Tough going in traditional Irish booze-up with Darren, G-Mac and young Rory
IN my dreams, Trevor Brennan Tours hired me to lead a traditional Irish booze-up for American golf tourists. Clever Trev secured the services of Darren, G-Mac and young Rory for no more than a promise he wouldn't gallop up into the stands at Ulster matches.
Our group attends a drinks reception at Portmarnock for Darren. We meet up with the British Open champ at the eighth -- pint. Our hero sinks another long one. He lights up; takes a slow backswing drag of a fag right down to the tip and beyond, almost choking on his own fingers.
"He's giving them up for Lent," observes Rory loyally.
"Does that mean he'll be able to hit the ball longer?" asks G-Mac.
Darren is beginning to wilt from the burden of living up to the stereotypical Irishman celebrating with lashings of drink.
Time for breakfast, Darren. We tee off with three Irish coffees and a slice of porter cake followed by a bowl of sherry trifle.
The bus stops off in Leo Burdock's for their famous chips. Darren, a traditionalist, mutters "eatin' is cheatin'," and "no solids on tour".
"The wine tastes like vinegar," says G-Mac.
"It is vinegar G," says young Rory.
We adjourn to the excellent Merchant for a few quiet gallons. The talk is all of golf.
"I have a trivia question for you," says Darren.
"In what year did I last win the British Open?" he asks, stuck in the hopeless timelessness of the post-Open twilight zone. He orders a toasted groundhog sandwich. G-Mac asks if the Irish Open is on this week or next. Young Rory tweets the Betty Ford clinic.
It's on to Paddy Sheary's Menswear, upstairs at the corner of Clarendon Street, to get measured up for a suit. I've given instructions to my next of kin that I'm to be laid out in one of Paddy's three-pieces.
In view of recent ethical developments in journalism, it must be emphasised we did not get a free outfit for the making of this plug. And the only thing we ever tapped was a barrel.
Darren is in shock when Paddy lassoes his waist with the measuring tape. He has put on seven inches since Sunday.
Rory tells us he's just been tweeting Lady Ga Ga. He's meeting her tonight under Clery's clock.
I suggest we go to The Palace. "Why?" asks Darren. "Am I getting a wee OBE?"
The porter in The Palace is "better than any knighthood," declares Darren. Rory falls off a stool after his second pint of shandy. He will tweet no more today. G-Mac asks his caddie if he will take a pint or a short. He goes for the hybrid -- one of each. Darren, who is really on top of his game, pitches a golf ball into his pint -- plop, without spilling a drop.
Martin McGuinness joins us. The First Minister asks Darren to support a British Open bid from Royal Crossmaglen Golf Club, the only course in the world where the trees follow you up the fairway. Martin has secured a sponsor: a diesel outfit with strong cross-border ties.
We stop off for a traditional Irish McDonalds. Rory is asked for ID. G-Mac wakes up. "Are we in Killarney yet?" he asks. We leave when they tell us there's no wine list.
Darren from Dungannon throws a fit when word comes through from the Parades Commission that the Armagh v Tyrone match will be rerouted if all the players insist on staying on the same side of the pitch.
We meet the Papal Nuncio in the Hill 16 Bar. His Excellency is offering up Novenas that Mayo will be bate out the gate. Rory asks for a vodka milkshake. G-Mac says there are babies being born this very day in the Royal Victoria who will be on solids before Darren. The last of the tour group is taken away in a heap. Rory gets his second wind on the back nine. "Let's go somewhere for a few shots," he suggests.
"Och, but I'm in no fit state for golf," moans an ailing G-Mac.
Rory orders an egg carton of Jaeger Bombs. The liquor holder triggers Darren. He breaks into the mid-Ulster rustic love ballad 'I'll Make Love To You In The Henhouse (If You'll Only Egg Me On)'.
We are stopped outside the VIP lounge in Croker by Dr Mick Loftus brandishing a cordless Black and Decker. He wants to bore a hole in the Claret Jug. We escape just in time for the Cork v Down game.
Darren shouts "fore" when Graham Canty boots a clearance out over the sideline. Rory and G-Mac are Down supporters. "Get in the hole," they roar, when Benny Coulter takes a free. "Go left, go left."
The three agree with the nearby Rebel fans that Bernhard Langer was the best golfer ever to come out of Cork. We top up the Claret Jug. Mistake. Never mix wine and stout.
Some of us fail to make the cut for the weekend. As the three champs are introduced at half-time, I'm queuing up at A&E for a new liver.