The Ryder (Ploughing) Cup

Danny – Loved your uploaded photo of a fig. Exciting stuff.

USA 2, Europe 1. Early score flash from Medinah – but the Irish or is it British pairing are going along nicely. Let’s just call Rory a catholic Ulsterman.

It was good to hear you’d met a Mayo native from Crossmolina. This town features in a rare edition travelogue which I self-published about 8 years ago. The tale involves a Neary reunion night, and the saga of getting two bachelor Neary uncles now resident in Brinscall up on the northern English moors to venture back to their Irish roots in dear old Tullinaglug for the first time in 70 years. I got my Whittle-le-Woods-born non-stop talking mother to accompany said bachelors. Anyway, as we passed through Crossmolina on the way back from a day out on Achill Island, my mother just had to comment how Crossmolina “sounds just like semolina” – which it doesn’t, not at all – especially if you appreciate how Mayo folk pronounce Crossmoli-eye-na.

Today is Friday. Pension day. As expected, this gave a much-needed injection of cash into the flagging local economy struggling to keep pace with the spirits of the Drinking Olympics. The smell of agri-diesel was prominent outside the village Post Office as the rusty old New Holland tractors vied for space as Not-so-dozy Josie dished out the readies – as early as 10.30am. Then it was off to Quinn’s Bar down the street; a short drive with plenty of hidden parking by the old cattle market sheds. You don’t want to be driving too far on pension day, even with a local garda station only manned for two hours per week due to cutbacks. It’s a free-for-all on the single tracks, especially when ‘deaf’ OAP Touch-up Tommy is let loose on his unroadworthy farming machine on a Friday.

During a lull in the enthralling conversation in Quinn’s about overnight deaths in the parish (courtesy of Midwest Radio’s popular show – Deaths on the Hour), I asked our lovable busy barmaid, ‘Feck Me Pink’ Fanny, if she could recall Dr Danny, son of Paddy, who used to live over the bridge. She nodded. I told her that this madman was trekking along a long trail across northern Spain. “Some sort of pilgrim’s way”, I ventured. She replied, “Oh, I know him. He’s the priest, isn’t he. Oh yes. I know Danny very well.” This confused me. Are you a lapsed reverend?

I tried to explain that you were a GP, as far as I know. Well – feck me pink, she says – it’s all the same. “The laying of hands on vulnerable women. Tryin’ to cure ‘em”.

Ryder Cup update. 2-2 at half-time on Day 1 of three. That’s Irish. Good auld Rory, the Irishman. If Europe lose, he’s British.

Gearoid, I read your comments out loud to my fellow  “Peregrinos” in the Refugio last night and every last one of them was in stitches.

Just got a tweet from Barry. It reads – “Man U two down at home at HT. Just managed to fart in Sralex’s face as the second Spurs goal went in. He kept on chewing.” I should add that I think that Barry was watching an English soccer game on TV – but you never know with football-daft Barry, the parish’s only other Blackburn Rovers fanatic.

Last night I was torn between major sports events being shown on Irish telly. Sky had live coverage from the Ryder Cup, but RTE2 had condensed highlights of the All-Ireland Ploughing Championships which concluded after three days of exciting, er …. ploughing. It was a no-brainer really. Ploughing doesn’t really translate into a TV event. Personally, I’ve never really appreciated the attraction of watching various combinations of man, beast and machine cutting endless straight lines into a big field. It’s very popular over here though. Con O’Connell & Pak Durkin left at 3AM on Wed to get a good fieldside view – and 200,000 others joined them over the three days of fierce competition. It rained heavily for most of the contest. They must have the biggest and best beer tent in the world to keep 60,000 farmers entertained between showers.

Anyhow – Sue made some home-made soup for Maurice Mahon today. He suffered the worst injury so far of the Killybacside Drinking Olympics. He fell off his prosthetic leg after a particularly arduous work-out on Monday evening, and now he’s housebound and confined to a wheelchair. He lives on the Convent Road, so it was a good excuse to volunteer to deliver the soup and call at the Cock to watch the cross-channel soccer on teletext. I met three tinkers from Swineford. A bit smelly, but nice all the same. We officially cannot call them a word that rhymes with clackers any more. Very un-PC. They are our friends from the travelling community. They had just been delivering a German Shepherd puppy to old Dessie who lives in the mobile home just down the road from the pub, among the trailer trash and cider bottles left behind by the Under-16 Olympic team. The travelers must have felt at home; they were in good spirits after a good deal (of spitting?). Apparently Dessie agreed to buy the puppy whilst comatose at the Swineford Agricultural Show a few weeks back. The tinkers always honour their word.

Over in the far corner, excitedly watching his beloved Leeds United on teletext and twittering away, was my favourite Ulsterman affectionately known as The Joker. He’s a (amateur) comedian; a sort of cross between Frank Carson and Gerry Adams, accent-wise. A laugh a minute. Non-stop gags. He didn’t let me get a word in as he told me the latest soccer gossip, so I had an extra pint. The Joker had trials with Blackburn Rovers when he was 15, way back in the late 1960’s. A promising football career was not to be when The Troubles of his hometown prevented the Blackburn officials from getting the contract signature of The Joker’s parents, who had moved to “address unknown” leaving a bomb crater behind. Then, in the outdoor smoking room, The Joker tells me a great tale about an ex-Derby & Leeds player and a friend of his. The Joker knows everybody. He says that he’s a distant relation through marriage of Rory McIlroy, and this turned out to be true when I checked out his Family Tree. So, The Joker says that when Leeds were interested in (this anonymous footballer we shall call) Seth about a dozen years ago, he was on £4,000 a week at Derby. His agent told him to demand £12,500 if mega-rich Leeds wanted him. At the meeting with Chairman Ridsdale at Elland Road, Seth was told that his agent must sit outside the boardroom. Ridsdale tells Seth that Leeds are going places, and Seth is part of the big plans. He offers Seth what he thinks is a fair deal for him to quit Derby. £25,000 grand big ones per week. Seth spat out his coffee. “Okay”, says Ridsdale, “£32,000 a week but that’s our final offer.”

As The Joker says – how did Leeds end up in such a financial mess? 


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