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Boxing Day battle for bragging rights will be a festive cracker

By Declan Bogue

You might have heard me banging on about it before here, but December 26 is a special day for the Tempo Maguires club in Fermanagh.

For that day, we all fragment into our own areas and play a seven-a-side tournament between the (roughly) eight townlands of the parish for the ultimate bragging rights.

While our own side, Mullanaskea St Matthews often travel in hope rather than expectation, I suspect an extra effort will be made this year to dethrone last year's champions, Tattykeeran Shamrocks, who went as far as to get jerseys made up of a rich green, cut by a slash of maroon. Getting your own jerseys puts a target on your back.

Beginning at 10.30am at the Bawnacre 4G pitch (last year's event was played in heavy snowfall in Lissan, the Fermanagh training centre, chewing up the pitches so badly they did not recover until mid-spring), it is the highlight of the year for many men who feel they have something to offer, even though there is no empirical evidence to suggest otherwise.

The following day, I have also been asked to play in the over-30s against the under-30s' in a match at my current club, Aghaloo O'Neill's. And they say it is only students that are at risk from burnout.

While many clubs have a Christmas game played among their own in the spirit of fun, this is the first time the Tyrone club have staged one.

With plenty of exiled sons returning for Christmas, it promises to be one of those memorable days.

All proceeds and donations, are going to the Public Initiative for Prevention of Suicide (PIPS) charity. Aghaloo are like every other corner of this world, hit hard by tragedy in recent years in this respect with the loss of former player, Kevin O'Gorman.

The work that PIPS had to do with the senior team in Aghaloo was invaluable. This game is their chance to give a bit of help back.

Belfast Telegraph


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