of 21 years experience has been cautioned by the Education Board after his unusual methods were reported by angry parents.
Barney McGrath, who was born in Ardboe but moved to Cookstown in 1979, defended his style, claiming he had already coached over 1000 pupils to success in O Level and GCSE Maths as well as Additional Maths.
Tyrone Tribulations managed to acquire a copy of the latest homework he set his class. It included:
If you beat the head clean off 6 Derry men and kicked the tripe out of 4 Armagh men, how many men have you hammered?
Another puzzled posed was:
You make 16 bottles of illegal alcohol but the cops arrive and confiscate them all. However, during a fake road block you set up and the ensuing bloody shoot-out involving you and the police, you manage to retrieve a quarter of your poitin. How many bottles have you now?
Parent Josie Mulligan admitted she called the Board after her son produced this latest homework:
“Our wee Eoin was having nightmares and wetting the bed. We couldn’t put our finger on what was causing it until he started calling out things like ‘the square root’ and random numbers during one of his episodes. It appears Mr McGrath was terrifying the youngsters with his horrific sums. The man’s a headcase.”
Mr McGrath (49) admitted his methods may be considered somewhat outdated in today’s society but claimed you could hear a pin drop during his lessons:
“People need to loosen up a bit. Maths is maths no matter how you dress it up. My classes are memorable. For example, today I brought in 16 of my wife’s bras and asked the lads to hold up three quarters of them. They’ll never forget that sum.”
His school, St Bruce’s Secondary, revealed he was suspended this afternoon after he set another homework which included:
During an important match between Ardboe and Moortown, 14 innocent Ardboe players received limb fractures, 4 Moortown players pretended to have broken noses and 3 of the officials were slashed by knife-wielding Moortown women. How many people went home unhappy?
Counting in the Mid-Ulster elections was halted after no one in the arena was good enough to ‘do big sums’.
Rumours of a problem with the adding began to emerge after a batch of 300 solar powered calculators were delivered to Magherafelt’s Meadowbank arena at around midday, with some counters complaining that getting over two digits was ‘deadly confusing’ with numbers between 249 and 899 particularly mind-boggling.
Chief supervisor, Packie Price explained:
“Yes, it’s a symptom of the digital age. People are used to their electronic equipment doing all the hard work. I saw a man complaining after his batch of votes saw someone reach 11 as he was using his fingers to count. The solar powered calculators helped for a while but sure when the dark clouds came they weren’t worth a frig because we only use 40 watt bulbs in here.”
Disaster was finally averted when an 83-year old ex-maths teacher was found in Moortown who still does long division and works out his multiplication with a pencil. Henry Coyle, who has never seen a calculator in his life never mind used one, is currently adding up the Clogher Valley tally much to the cheers and claps of everyone in the building:
“It’s like a football match here. Oul Henry just added up Sinn Fein man Sean McGuigan’s votes there and everyone cheered, even the DUP. People just want out of here. Henry is starting to flag a bit and keeps going to the toilet or dozing off. We have 25 HB pencils so utensils will not be an issue.”
Meanwhile, Independent Kildress councillor Lilly Friel failed to meet the quota. Her vision of ‘a new Kildress, free of illegal fuel and home-made poitin’ failed to pull in votes, polling just 1 follower who may or may not have been herself. Kildress man Kevin Friel, who voted for someone else and also happens to be Lilly’s husband, added “We’re just not ready for that stuff”.
A 2-second blast of thunder left most of East Tyrone on high alert throughout the night with police reporting 1340 calls from worried homeowners. PSNI officials also admitted they spent a couple of hours driving about looking for the noise before the Met Office in Belfast informed them that the sound was actually thunder.
The blast, which occurred around 10pm last night, was described as something close to the sound of a nuclear bomb according to Dungannon pub-owner Jamesey Sloan:
“I’ve never heard anything like it. There were boys running all over the town screaming and shouting about the war being back on and about heading to the bunkers. Women were crying and wailing, saying rosaries in the middle of the street. It was like a film.”
Meanwhile in Ardboe, thousands of residents got into their boats and rowed for Antrim on the other side of the Lough. Patsy Coney remarked:
“Ghost oh boys it was tara. We thought maybe the Sperrins were falling down or something so we all sailed East. A couple of boys swam it. The clergy were handing out Last Rites all over the joint.”
PSNI spokesman Herr Steinburger admitted there were a few red faces in the force:
“Yes, we got caught up in the whole excitement. We had 400 officers out in jeeps looking for the noise. When you add in the 200 or so vigilantes also out searching for the noise there was chaos on the roads. We thought it came from a poitin barn in Stewartstown but he said he’d made all his Christmas batches months ago.”
BBC Weather confirmed it was just one short blast of thunder and warned locals not to go clean mad again tomorrow when hailstones are predicted.
Ross Kemp, the award winning investigative journalist famous for “Ross Kemp: In Afghanistan” and “Ross Kemp: The Middle East” has admitted he faces his toughest assignment yet when he attempts to infiltrate the Galbally underworld of diesel and poitin.
Kemp made it clear that he expects a frosty reception but is determined to crack what he calls ‘the most dangerous place in Europe’ or something like that.
“Listen, I’ve done all the war torn areas on this planet but wherever I went people would always mock me and ask why I haven’t been to Galbally. Even one of the Taliban boys had a picture of the Galbally football team in his car. It’s an itch I need to scratch and it’s happening next year. Galbally, I’m coming for you.”
In a show of defiance, three Galbally boys sitting on a stone wall ‘keeping watch’ told us where they think Kemp can jump:
“If a boy from Eastenders thinks he can come over here and clean up the place, he’s going to be sorry lad heading back over the Irish Sea, probably with a bottle of strawberry poitin in his back pocket.”
“This is just David Attenborough all over again. He came over here in the 80s to study us for the BBC. He ended up in Tally’s the whole week on the pure stuff and driving around on the ‘home-brew fuel’ as we call it. The program was never made. It’ll be the same with this Grant Mitchell boy- we’ll have him slamming down the craytur and shouting ‘yahooooo’ at Cappagh wemen by midweek. I hope he brings his ma Peggy for the craic.”
Meanwhile Cappagh brothers Brian and Mark Hurl have released their song aiming for an Ireland Christmas No.1 called ‘These Are A Few Of My Hatefulist Things’, made famous by Julie Andrews but with a Cappagh slant. As a teaser, they have released their opening lines:
Checkpoints on corners with long diesel dippers
Cleaning the clubhouse and using paint strippers
Wemen on tables when Gareth Brooks sings
These are a few of my hatefulist things
Paddy Power is offering 1000-1.
Locals were left in confusion on Saturday afternoon at the Cappagh Summer Show after the gurning competition was accidentally won by a woman who had intended to the enter the ‘Miss Cappagh 2013’ contest.
It is thought that the judging process became confused after several of the judges had participated in the ‘Poitin Supplier of the Year’ competition, a hotly-contested category featuring different substances made variously of potatoes, barley, and water.
Clearly worse-for-wear head judge, local car-wash team leader Thomas McIlhenny, said,
“Ah sure, we had had a whole clatter of pints before the day started and the craytur on top. It was all a bit bewildering to be honest. This big lassie came up onto the stage, carrying plenty of timber. It did seem a bit odd her going in for the gurning wearing a swimsuit and talking about how she wanted nothing more than world peace and the new Nathan Carter album, but then I thought nothing of it. To be honest I had trouble seeing straight by that time. Then she started pulling all them grotesque faces like she was havin’ a fit. It was enough to bring the poitin back up. I thought she was a class act, mad for the gurning like. By the time we realised the mistake, it was too late. And we didn’t want to make a fuss. You know what Cappagh’s like. We’ve always been a really tolerant bunch”.
Fortunately, there will be no appeal:
“I was initially confused then surprised then shocked then a bit confused again”, said 26 year old winner Sinead Boyle from through a horse’s collar. “I’m happy now though. The prize for the gurning was a 10-second trolley dash down the biscuit aisle of Costcutter’s in Galbally, so I’m really pleased. I wasn’t really sure about entering the beauty competition anyway after I got my two front teeth kicked out by a heifer last year, but my ma persuaded me to go in for it”.
“She did great so she did”, said delighted mother Mary, a part-time cushion fluffer from Corlea Road. “Wee Sinead’s got a lazy eye and I think she must’ve went up onto the wrong stage. Still, she did us proud. We’ve enough Gypsy Creams to last us a year”.
In what is believed to be a further blunder by the judges, the beauty contest was eventually won by a 1982 light-blue Massey Ferguson MF82 tractor.
Killyclogher plasterer, Leo McCracken, was today said to be reeling from the revelation that his wife of eight years has actually been a customs officer gathering information on his illegal distillery around the back of their house. ‘Deirdre McCracken’ (real name Constable Geraldine Gilbride) came clean over dinner this evening after feeling she’d collated enough evidence to send her ‘husband’ down for at least three years. Leo was inconsolable:
“Holy mother and the donkey. I’d dumbfounded. I’m trying to recall some clues but nothing comes to mind. She even stirred the brew and took part in lethal sessions we had in the shed whilst tasting the stuff. I can even remember her gulping down the plum poitin on a Saturday recently whilst doing some kind of mad Irish dancing on a milk crate. We courted for three years and are married eight. That’s an eleven-year undercover operation. We have four children for buck sake. She’s some operator, I’ll give her that.”
The HM and Revenue spokesman tonight admitted that in 2000 they decided to for once and for all bust the lucrative Killyclogher illegal alcohol business by making a female officer woo and court a suspect. Chief Superintendent McCrystal told us:
“Fair play to Constable Gilbride. An eight year marriage and bearing four children shows dedication to the job. She decided to come clean after Leo suggested dressing up as Wombles to spice things up a bit in the marriage. That’s the end of Leo and his 450 gallon a year production. To be fair to him too, it was great stuff and part of me will miss it.”
Leo maintains he has learned his lesson and hopes ‘Deirdre’ will visit him and the kids the odd time:
“Ah we had some great times. When I think about it now though, I should’ve noticed she was a cop. She would say ‘hello, hello, hello’ first thing in the morning and would leave notes for me under the wiper on the windscreen of my car. She also drove a Land Rover with flashing lights”
Beragh ex-English Literature teacher (66) seeks a wholesome woman with good teeth, soft lips, sweet breath, with eyes no matter what colour so they are but expressive; of a healthy complexion, rather inclin’d to fair than brown; neat in her person, her bosom full, plump, firm and white; a good understanding, without being a wit, but cheerful and lively in conversation, polite and delicate of speech, her temper humane and tender, and to look as if she could feel delight where she wishes to give it. No Clogher women need apply.
Ardboe man (54), unemployed clown, seeks woman with no bodily deformity.
Fintona gardener (55), ploughing the loneliest of furrows, twelve personal ads and counting. Only one reply. It was my mother telling me not to forget the bread on my way home from the library. Seeks anyone.
Strabane woman (44), pessimistic, practical and forward thinking, would like you to list your top 10 treasured possessions – just want to know if there’s anything worth keeping when we finally break up.
Brocagh lad (23) seeks a woman who is a man. Sorry mummy.
Compulsive-eating Galbally woman, 52, would like to meet a man of up to 25 for whom the phrase ‘beauty is only skin-deep’ is both a lifestyle choice and a religious ethos.
Kildress window-cleaner, 50, in desperate need of a ride, anything considered.
Plumbridge Lady, 49, seeks companion to ramble around Gortin Glen with. I cannot guarantee you’ll fall in love with me, but I can promise you the best home-brewed brandy ball poitin you’ll have ever tasted.
Moortown carpet fitter, 39, will entertain anyone from totally blind to completely incapacitated. Will treat you to the finest collection of dried stuffed eels this side of the lough. Weekend taxidermist.
Derrytresk plumber, 61, seeks woman with boat. Please send photo of boat.
A successful raid on most homes in Loughmacrory late last night has proven fruitless despite the discovery of 48 poitin-making distilleries within a two-mile radius. This morning, the judge accepted the unanimous defence plea that they didn’t know what they were doing was illegal. The midnight swoop caught most of the townland on the hop with the PSNI quoting up to 6000 litres of the homemade alcohol retrieved. They had been tipped off by the loose talk around Omagh regarding a permanent state of happy drunkiness in Loughmacrory as well as a persistent alcoholic haze in the general area.
“I’d just finished brewing my 6th bottle of the night and was about to shut up shop when the peelers burst in,” a local cat castrator told us. “I thought they were here for the poaching but they just starting lifting the drop of the hard stuff. I told them it was £7 a bottle and the main man told me not to be cheeky. How were we to know it was illegal? I’d never saw no adverts on it and it isn’t in the ten commandments.”
At the trial this morning it soon emerged that no one in Loughmacrory thought it was outside the law. One mother told the judge that she’d often send her children to school with a pinch of poitin in their flasks “cos it was cheaper than diluted juice”. The jury took no time to decide that the locals should be given a by-ball as long as they all undertake a course in what’s lawful in today’s society.
Judge McGrath concluded:
“It is abundantly clear now that Loughmacrory has been overlooked when it comes to the rules and regulations of law abiding citizenship. Further investigations have shown up no pre-conception of car insurance, road tax, land laws, tv or dog licensing, VAT and every other government tax going. It really is the back-end of beyond, time-locked in a period perhaps before Christ himself. All families will undertake a 12-week induction into normal day-to-day life in the 21st century.”
He added that their skills were above average as he had sampled the poitin himself and that it “wasn’t bad at all for seven quid“.