Apr 112008

Johnny kindly sent me this brilliant article from last week’s Limerick Leader.

No more Scandalous Stories of Alcohol – over-indulgence- Just a fattened pig – John Hogan, Hookers Diary

UNFORTUNATELY for you the reader, my naming and shaming tactics in the Hooker’s Diary are going to have to come to an end, as they have not gone down well with the sensitive souls that I, perhaps inaccurately, call my teammates.
I have unknowingly committed several acts of bridge-burning by writing about the antics of my fellow Bruffians and after several threats, it has become apparent that the next time I write about some of the more colourful goings-on within the camp, I may find myself being served up as part of the post-match stew.
Therefore, with my own preservation in mind, I have decided upon a change in direction for the Hooker’s Diary. No more headline-grabbing, scandalous stories of alcohol over-indulgence, chicken curries for breakfast, bed-wetting, wind-breaking or mud-wrestling barmaids. Basically no more fun. Just rugby.

Some of us arrived to training today still laughing from the night before after the appearance of Eoin Cahill, our player/coach – and therefore not subject to the same newfound immunity of the other players – on Against the Head. To the average viewer, Eoin’s post-match interview, in which he discussed our peak levels of conditioning, would have looked fairly innocuous.
But to those of us who knew that just off camera he was holding a can of Budweiser, the interview held somewhat more of a comic element.
Back to the old bump and grind of rucking and mauling in Kilballyowen this evening. Some of the lads, who of course I can’t name but they know who they are, were still showing the stiffness from a whole weekend of bumping and grinding after our promotion the previous Saturday.

On behalf of the entire Bruff playing and coaching staff, thank you to Aidan Corr, my esteemed colleague who, without my even asking, gave us the perfect motivation by predicting in the sports pages today that Banbridge would be the first team this year to turn us over.
While this was obviously a poorly-veiled ploy by Aidan to ensure we wouldn’t go complacent before our final game, it was nonetheless appreciated.

EDIT: BLOGGER, He has predicted a ten point win this week 🙂

While making the first leg of our journey north this evening, some not so discerning film fans insisted that we watch the truly vomitous sports film, Coach Carter, starring Samuel L Jackson. As the film went on, comparisons were inevitably drawn between Jackson and our own bald, bellowing, ball-breaker physio Derry, who seemed to have no problem with the likeness being pointed out.
We arrived to the hotel in Dundalk earlier than usual on Friday evening and a few of us decided to play a game of cards before the Late Late started. One of those playing was Dessie, our fearless bagman who hasn’t allowed breaking two bones in his hand stop him from carrying our water bottles to every corner of the country.
“Do you know what the latest thing in America is now?” Dessie asked us while the cards were being dealt.
“What’s that Dessie?” we innocently replied in unison.
“Well you know the way you’d see those women with the silicone breasts? Well I heard the other day that now they can give a man a silicone tool, I wouldn’t have any interest in getting one though,” he pointed out.
I can see why Dessie would have no need for the silicone tool he was talking about. You see he works as a stonemason and the good old fashioned mallet and chisel is still your only man for putting up a wall.

The first sight that greeted us when we arrived at Banbridge was two gargantuan, sizzling pigs on spit roasts dripping in their own fat, just inside the door. For a few seconds we forgot about the game and just stared in awe at the hooved feast pirouetting in front of us just asking to be eaten.
There are many examples in sport, war, business and politics of sultry women being used to distract opposing sides into complacency but this may have been the first time that food was used as the stupefying force.
The hypnotic effect of the spinning hogs, however, was broken by Eugene, our coach, who told us to mop up the puddle of drool on the clubhouse floor and get into the changing rooms before one of us started interfering with the enticing pigs.
Despite being in fourth place this morning, Banbridge were still in with a distant shot of getting promoted but it would require a bonus point victory against us. However, despite the temptation of the sizzling pigs -which, come to think of it, sounds like a tale from the old testament-, we were determined to maintain our unbeaten run and finish the league with a flourish.
And flourish we did, managing to claim our seventh clean sheet of the year and put paid to any of the Banbridge’s hopes of promotion.
After the game, I discovered that I had left my Bruff shirt and tie in the hotel in Dundalk. So while everyone else on the panel walked out in their best shirts and ties, I emerged from the dressing room looking quite fetching in the same Sunderland jersey that I had slept in the night before.
To make matters worse, I would go on to discover on the way home that a member of a wedding party had accidentally taken my shirt from the hotel lobby that morning by accident, leaving his own, far more fancy clobber behind.
Now, there’s no doubt but that we look smart in our respectable clothes after a game but wedding-appropriate they’re not. I had to smile at the idea of the poor misfortune who’d to sit in the middle of the congregation in his stripy shirt with Bruff RFC emblazoned across the short sleeves.
As I took my place at the post-match dinner, looking like a lost soccer hooligan, a Banbridge alickadoo informed me that word of my prowess as a slanderer of opposition teams had spread north of the border.
“We get the Limerick Leader up here you know,” said the blazer, “so you better not go slagging us off ‘cos we’ll be down playing ye again in two weeks.”
My first thought was that I should surely be in line for a raise if I’m generating sales of a Limerick newspaper in Northern Ireland. But I also realised that he was right, we play Banbridge on Saturday week in the semi-final of the Division Three play-offs so there was no point in giving them extra cannon fodder for the return leg in Bruff.
So instead of words of provocation, I’ll depart today by saying to the Banbridge boys that there’ll be a friendly welcome waiting for them in Bruff next week, particularly if they bring down one or two of those distractingly delectable pigs.


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