Vinny bets on sporting son rise
Little Oisín’s art prowess a more likely path to fame and fortune
Gerry McIlroy’s successful lucrative bet on his son’s British Open success inspired Vinny Fitzpatrick to wager on his son’s future sporting successes. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/RPA
Watching the Tour de France survivors snake their way through the Pyrenees, it struck Vinny Fitzpatrick he would get juicy odds on Oisín, his brawny bairn, ever wearing the yellow jersey up the Champs Elysees.
Unlike Gerry McIlroy, who identified greatness in Wee Rory from the time he was a toddler, Oisín Finbarr Fitzpatrick, aged four and a half, had yet to indicate he was destined for sporting immortality.
Noticeably sluggishHe hadn’t picked up a hurl in anger, couldn’t ride his trike without assistance, was noticeably sluggish, and still unsure if he was right-footed or left-footed.
It probably didn’t help Oisin’s prospects of Olympic gold in 2034 that he carried a few kilos more on his backside than most kids of his age and was a first class grubber.
Lifting his own hefty frame from his favourite armchair, Vinny decided nonetheless to follow the McIlroy lead and place a few bob on Oisin turning heads in sport by the time he was a full-grown oak
As popping into Boru Betting for the long-range flutters wasn’t a runner due to the family connection, Vinny ambled across a verdant St Anne’s Park to The Track bookies in Raheny.
The Track was close to the summer nursery where Oisín spent three mornings a week getting ready for “big school”, Belgrove NS, in September.
Vinny was startled to see a few renegades from Boru Betting in position, following the dogs, among them The Reverend and Charlie Vernon.
As they scribbled down fancies for the 1.12pm at Perry Barr, and handed over their cash, it was a reminder that the gambling hook was deeply imbedded.
Even if Vinny’s own impulses didn’t extend to lunch time hare-chasing of a quiet Tuesday, he was still prepared to part with hard-earned cash on the longest of long shots – the sporting prowess of his son.
“Alright, lads,” he said, before finding a quiet corner and fishing out a betting slip and biro.
He had decided to play six bets, of a score each, on the assumption Oisín would morph into Daley Thompson by the time he was 25.
After taking care to ensure his selections were legible, he went over to the counter and asked for the best price possible from the pretty, if bored-looking, girl in her 20s.
“You want quotes on these?” she said, briefly turning her attention away from the screen towards Vinny. “I’ll have to ask Alf.”
Alf was the nickname of the long-serving boss, a curmudgeon in his 60s, coming from the “Tough of the Track”, Alf Tupper, the working-class athletics hero in The Victor comic.
Wiry Alf appeared, cleaning his glasses as he studied Vinny’s bets.
“A fool and his money are easily parted,” he chuckled.
Vinny wasn’t to be put off. “Aye up, Alf, just you wait and see. In 20 years, I’ll be back in here cleaning you out,” he smiled.
Alf peered over his glasses. “Give over, son. In 20 years’ time, we’ll both be pushing up daisies in Balgriffin,” he said before disappearing back into his office.