After denials from Sky TV and Mickey Harte from having any influence over the narrowing of Healy Park for the clash between Dublin and Tyrone on Saturday night, the spotlight has now been shone on ‘wee fairies from the Plumbridge direction’ as well as the referee David Coldrick.
Omagh groundsman Patrick Hanlan revealed he received a visitor to his door on Friday night around midnight but couldn’t make it out because of the darkness as well as the visitor wearing a cloak:
“All the person said was ‘Ye may narrow that pitch’. I thought it was a sort of a threat but hadn’t a clue who it was. It could have been Harte, a Sky rep or even the referee Coldrick but the more I think about it, they had a Plumbridge accent and looked very small under the cloak. It may have been a fairy from the Plum or Cranagh direction.”
Referee David Coldrick has also come under suspicion as it has been explained that a narrower pitch leaves it easier to keep up with the play, though he may have underestimated the distance he’d need to take it in by.
Meanwhile, rumours emanating from Ballybofey suggest that Donegal officials have set about narrowing the Tyrone changing rooms, making it awkward for players to get changed with dignity.
The PSNI have warned people in East Tyrone to be wary of a man with a strong South Armagh accent going from door-to-door selling bits of the sky above their houses.
The fraudster, who calls himself ‘Francie’, claims to work for ‘The Sky’ and attempts to sell 16-square feet of sky for £322 in a one-off cash payment. Police have worked out that he targets houses with no satellite dishes in the hope that the residents don’t know much about how Sky TV works.
One woman from Newmills, Dervla Adkins (44), admitted she took on the deal despite having grave reservations about how it all worked:
“Francie from The Sky was very convincing. He said the new Tory government were going to privatise any bits of sky not already bought and that they’d be using it for testing missiles and stuff. I certainly didn’t want that over my roof so I bought it and he gave me a certificate explaining the area of the sky I owned. He said my TV reception would be deadly now too because birds and things would not be allowed to fly through a purchased bit of sky.”
Adkins revealed her suspicions to the police after she spotted a whole flock of blackbirds sitting on her chimney the next day in her recently purchased sky bit, without a care in the world.
The PSNI have received 32 calls from house-owners in the greater Coalisland area who also fell for the sky deal. They were also called to a violent argument in Brackaville over who owned what bit of sky for kite flying and for smoke blowing from chimneys into other bits of sky owned by others.
Despite total media saturation in the preceding weeks, reports confirmed that all of Tyrone refused to recognise the celestial phenomenon of the solar eclipse, with 100% of its inhabitants going about their daily business without looking up or even talking about it.
Journalists from BBC, Sky and UTV were said to be disappointed after being despatched to various vantage points in the county only to be chased for ‘meddlin in things that no good will come from’ and with ‘there’s no money in that dung’ ringing in their ears.
Despite worries earlier in the week of possible pagan stirrings, the county proved to be a eclipse-free zone with schools and businesses issuing sanctions against anyone wishing to view the astronomical freak show.
Gareth Kenny, a 9-year old primary school pupil from St Ronan’s in Omagh, was clear as to why his school didn’t participate in the excitement:
“Sure it’s a pile of shite”
Dungannon, whose hill is a prime spot for viewing skyward events, was populated at full eclipse by three women and three dogs, who of whom were mating. When questioned on the lack of recognition of the sun/moon dance, one of the women explained:
“Sure it’s a pile of shite.”
At 9:31 am the clouds parted to show a full view of the 94% eclipse, despite predictions of a clouded non-event. A Sky News 24 reporter in The Moy described how the whole event passed off without recognition:
“This glorious occasion, with lighting considerably dulled and birds retreating in silence as well as a noticeable drop in temperature, went unnoticed in the sleepy hamlet of Moy. I heard one man, who was spitting furiously into a drain, exclaim ‘it’s dark, boys’ before giving a passer-by the 2 fingers.”
Meanwhile, Owen Mulligan confirmed his ‘full moon’ backside baring competition in Mulligan’s Bar on the same day was a raging success.