Vinny counts his blessings after battle of Clontarf
He pushed his flabby hands quickly over the wheels and soon gathered up a fair speed with the prevailing westerly at his back. Within a couple of minutes Vinny cruised past the other chair, “like a Ferrari overtaking a Minardi”, he thought to himself, wearing a cheeky grin.
Slowing a bit, Vinny was now parallel with the Par 3 golf course, which would always hold a special place in his heart for his hole in one at the seventh in the Foley’s Christmas Turkey Shoot of ’98.
Everywhere was frozen off that year but Bugsy O’Byrne, one of the bar regulars, worked for the city council’s parks department and had smuggled the lads in for a round.
Vinny was studying the greens, noting they had been cut recently, when he heard a whirr close by. As he half-turned, he was aware of a wheelchair passing by – it was the one he’d overtaken earlier.
He was vaguely aware of a tanned, white-haired figure in the seat, arms pumping away as he flew past. He thought he heard a chuckle, but couldn’t be sure. Either way, it didn’t matter.
Instantly, the handbrake went off in Vinny’s mind and the throttle went down – the game was afoot. He bent forward, arched his back and started driving the rim of the wheels hard between forefinger and thumb.
At the end of the rose garden boundary, Vinny was 20 yards down but closing. As sweat formed on his beetle-brow and he fought for breath, Vinny found a rhythm and kept it, aware the gap was shortening.
By the Clock Tower he was in the slipstream of his wheelie upstart rival. He had the whip hand now and drew level inside the final furlong. Without glancing at his rival, Vinny initiated another surge of power before running off the grass where the avenue came to a halt.
“Put your ace of hearts on that,” he roared at the top of his voice, fist punching skywards.
As he slowed down, he heard the brakes of his rival who had turned his wheelchair and was beginning the mile-long haul back up the avenue.
“Hey Mr bus driver,” came a shout on the wind. “You should know all about return journeys.”
Vinny cursed, puffed his cheeks and pointed his chair back towards his starting point. “It’s only a mile. I can do this,” he said to himself.
It was only a mile but it was slightly uphill and into a freshening breeze. Vinny was also giving weight, and probably age away, to his rival. He was also asking himself to wheel at full speed over a distance he was unproven. If Boru Betting were doing match odds, Vinny had drifted from 4 to 5 on to 6 to 4 against. It didn’t stop the ageing heavyweight from taking on the challenge. Again the head went down, the shoulders hunched forward and the flabby arms, began to fire like pistons.