Dalymount proves a banker bet after Gold Cup hell
Vinny’s loyalties are divided as punters go to war on Boru Betting . . . and Angie
FROM his front row seat in the Jodi Stand, Vinny Fitzpatrick had a worm’s eye view of the rutty surface of Dalymount Park as the players warmed up on a bitterly cold Bank Holiday lunchtime. He was appalled at what he saw.
The pristine emerald baize of summers past, and winters too, resembled an upturned egg carton, more suited for bog-snorkelling than football.
As he watched Premier Division players take two and three touches to get the ball under control, his heart sank.
Even his Bohs heroes, Turly O’Connor and Jackie Jameson, the two finest “Dalyer” pressionists of Vinny’s past, would struggle to leave an imprint of their excellence on this crater-like canvass.
He’d seen Turly walk by the Jodi paddocks a few minutes before and noted the Silver Fox, now in his mid-60s, looked as lean and light-footed as ever. The thought struck him that a 15-minute Turly cameo would not go amiss given the paperweights in the current Bohs attack.
As for genial Jackie, sadly he was no longer around to light up grey afternoons like he did in the ’80s but Vinny would nod in homage to the Great Man’s image which lit up the bar named after him.
The child of ’57, the most skilful Gypsy of them all, had been stolen far too soon but Vinny, like his fellow Bohs diehards, would never forget Jackie’s genius.
He strongly suspected he would forget the opening skirmish of the season between his beloved Bohs and the reviled Rovers. He predicted a scrap low on quality and even lower on goals. With that in mind, Vinny took out his mobile, logged on to his Paddy Power account and placed €20 on the game yielding less than 2.5 goals at even money.
It was, he felt, the greatest certainty since Willie Mullins was priced by Boru Betting at 9 to 4 to finish as leading trainer at Cheltenham.
At the thought of Mullins, Vinny flinched. The Festival had been a runaway hit for the most outstanding National Hunt trainer of his generation with five winners, two of them Grade Ones, including the Champion Hurdle and Supreme Novices Hurdle.
Mullins had been slavishly followed by the Boru Betting punters, both regular and irregular. And Angie had stood her ground, offering above the odds on Mullins runners, while her losses mounted. fter opening day wins for Champagne Fever, Hurricane Fly and Quevega, Angie’s was down a hefty five-figure sum.
The second day had unfolded like a war zone as punters, flushed with euro, tore into anything and everything from the ‘WP Mullins’ yard. Yet Angie remained defiant on Boru Betting’s burning bridge. After Back In Focus, the heavily-backed favourite, clawed back five lengths from the last to win the National Hunt Chase for PW Mullins, the little shop had erupted but Angie didn’t flinch. She gaily tossed her mane of dark hair to one side, beamed her Colgate smile, and thrust wads of cash into the greasy palms of the dream-catchers.
Vinny turned to his comrade in betting slips, The Reverend, and asked for his observations. With his patrician air, grey trench coat and mahogany cane, The Reverend carried an air of intellect and wealth about his person – few in Boru Betting, apart from Vinny, knew he was a shelf-stacker in Tesco in Artane Castle.