Fourball one down coming to last orders
AGAINST THE ODDS:Fire rescue hero’s pals can’t really savour Europe’s Ryder miracle while their friend’s life hangs in the balance, writes RODDY L'ESTRANGE
THE MIDDLE-aged fourball in Foley’s should have been whoopin’ and a hollerin’ at the miracles of Medinah, but instead they sat quietly, sipping pints and staring rather vacuously at the telly. There wasn’t a fist pump between them.
From behind the taps, Dial-A-Smile, that most cheerless of bartenders, was reminded of the touching scene near the end of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs where the little men gathered around the stricken heroine, heads bowed, tearful.
Dial-A-Smile knew the quartet intimately, Macker, Fran, Brennie and Kojak; knew their preferred drinks, pace of swallow, and their cussed ways when he stopped serving at closing time, which was his right.
He also knew why each they wore a sepulchral air on this gripping Ryder Cup Sunday.
It was all Vinny Fitzpatrick’s fault. The fat bus driver with the fatty heart was hooked up on life support in Beaumont Hospital with the words “have-a-go-hero” stencilled on his chest after putting his life at risk to save others.
“Vinny, you’re a right gobshite,” said Dial-A-Smile aloud as a tear threatened to crack his pitiless heart.
It had been the longest of weeks in Clontarf parish, thought Dial-A-Smile, as he dried a glass with all the deliberation of Jim Furyk over a putt.
News had filtered into the bar on Monday, as all stories do, about the fire in the old Fitzpatrick family home of Causeway Avenue the night before.
With each arrival, more and more pieces were added to the jigsaw so that by early afternoon, after Big Dave, a fireman and Foley’s regular, had dropped in for a cure, Dial-A-Smile had a graphic picture of the dramatic events.
The conflagration had begun in the kitchen around half two in the morning after some eejit dropped a smouldering cigar into a bin, and it was Vinny who’d raised the alarm, running from room to room like Wee Willie Winkie.
According to Big Dave, Vinny played a blinder, rousing bleary-eyed Donegal fans from a drink-induced slumber as the flames licked about and smoke was inhaled by unsuspecting lungs.
By the time the fire brigade arrived, Vinny had herded everyone out into in the street, coughing and spluttering, but alive nonetheless.
Vinny had been double-checking that all were present and correct when, all of a sudden, a tall lad called Kevin said something about a girl, Mairéad, being missing.
“Vinny immediately shot across the road and although one of our lads tried to grab him, Vinny threw a punch and ducked into the house. The house was half-engulfed in smoke and our boys went in with oxygen masks; Vinny had nothing,” reported Big Dave.
This version of events was corroborated by Two-Mile Boris, Foley’s resident chess grandmaster from Russia, who rented a room in Causeway Avenue and was drawn outside by the commotion.