Sunday 14 October 2007

Titbits From Cork - Summer 2007

Titbits From Cork - Summer 2007
By Mick McCloskey

Although tournament poker can be a serious business, the social side attached to it can throw up some lighter moments. Here are a few from the recent festival at The Macau Club in Cork. Funnily enough, they all relate to local bars, in one way or another.
The first happened in broad daylight, before any alcohol consumption had taken place, when a group of mostly English players went to look for a hostelry where they could get a spot of lunch. On being told that the lunch service had just finished and that the evening service had not yet begun, the group turned and left to find somewhere else. One unfortunate player, who shall remain nameless, save to say that he might have some furry relations residing on Wimbledon Common, failed to notice a metal bollard at the edge of the pavement just outside the pub and managed to collide with it , at just under waist height. As he ended up bent double in severe pain in a very tender area of his anatomy, he got very little sympathy from his companions or from passers by, who laughed and applauded at his predicament. I think he recovered, although he seemed to be walking a bit funny for the rest of his visit.
Another little incident seemed to amuse some of the players who heard about it, which seemed to include just about every body. I was in a pub close to the club one night when I ran into Michael Greco and local player Kieran “Flipper” Walsh. The two lads were discussing the very serious business of whether the very pretty girl sitting at the bar with her boyfriend, had hair extensions or not. A wager was agreed upon, I was handed the money to hold and I agreed to go and find out the answer to this important question. An innocent enough proposition I thought to myself as I approached the couple at the bar. I had got as far as saying “Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt, but,” when the boyfriend glared ominously at me and growled “I would advise you to just walk away….now.” I need no second invitation, so the answer to the vexed question never was found.
After the final of the main event, I found myself in the bar of the local hotel, where most of the visiting players were staying, helping to celebrate with some of the money winners. As it was after regular pub opening hours, the barman was being pretty strict about serving hotel residents only. To this end, he had a list of residents’ names and room numbers and was checking through the list as people ordered a drink. One of the guests was none other than Ken Doherty, former World Snooker Champion and one of Irelands best known sports stars, celebrating his 5th place finish in the main event. As Ken went to order a drink, the assembled company were amused as the barman asked for his room number. We were even more amused when Ken gave his room number and the barman then said “And your name?” I think the barman caught on fairly quickly as Ken was soon surrounded by numerous female admirers looking for his autograph and for photographs with him. I’m not quite sure how Michael Greco, who was also in the company, felt about all this as he went unrecognised and ignored by all the female fans!

Finally, I wonder how long we will have to wait to again have two Irish born, Irish Open Champions in the same year (2007). Congratulations to Padraig Harrington (golf) and Marty Smyth (poker) the current Irish Open title holders.

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