In a bid to boost ailing attendance figures at Croke Park, GAA officials are offering spectators at this weekend’s All-Ireland quarter finals the chance to experience game-play on a different level by providing every supporter with 3D glasses as well as wireless earphones in order to hear the sledging at close quarters.
Figures released confirmed that only 4033 Tyrone fans made their way to Croke Park last weekend for the qualifier clash with Sligo, prompting head-quarter officials to think outside the box in an effort to attract the hordes of Tyronians who descended on Dublin during the last decade.
Head of Sustainability in Croke Park, Aisling Mulcahy, revealed:
“We’re acutely aware that there are around 40’000 Tyrone supporters sitting at home watching the matches on TV who could potentially be here eating corned beef sandwiches and drinking mineral for just £30. So we’ve decided to offer a viewing feast by having players wear 3D strips and spectators will be provided with appropriate glasses. So the next time Sean Cavanagh pulls down Conor McManus, you’ll get the feeling he’s dragging you to the ground. We expect fireworks.”
Mulcahy also revealed that Bluetooth and wireless technology will enable fans to hear everything that’s said on the pitch by purchasing special headsets:
“This is a game changer. If Dick Clerkin is slagging Peter Harte about being ginger or something, you’ll hear every last detail including Harte’s reply which will probably be something about the name ‘Dick’. Certain words will be bleeped out for under 16s using our digital delay contraption.”
Mulcahy stopped short of confirming the possibility of a Gladiator style decision on the referee’s performance at the end of the game with supporters asked to give either a thumbs up or down on the whistling official. The RSPCA warned that the lion might not be satisfied with the man in the middle and may go roaming into the stands.
Glasses will cost £20 and headphones retail at £15. A combo deal can be purchased for £34.99.
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.
After Sky Sports revealed their on-screen line-up for its coverage of this year’s Gaelic football and hurling championships, which features GAA legends Peter Canavan and Jamesie O’Connor, a top image consultant in London confirmed a Ballygawley man has booked in for a weekend session at the end of the month.
Dr Barry King, who has also looked after high profile Premier League footballers and Hollywood superstars, confirmed his client had ‘a fair bit to do’ in order to compete with other Sky Sports analysts such as Jamie Redknapp. Having Googled images of the newest member of the Sky Sports team, Dr King added:
“There’ll be a bit of nip here and tuck there. We will be reducing the size of his mouth and eyes, ironing out the head wrinkles, pinning back his ears and maybe encouraging some form of follicle growth over a period of time.”
Dr King has also referred the mysterious Ballygawley media man to a Speech and Drama specialist from Croydon in England who will attempt to smooth out any localisms and slang.
“We’ll start off with pronunciations of the counties in Ireland. There’ll be no more ‘Trone’ or ”Slaygo’. We want more ‘it’s a funny old game’, ‘take a bow my son’ and ‘unbelieveable, Brian’. Our Glencull client will also need to attract a bevy of women who will follow him about wherever he goes, screaming and fainting.”
Meanwhile, friends of Mr Canavan have expressed fears that early dummy runs of the show have seen a marked changed in his behaviour with the former All-Star reluctant to remove the TV make-up for the rest of the week, even when out for a few pints at Quinn’s.
“We’re monitoring the situation,”
added a worried best made who walked off shaking his head and muttering something about ‘England being the ruination of the man‘
Eyebrows were raised yesterday in the county over leaked plans for one of its councillors to visit Florida as part of a fact find on behalf of East Tyrone District Council.
Copy travel documents showed that recently-elected mid-Ulster Councillor Seamie ‘Red Boy’ McCloy, intends to spend three weeks in Florida next month at a cost of £8,500 at the taxpayer’s expense, conducting a feasibility study on importing bog and peat back to Tyrone rather than producing it locally.
Challenged on the abundance of it which already sits in the county, McCloy retorted,
“Jaysus. That’s the whole point of the visit, isn’t it? How do we know whether it’s feasible without going to see it? We need a bird’s eye view of the area to assess potential for excavation. And if the best way of doing that is from the top of a 300-foot high mega-rollercoaster, then that’s just pure coincidence. Getting bog from America might actually be cheaper than producing it locally. Or something like that”.
The colourful councillor has continually courted controversy since making the headlines in 2012 when he was found in the ladies’ cloakroom of the Council offices wearing an odd number of socks. He has since been embroiled in an embarrassing incident at a farm near Windmill which he claimed was simply him ‘being overly-friendly with a labrador’.
“It’s all nonsense”, said an angry McCloy, thumping his desk so hard that several bottles of suntan lotion fell off. “And anyway, the judge ruled not proven, so go and feck. I’ve dedicated my life to Tyrone, trying to raise it up to the standards of the nice Ulster counties like Derry, Sligo, Monaghan and suchlike. That’s why I need to go to Florida for three weeks. Or four depending on the complexities. And the weather”.
Questioned about whether the Galbally man was going on the trip to get away from the controversy around some of the decisions he has made since moving into office, McCloy was uncompromising. Wearing an enormous foam hand and jabbing the big sticky-out finger to make his point, he said,
“Listen. Do you think sat in a jumbo for 8 hours is going to be fun? The only movie they’re showing is ‘Les Miserables’, and I can’t stand the Germans. I’ve made mistakes in the past. I’ll admit it. But all I’m trying to do is modernise the county. And if ‘Naked Tuesday’ is a wee bit too much for some of thon puritans in the East Tyrone Council offices, then they should wise up. The Florida trip is pure business, nothing else. I’m certainly not looking forward to it. I’ve got a mountain of work to do. And I’ve only got three sleeps to go before I leave”.
The councillor also faced criticism earlier this year for going to New York City on 17 March to explore the possibility of the importation of Guinness to the county.