A letter, which was left in a photocopier in an office in Croke Park, has been circulated to various media outlets confirming that the GAA have offered the referee who gives the most red cards in 2022 a free weekend in Bundoran with unlimited playing chips at the slot machines.
At the start of the season, it has been mooted that authorities were worried that referees were neglecting sending off players in favour of black and red cards in recent years but were also reticent about directly ordering refs to red card all offences that look a bit rough.
The carrot of a free weekend in Bundoran at the height of the summer has already reaped early results with players seeing the line on a regular basis, including for ‘looking aggressively’ at officials, opposition players, and teammates. Recently, a high-profile manager was sent off for drinking a water bottle in a manner that could be interpreted as menacing.
David Gough, despite being a front-runner for the prize, could have sown up the holiday by justifiably sending off 18 players on Sunday in Armagh, according to a fellow referee who wished to remain anonymous:
“I couldn’t believe Gough chickened out. Had that been me, at least 12 Tyrone players and half a dozen Armagh ones would have been getting the early shower. He’ll never get a better chance.”
After being cheered to the rafters and celebrated all week by all within the county, Tyrone’s All-Ireland winners are preparing for the inevitable ‘slapping and slabbering sessions’ on the field as they return to the club championship in places such as Urney, Brackaville, Clonoe, Aghaloo and Tattyreagh.
In a tradition that stretches back over 100 years, county players who were feted in recent days will become targets for off-the-ball digs and deadly slagging by the same people who were back-slapping and buying them drink since their All-Ireland win.
Tyrone’s club championships in 03, 05 and 08 saw the most red cards, with most of the Moy’s games abandoned as the Cavanaghs, Jordan and Mellon fought off entire opposition squads and even some of their own.
Scientists have labelled the condition as ‘SSTS’ (slapping and slabbering trolling sessions) and maintain there is no vaccine for the illness.
An anonymous Tyrone player from 2003/05/08 from Cookstown added:
“I hated playing at the loughshore after an All-Ireland. They’d be saying stuff like ‘shove yer medal up your hole ye blonde hoor’ and grappling at your testicles and stuff like that, and then asking for your autograph afterwards.”
Logan and Dooher have yet to comment on the disease but it is thought Dooher believes it’ll harden them.
A rumour that Tyrone might let Mayo win if instructed by Dooher has been ridiculed as another Tyrone dark art ruse by those closest to the Mayo team who study DVDs and moving images.
The leaked training video which shows a bearded Dooher telling his troops to ‘give this one to Mayo sure‘ did appear to possess some special effects as Dooher hasn’t had a beard in years and Ricey McMenamin seems to be one of the obscured players in the semi circle.
A top Mayo videologist maintains that the video is fake and is an attempt by the ‘Class of 2005’ to indulge one last time in the Dark Arts and mess with Mayo heads.
“It might work on Kerry, but not us. The cuteness of hoorism isn’t just up north. The west’s hoors are as cute, if not cuter. There’s no way that video is real. Sure Mugsy is in it too holding a dog and mooning at the camera man. It won’t work!”
Rumours that Mayo have already constructed a Sam Coming Home stage in Castlebar has also been ridiculed. It has since been claimed that a building firm from Strabane erected it during a lunch break last week to wind the local media up. It has still to be taken down.
Following the deferment of the deferred Tyrone/Cavan game last Sunday due to an enthralling men’s doubles game at Wimbledon, there are fears within the county that this weekend’s game may be deferred if Songs of Praise overruns due to people singing slowly or maybe banging out more songs than they normally would.
Last week, many in both Tyrone and Cavan only found out who won at midnight when the programme ended, with some viewers falling asleep and only finding out on the radio the next morning.
One viewer warned:
“I’ll be watching Songs of Praise closely. If I see them singing The Lord Is My Shepherd at half the pace I’ll be emailing Points of View in live time. They’re only singing slowly because they hate the GAA. Or Tyrone. How Great Thou Art is seven verses long. No way should that be sung.”
Meanwhile, several viewers have since taken up doubles tennis after last week’s delayed scheduling. Two couples were caught playing tennis at Augher GAA pitch during the week, but were soon chased to Filemiletown.
Sources from within the Dublin camp have confirmed that the half time brawl between themselves and Tyrone was down to Tyrone turning off the immersion heater during the first half, leaving cold Dublin players without their half time shower.
The immersion switch, which is located at the end of the tunnel, was turned on by the Dublin management just before throw-in, in preparation for their half time warming session which is the norm at Croke Park.
It emerged that the switch was mischievously turned off by a Tyrone backroom member during an important play on the field. Dublin masseuse Brenda Pollan explained:
“Big Fenton went mad. He loves his warm showers and as soon as he saw the light was off he started swinging. I’ve never seen him so animated. They even wash their balls and all. Think the Tyrone boys didn’t know what the fight was about but threw digs anyway. Dark arts are still alive in Tyrone.”
Tyrone GAA have yet to respond but are known to be very careful about the immersion being on and prefer players to defrost by jumping up and down doing star jumps, as well as the heads, shoulder, knees and toes children’s dance.
Brandon Lewis’ appointment today, who replaced Julian Smith as the NI Secretary of State, has caused much consternation in Tyrone as he clearly has a distinct Derry head on him.
In recent years, there has been a feeling in the county that Derry have been given money more readily towards infrastructure and schools and this will only increase suspicions of bias especially as the new man has a Derry head on him.
Margaret Dinny, a politics teacher from Omagh, confirmed our worst fears:
“He definitely has an oul thick Derry head on him. Those puffed red cheeks and attempt at a spiked haircut despite his advancing years is a classic south Derry look. And he’s always smirking. Bet the wee balax has a notion of his cousins too. We could be in for a tough time again in Tyrone. “
There has already been confirmation that one of Lewis’ first visits will be to Ballinderry to confirm that most of it is actually in Derry which is geographically incorrect.
There are also rumours that he may move the foot of the Sperrins out of Tyrone completely by doing some serious fracking around Greencastle in order to move the mountain range by force.
News leaked from the Ulster GAA offices are suggesting that if Tyrone achieve a highly unlikely victory over Derry in Omagh in the preliminary round of the Ulster Football Championship, their quarter final tie against Antrim will be played at Windsor Park in Belfast, home of Linfield and the Northern Ireland soccer team.
Due to the long grass in Casement Park, Antrim have been frantically searching for an alternative venue for their home fixture and were reportedly considering playing the game around the back of the Andersonstown Leisure Centre on a concrete surface.
Heroically, Linfield FC have stepped in to save the day and have offered to let out their pitch for three hours at 6pm on Saturday 25th May for £300 an hour as long as the anthem is played by a flute band and that any national flags are restricted to the Ivory Coast or Italian ones.
Cross-community guru Alastair Jacobs admitted that this may be the greatest single world event in recent times, rivalled only by the fall of the Berlin Wall or the Mandela presidency.
“For Linfield and the IFA to open up their hallowed ground to the gaels of Tyrone and Antrim is an emotional gesture. GAA fans will get to taste really good burgers and stuff.”
Unfortunately, the Ulster GAA Council have been asked to provide their own goalposts. Unable to do so, Ulster officials have asked players and umpires to use their imagination.
Tyrone have decided to up the ante this weekend in an attempt to gather their first points in the National League by pretending that Sunday’s game in Healy Park is actually the All Ireland final.
Charging away spectators 90 Euros, the Tyrone County Board are confident that their plans will spook Mayo into losing what we believe will be their 23rd All Ireland Final defeat in a row. In an effort to make the event even more realistic, the board have developed a new ‘Dick Clerkin End’ of the ground where under 8s will be rounded up into and made to sit down and shut up.
Explaining their decision, a county spokesman said that no expense will be spared to recreate All Ireland Final day and put the shivers up Mayo:
“We all know Mayo have lost their last 39 All Ireland Finals. If we can get the 80’000 into Healy Park, the Artane Band and some boy to jump out of a helicopter with the ball before the game, we’ll be well on our way to those two points. Making sure half the crowd are well inebriated shouldn’t be a problem either.”
The Tyrone Board have admitted that fooling Michael D Higgins into attending will take a bit of work because of a bad experience Higgins had with a girl from Omagh in 1958.
Doctor McKenna, who happily gave his name to the cup Tyrone adore so much, is an often rumoured about and mistaken figure. One legend has it that he wasn’t a real doctor at all, like Ian Paisley senior. This legend is probably correct. Today, for the first time, we reveal the man behind the silverware…
Doctor McKenna is often mistaken as being “the man who founded the IRA along with Saint Patrick in 1868”. That was the other Doctor McKenna and Saint Bridget.
This Doctor McKenna, our Doctor McKenna, actually hailed from a land across the sea. He was born into the Rappahoe people of Nevada in 1847, and in 1849 the then 10-year-old father of none, who felt he was destined for more than “just hills and buffalo”, set off for Boston and a began an apprenticeship as a silversmith.
Soon after, Mendeleev published his perodic table of the elements and the young McKenna, realising he had an allergy for all things Ag, set sail for the port of Clonmel in County Tipperary. He first set foot in Ireland in 1844 aged just 19.
Significantly for the people of Hibernia, he brought with him a clay glass with a handle on it, which he called his “wee cup”. This is credited as the introduction of the word “wee” in Ireland.
He immediately fell in love with the ignorant and foolish Irish people he met, and liked to tap his right foot to reels (never jigs) with his cup full of whiskey of an evening.
A Tyrone woman, Kitty Harte, who travelled to Clonmel in hunt of a baby, was smitten by McKenna and remained smited but not bited.
Not much is known about Kitty other than she returned to Tyrone and went mad talking about and longing for a cup and a Doctor McKenna the remainder of her days. The Tyrone natives of the time saw what the talk of the cup did to the woman. Over a million of them attended her funeral, swearing to hunt down Doctor McKenna and his cup, and drag both kicking and screaming by hook or by crook back to the O Neill County, not least for child support for all the wee McKennas.
And so it remains. Every January since, the people of Tyrone scour the land in their droves remembering the hurt and the loss caused to one of their own all those years ago.
The accuracy of the record above hasn’t been certified by the National Gallery of Ireland or Wikipedia.
The second part of our investigation leads us to numbers 10-15 plus the stiffs.
10. Brian Dooher
Our captain retired a couple of years later after operations to replace both legs, arms and lungs. Dooher soon worked his way up the veterinary scene and made the front page of TIME magazine in 2013 after he became the first person to clone a cow. Unfortunately the cloned animal soon got out of control in West Tyrone, wrecking property and killing over 200 cows elsewhere. Brian is currently on the run from authorities as well as over 30 irked farmers.
11. Martin Penrose
Penrose continued to play minor football right into his mid-30s before an application form for a passport revealed his real age. Penrose went on to star in many sci-fi films including Star Trek and Game of Thrones before returning to Carrickmore to open a gluten-free vegetable shop in the village.
12. Joe McMahon
Joe’s performance in the final of 2008 garnered rave reviews as did the magnificent state of his beard. McMahon’s beard soon became big in demand on TV chat shows and advertising. Despite a £3m offer from Gillette, Joe refused to allow his beard to become the face of the international brand, leading to acrimony between the Omagh man and his facial hair. McMahon won the fight by shaving the beard off against its will but lost the war as women stopped flocking around him in their droves.
13. Tommy McGuigan
Despite a wonderful 2008, Tommy headed back to Ardboe after the game and decided to become a hermit, shunning the celebrations. 10 years of solitude later, McGuigan can sometimes be seen roving the lough shore with a guitar singing songs of lost love and reading poems into himself.
14. Sean Cavanagh
Only recently retired from the county scene, novelist Sean Cavanagh continues to play for his club and enjoys the hurly-burly of the local championship.
15. Colm McCullagh
Despite having to go off early in the final, McCullagh earned his stripes that year after several sterling performances. McCullagh unfortunately became addicted to the Rocky movies post-retirement and in particular Rocky 4. Changing his name to Ivan Drago, Colm can be seen in bare-knuckle fights in fields around Dromore
Stephen O’Neill: O’Neill was last spotted in Croke Park a few weeks ago shaking his head
Kevin Hughes: Hub scored the penultimate point that day and went on to write several books on the score. Hughes almost picked up an All-Ireland for Derrytresk a few years later, playing as a ringer under the false name Ronie O’Neill.
Brian McGuigan: Brian came on late that day after a bad bout of diarrhea from a feed of eels for breakfast that morning which left him weak. McGuigan, ironically, now runs an eel-skin clothing shop in Moortown.
Owen Mulligan: Another late sub, Mulligan moved to London soon after to forge a career as a Tory politician only to be kicked out of the party due to an incident involving suspenders and a then-unknown Teresa May
Colm Cavanagh: Colm continues to ply his trade for the county despite carrying half a team on his shoulders.
10 years ago to the day, Brian Dooher staggered up the steps in Croke Park to lift his second Sam Maguire as captain and Tyrone’s third in all.
Today and tomorrow we ask….Where Are They Now?
- Pascal McConnell
McConnell found life hard away from the lights and razzamatazz of inter-county football. After three years of touring Europe in a camper van, McConnell finally found happiness after enrolling with American wrestling organisation WWE, becoming the Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion as ‘Newtownstewart Nuke Man‘ with his signature poke-in-the-eye move on a beaten Undertaker in Miami in 2014 securing the title.
2. Ryan McMenamin
Ricey turned to God soon after retiring, preaching around the States at the same time as McConnell was decking superstars on the canvas. Ryan finally joined an extreme monastery in Kentucky and after shaving his body hair, took a vow of silence for 3 years. McMenamin returned home in 2017 to become spiritual advisor to the Fermanagh senior team and prays 21 hours a day.
3. Justin McMahon
The Omagh man filled the void of football by becoming a catwalk model for Wrangler Jeans in Soho’s famous Fashion Mile. Justin came into a spot of bother after a bust up with another male model from Essex and is currently doing community service around London teaching school kids how to psychologically crush component in high stakes games.
4. Ryan Mellon
The Moy man, who often glory-hunted in All Ireland Finals, opened a pig-renting shop in Benburb in 2011 for those wanting the animal as a fashion accessory. Getting the idea from a Japanese programme he saw on Sky channel 177, Mellon bought 400 pigs. After renting out only 3 in the first year, Ryan finally opened a butchers.
5. Davy Harte
Harte continued to play football until recently when he scored an own-point after a 55m run through his own defence, leaving supporters worried. The Nephew now advises cat-owners on feline etiquette and behaviour, having kept over 2000 cats in his cat orphanage off the Omagh Road.
6. Conor Gormley
In 2013, a frustrated Gormley started up ‘Pub Bouncers Ltd’, supplying self-trained bouncers to the most notorious pubs in the county. After a successful three years, Conor moved underground and now terrorises street gangs in the Carrickmore and Galbally area on his own, often using his infamous staring technique.
7. Philip Jordan
Jordan now resides in an old people’s home after undergoing his 29th hip operation in under 3 years. Philip, god help him, spends his days telling eye-rolling nurses about his heroic feats on the field and in the RTE studios but has recurring nightmares about being attacked by an angry group of orange-vested men from Lurgan.
8. Collie Holmes
Holmes retired soon after, becoming a private detective in the greater-Armagh area with his trusty sidekick Johnny Watson from Blackwatertown. Despite not solving any crimes, Holmes continues to pursue his latest mission, finding out why Armagh only won the one All Ireland.
9. Enda McGinley
The silver-tongued McGinley never really recovered from his concussion in 2003 and sporadically slips into thinking he’s Graham Norton by appearing on TV and radio three times a week. Enda, who played the remainder of the ’03 final thinking he was an extra in Knight Rider, claims he’s presenting the Eurovision in 2019.
PART 2 TOMORROW
Jim Gavin was allegedly witnessed ‘running around the corner’ after GAA officials foiled an attempt by the Dublin management to get the Croke Park field widened out onto Jones’ Road in an apparent ruse to outfox Tyrone.
After Tyrone reportedly shortened the field in the last game between the two in Omagh last month, Gavin and Jason Sherlock were witnessed directing and shouting at a groundsman to paint a line right up the middle of Jones’ Road, almost on the doorstep of The Croke Park Hotel, shortly after midnight last night whilst wearing blue mining hats with strong torches on them.
The ambitious tactic, which would have also meant the moving of the Hogan stand back 200 yards using strong diggers, would have resulted in the width of the Croke Park pitch being almost trebled, allowing players such as Kilkenny and Fenton to stretch Tyrone like no team has ever been able to manage before.
A Dublin GAA spokesman denied the ploy was thwarted by a GAA official:
“That’s hypothetical nonsense. Gavin and Sherlock were just making sure the groundsman could paint in the straight line whilst tired, such is their dedication to every detail. The diggers were also just there by pure accident.”
Tyrone and Dublin officials will attend this week’s visit to Croke Park by the Pope, in plain clothes, to make sure no other skulduggery occurs to the ground under the nose of the Pontiff.
A fringe Dublin player has apparently been axed from the panel after he was seen dancing wildly to an 80s song in a well-known drinking establishment, wearing an official “4-in-a-row, even more dough” t-shirt soon after Dublin’s final opponents were revealed.
The player, who admitted he got dressed too excitedly after the Monaghan/Tyrone semi-final in order to get to the niteclub before anyone else, has also been told to hand back his car and personalised dinner plates within seven days.
Clubber and Dublin player groupie Martha McCrystal revealed she was a bit surprised to see the t-shirt out so early:
I was bopping away and then spotted the player dancing clean mad to a Michael Jackson remix song and him wearing the 4-in-a-row garb. He even was kicking mock points and goals during his dance routine and shouting something about ‘strive for five’ whilst winking, suggesting he’s thinking about next year already, the craytur.
Dublin GAA have refused to comment on the incident although one member told us off the record that there is an embargo on the t-shirts until the final whistle on September 2nd which must be strictly adhered to.
Meanwhile a hypnotist, who was brought into the Tyrone training session yesterday in order to convince them that Dublin were not that great, was seen leaving the complex five minutes after arriving. Sources revealed he mistakenly convinced Gavin Devlin into thinking he was the actual manager, resulting in Devlin phoning club-mate Kyle Coney and making him captain for the final.
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.
In order to gain any advantage over Roscommon, Tyrone have upped the ante by kitting out Gavin Devlin in a ‘Navy Slim Fit Wool Waistcoat’ from M&S with matching hanky and pocket watch so he can stylishly keep the time on Saturday on the sideline.
Although funded by an anonymous source, the £399 gear has come in for criticism from all over the county, including in his native Ardboe. Plumber and part-time magician Kieran Forbes admitted:
“No one from Ardboe has ever worn a waistcoat since the dawn of humanity and why Horse is starting now I don’t know. Well, I do know but he won’t admit it.”
Devlin has denied any suggestions that he is borrowing his idea for match-day attire from the current England manager Gareth Southgate:
“No, not at all. My motto is look good, manage good. I made that up yesterday and I’ve stuck to it ever since. “
Devlin will complete his dress-wear with a pair of Simon Suede Horsebit Buckle Loafers which were reduced from £180 to £145 in Dungannon, with no socks.
The GAA have decided to go on the front foot following the backlash to the arrest of a Tyrone supporter for flying a Palestinian flag in Navan at the weekend by banning the flying of Tyrone flags for their upcoming game against Carlow.
When pushed on the reasons for the new sanction, Croke Park officials cited two new rulings they thought up overnight in an underground bunker in Dublin:
Firstly, too many of the Tyrone flags have the Irish language on them. How are we going to get Arlene Foster to attend the Ulster Final when she has to look at Tyrone flags on the TV spelt out in their mother tongue? Secondly, we find the red hand offensive.
Guards in Carlow have been instructed to deploy water cannons and plastic bullets if necessary on anyone seen flying a Tyrone flag and to arrest anyone displaying the Tyrone hat, scarf or headband. They have also sounded a warning to Tyrone players not to be getting too excited when scoring and kissing the badge or something.
Meanwhile, Gardai have admitted they didn’t arrest other Palestine flag holders in Navan because they initially believed they were actually Carlow flags, and not because they eventually caught themselves on.
Tyrone county officials have admitted to being stretched this week after scrambling to prepare the Healy Park away dressing room to meet the demands of multiple All-Ireland champions and multi-millionaires Dublin.
The Boys in Blue, who thrashed Tyrone last August in between holidays to Dubai and Kinsale, arrive by private jet in Omagh on Saturday night for the second round of fixtures in the National League.
A leaked A4 sheet of paper revealed the extent of the Dublin management’s expectations when visiting county grounds:
– Heated benches
– Unlimited supply of unfiltered Dublin water
– personalised hangers with each player’s initials on them
– newspapers from across the world including the Financial Times
– soothing classical music and strictly no country music
– No member of the public within a 400 year radius
– Framed picture of Bertie Ahern
– 73 degree fahrenheit exactly
– a ping-pong table
– a large urn containing noodles and jellied eel
– two smartly dressed hostesses from Omagh
– a temporary runway for landing and taking off
A Tyrone GAA sources added:
“We’ve been able to meet most of the demands but a few towards the end are proving problematic. We need to get this right or Dublin could throw us out of the Association altogether.”
If all else fails, the Gortin Road will be cordoned off as a temporary landing strip for the Jackeen players.
County On High Alert As Four Pomeroy Men Named In Starting 15, Fulfilling Revelations 13:11 Prophecy
Religious leaders have appealed for calm after it emerged that four Pomeroy players have been named in the Tyrone senior starting team to play Antrim in the McKenna Cup in Armagh tonight.
Although manager Mickey Harte has been known to make last minute changes, he is coming under acute pressure to bench at least one of them by doomsday merchants within the county.
Panic was widespread last night when Pastor Evan McGenical from Greencastle announced that in the Book of Relevations there is a reference to the ‘four horned men from the mountain that’s just a hill’ and how they would ‘come forth and massacre the men from the city’, a prelude to the Second Coming himself.
Pastor Genical added:
“I know Mickey isn’t one for the Revelations but he surely sees the warning signs. I know nothing about GAA and gaelic football but even I think it’s unusual to have even one Pomeroy man on the squad, never mind four of them starting. This could be the end for Tyrone in general.”
Sources have confirmed that Armagh ground staff are considering heightening the Red Hand fear by playing the music to The Omen when Tyrone make their way onto the field tonight.
Experts are currently tabling possible reasons as to why painters from Tyrone are the worst at cutting-in in the northern hemisphere, according to a survey conducted by the World Painters’ and Decorators’ Association.
To make matters worse, it appears that their near neighbours and fierce rivals, Derry painters, are the world’s best cutting-in merchants according to their findings.
Professor Donald Plum from Massachusetts claims to have found a list of three possible reasons after a detailed study within the county last week.
“On my travels around the county, I established that over 70% of painters were shaking. I’m not quite sure what the official diagnosis is but to my knowledge it usually indicates one of three things: they’re either hungover, worried about something or just plain gulpins. The last prognosis there doesn’t make sense as the Derry ones are worse gulpins.”
Off-licence sales in Derry match or better Tyrone’s, leaving the possible solution that Tyrone painters are worried about something as the most likely scenario.
“What they’re actually worried about we need to find out. But they’re making a pure hames of walls and ceilings all over the county. This morning, a painter from Brocagh just had to paint a child’s bedroom wall but left the ceiling looking like the Sistine Chapel, it was that bad. And he was shaking like mad.”
Possible reasons for the shaking include Jobseekers’ Allowance officials lurking about, the after-effects of the heavy Dublin defeat in August and leaving their wives at home.
Meanwhile Derry milkmen also came out top of the class for job satisfaction, especially those working in Tyrone. There may be a link between both findings today.
In the lead up to the mouth-watering All Ireland semi-final against Dublin, we look back at the 2008 All-Ireland semi-final side and find out how they have fared since that successful campaign:
The Newtownstewart giant, whose save in the All-Ireland final that year is a thing of legend, found time away from the limelight hard to embrace, initially. Family and friends looked on in sympathy as Pascal would stand in the garden at any time of the day or night, shouting at people to fire something at him so he could catch it or parry it away; glass bottles, squeaky dog toys, old tins of lynx Africa – you name it. Eventually, he managed to dust himself down, gave one glove to Niall Morgan and one to Red Mickey and move on with his life. Packie now runs a memorabilia shop which has Gooch Cooper’s eyeball as its main attraction.
RYAN ‘RICEY’ MCMENAMIN
His greatest on field moment came when allegedly he had Alan Brogan’s girlfriend’s phone number written on his wrist and stared Brogan out while he checked the digits…this may not be true but it’s a great story. The tigerish Dromore defender gave manys a forward nightmares in his day. Ironically Ricey is now the proud owner of the ‘Sleepeasy Pillows’ franchise across Ireland. This business venture came after a stint in Hollywood when he played the part of an angry dog in many mafia films. His ‘Ricey Krispies’ cereal idea, which was just like ordinary Rice Krispies except they had the odd nut or bolt in it for a sense of adventure, was soon halted after a rash of law suits. Ryan is also an avid panto participant, and likes to pot native plants in his wee back shed.
The Omagh full back continues to defy medical and scientific recommendations and still togs out for the county. Wikipedia has never been able to ascertain his real age, ranging from 29 to 55. Justin has never been able to pass through security checks at airports and has broken over 12 of their machines to date due to the amount of metal in him. His Christmas party trick of having all cutlery magnetically stuck to him has worn thin recently as family have resorted to eating with their hands.
From The Moy, Mellon hit the big time when he scored the first 2 points in the 2005 final. The versatile villager unfortunately got lost one night coming out of Tomneys. The story goes that he followed a three legged dog over the Armagh border in 2011, never to return. He was last spotted on St Patrick’s Day on a tractor during the parade in Armagh, looking sad and unkempt. Some say he has Stockholm Syndrome and is starting to admire his captors. Mellon was also an avid strawberry taster before his capture, and could tell exactly how many days old a given berry was just by sniffing it.
The Errigal half-back, who spectacularly found the net against Dublin in the rain in 2008, is currently earning his coaching badges and is set to manage Accrington Stanley in England this year. Harte, who had to work harder than any other player because his uncle used to give him a skite on the back of his head if he didn’t, aims to manage is home county eventually when Mickey retires in 2035. He is due to launch a new range of fragrances for men next Valentine’s Day.
Carrickmore’s rock in the centre of the defence, like McConnell, has found post-county fame tough. He reportedly had nightmares over his block in the 2003 final, and in his dreams McDonnell scored. Due to his sleepwalking, he now has a restraining order against him, preventing him coming close to ANY McDonnell in Armagh between 10pm and 8am on any night of the year. Conor often wakes up in a cold sweat like in one of them 80s ‘Nam movies, and curses Ciaran Gourley for not marking up even though the Rock man was nowhere near it. No one really knows why he claims Ciaran. Some claim Gourley kept him up all night before the final, listening to his complete Philomena Begley collection full blast. Gormley had to sleep on a blanket on the ground, in foetal position, as he still sleeps now (when he can get some sleep that is).
This teak tough defender epitomised Mickey Harte’s mantra of transitioning from defence to attack. In some 73 Championship appearances for the Red Hand County, he never once lost possession, by either kick or hand pass. This unfortunately troubled him after he hung the boots up. Jordan melted down his 3 Celtic crosses and sold the gold, which he used as capital to open a fantastic wee pizza shop in the Moy. The downside to the story comes in the fact that Philip refused to give any pizza to anyone. When the shop was finally repossessed, Jordan hollered in court “Why should I give anything away, I never gave a thing away in my whole life. Go get your own… and by the way – its got nothing to do with money, I couldn’t care less about the money”. His cash payments for articles in the Irish News, and appearances on The Sunday Game now keep him afloat. He is best friends with Diarmuid Marsden’s brother, who is also called Philip. Jordan narrowly escaped a mauling after waving at Derrytresk supporters during a Moy win.
Ever hear of BBC’s Homes Under The Hammer? Well, Colly has nothing to do with that at all. In fact quite the opposite. After helping to dismantle Kerry three times in the noughties, Colly started his own demolition business and has several multi-million projects all over the world. When interviewed recently, he maintains his favourite demolition to date was against Dara O Se in Croker.
ENDA MC GINLEY
The man known on the team as “Thunder” consistently broke the hearts of opposing teams. The then Pope was asked to look into the fact that every game Enda scored in, Tyrone went on to win, and decreed it was a Category 5 Miracle, in line with finding a sweet in an jacket you haven’t worn in a while, or coming across a shopping trolley with a pound still in it. McGinley wisely exploited his heaven sent supernatural gifts, and set up a dating channel on late night TV. “He Who Scores Wins” is a massive hit in Essex.
The man, The Legend. One of the finest things God ever covered in skin, Dooher needs no introductions from plebs like us. Last word on the Clann na Gael veterinarian was that he punched a pregnant cow when it was misbehaving. The cow split down the middle, formed two whole new cows and birthed triplets. The farmer was obviously delighted. It is rumoured he has since been frozen in a cryogenic chamber, should Mickey Harte ever need someone to take a really tough training session, or the county ever goes to war.
Penrose hasn’t been seen since 2008. A keen hide-and-seek specialist, Martin hid for 45 hrs outside in his garden in order to break the World Record but never returned. The time now stands at 9 years and people around Carrickmore say he lets yelps out of him to let you know he’s still about, hiding. Of course, Penrose was well known for his speedy legs and small centre of gravity and once scored a famous goal by running under Seamus Moynihan’s testicles unchallenged.
JOE MC MAHON
Oooh… this is a great one! Last year Joe was walking through TK MAXX in Belfast, looking for a pair of cheap Calvin Klein boxers, when he was spotted by David Benioff, and immediately asked to play FIVE different characters in the hit TV show game of Thrones by the writer. His rustic, rugged, hard as nails, Iron-age looks captivated the American instantly. It is understood Benioff was later furious when Joe shaved off his beard for a family christening, so as not to spook the child, but as the director started to shout at big Joe he soon silenced as the beard grew back instantaneously, this time with thorns in it. Needless to say Joe got a pay rise, a new house and Benioff now avoids him at all costs for fear of his life.
TOMMY MC GUIGAN
After his pot-luck, but sexy goal in the ’08 All Ireland Final, Tommy unexpectedly went on to train boxers such as Carl “The Jackal” Frampton and David “The Haye-maker” Haye. Unfortunately Tommy doesn’t know a whole pile about boxing and both have slipped down through the ranks recently. Tommy, who is now known simply as ‘Shane’ is still a deadly fella, but shouldn’t be training world class boxers.
Sean is playing yet and still has pure jet black hair much to the annoyance of the McMahons. Sean has kicked 16,253 balls from that shimmy since the Armagh quarter final, but his wife says his shimmy when asked to do household chores is less admirable. We wont say too much more about him at this juncture as we are due to interview him at his home in the coming weeks, and don’t want to spoil it…
COLM MC CULLAGH
The remarkable McCullagh had to leave the field early in the ’08 final due to a dodgy curry he had the night before in Drumcondra when he sneaked out for an hour with Mulligan. Unbeknownst to most, Colm was the source subject for that Brad Pitt film about the man getting younger the older he got. McCullagh now looks like a 12-year-old and, remarkably, is even faster than he was in 2008. For charity, he ran 100m whilst his club showed Usain Bolt running his 100m simultaneously on a big screen. Despite a scorching start, Colm had to retire after 50m due to a dodgy Indian he had the night before. He is currently studying for his 11+.
Notable mentions to:
OWEN MULLIGAN – Came on in the final that year. Currently a best-selling novelist and aims to bring out his latest raunchy novel – The Real Cookstown Sausage – in 2020. Can be seen in LacyLadys Male strip bar every Thursday night in London for a small fee of 500 quid. Mulligan was also caught last year hiding in the toilets at Croke Park til everyone was gone, running onto the field and doing that famous double dummy over and over and staring blankly into Hill 16 til the lawnmower man asked him if he’d no home to go to.
KEVIN “HUB” HUGHES – Hughes, whose iconic point in the 2008 final finally killed off Kerry, currently works for NASA as a meteor spotter. To date, he has spotted well over 3000 meteors as well as 4 O’Neills balls he launched throughout his career. Hub’s attemp to become an Olympic javelin thrower ended prematurely after a near miss with a pile of school children when practising in his back field last year.
STEPHEN O NEILL – O’Neill, player of the year in 2005, became a male model in London’s West End and a fashion icon for that mountain look. Returning to Ireland in 2013, he and Francie Bellew tour the country telling stories about their rivalry. To date, Bellew hasn’t said anything and sometimes sheds a tear during O’Neill’s recollections. Stephen’s favourite bar of chocolate is the Bounty, but he hates coconut by itself.
PETER DONNELLY – Peter still currently holds two county records: The biggest pike ever caught at Roughan Lough on open day, and the closest to the pin at the 16th at Dungannon golf course – even though he teed off from the 7th tee box. He has helped atheletes such as Mo Farah avoid journalist’s questions over the past 18 months, and once ate a whole box of Celebrations on Christmas Eve, which unsurprisingly led him to missing Christmas dinner the following day. His ma wasn’t happy and his da was buckin livid. He likes to collect newts in jam jars, and is said to be the driving force behind that whole mental world class race track at Coalisland’s old clay pits, fair play to him.
BRIAN MC GUIGAN – Brian had to change his name to Ryan to keep Japanese tourists away from his place of work. He wanted to get out of the bar trade after US college agents kept plaguing him on “parting with secrets on how to be the perfect quarter back” despite him never having watched a game of baseball in his life. He used to serve anyone who ordered a raw Jameson for free, and often brings up a packet of Jafa cakes to Mickey Harte’s house of a Wednesday. He was put out by Mickey’s wife recently when she discovered a wee note pad and dictaphone hanging from his three quarter zip top from Begley’s shop with the words “Ardboe Senior Champs 2017 PLAN” on the front of the notes.
Compiled and researched by Aughohilly Schniffles & Gombeen