Cycling – 2015 An Post International Ras coming to Drogheda
The Faa Side’s sports reporter Darts Donaghy was under the fridge with excitement after it was announced that the 2015 An Post International Ras is to culminate in a massive sprint finish up Peter Street on May 23 this year. Yes, this year! A sprint finish! Peter Street! Wow! The event has been described as one of the biggest sporting events in the country despite Darts never having heard of it until this morning. Apparently it will be the fourth time the race has been through Drogheda.
The first time was in 1982 when the ‘racer’ bicycle was first witnessed in these parts. This was followed by a sequel in 1986 when men like Sean Kelly, Pedro Delgado and Stephen Roche could well have cycled through the town really quickly. A strict ban on cycling was enforced in Drogheda from the summer of 1987 after distressing scenes marred that summer’s Milk Run when stragglers were pulled from their bicycles and scalped by locals near Togher. Townsfolk got around the ban by mounting exercise bikes on carts and having young children or dogs pull them around.
The ban was only lifted in 1994 when apparently thousands of cycling enthusiasts and drug users lined the streets in what the paper of record called ‘carnival like scenes’. But since then nobody has cared about cycling until last year when the Giro d’Italia and its pink bicyles flirted with the town.
Darts conducted a quick straw poll outside the office this morning to gauge interest in the event. Local drug user Lusty McCormac said he would be going to the event. “I’ll be going alright. That sport is full of drugs, maybe they’ll drop some.” However, not everyone Darts spoke to was enthusiastic. “That’s not a sport. Sure I cycle to work. How is that a sport?! I don’t table tennis or pole-vault to work. I don’t play football or fence on the way to work. Load of bollocks,” explained local fireman Gisty Kierans.
Arm wrestling season
The 2015 Drogheda Arm Wrestling Championship gets underway this coming weekend in O’Casey’s pub. The title is up for grabs after defending champion Ivan ‘Clencher’ Delany’s retirement when he suffered twisted balls in last year’s era defining finale. His opponent that day, Clapper Dowling is so confident of winning the Golden Fist, that he has announced he will be wrestling with his weaker hand and only two thirds of his concentration – unheard of in the sport.
Bookmakers Paddy Power do not share his confidence with Clapper only 9/1 behind Smelly Poole 7/1, Grippy Winters 7/2 , Boner Donnelly 6/4 and ex-Leinster finalist Barbell Burns, the 3/1 favourite. It will be worth keeping an eye on 25/1 outsider Cheeks McCole, the infamous thrash talker. Cheeks made it to last year’s semi-final by goading his opponents into disqualification. He was however, unable to take his spot in the semi after his opponent hospitalized him. While his methods are uncouth, they are within the rules as arm wrestling is as much a struggle with the mind as it is with the arm.
His intriguing victory is still fresh amongst the arm wrestling fraternity – he defeated Ireland’s Strongest Man last season by telling him that the reason why his hand was sticky was because he had tugged off a traveller in the beer garden just before the bout. Naturally Ireland’s Strongest Man didn’t believe him until right on cue, in walked a traveller adjusting his flies and winking at him. Nobody knows whether Cheeks actually did the deed, with himself preferring to keep silent and fan his legend. Doors open at 9pm, admission €10.