Never Help a Friend in Need

Roy Wood may have made a few quid pretending he wished it was Christmas every day, but even thirty years ago that looked like a bluff to me! Celebrating Christmas once every five years would be more than enough for me, New Year’s Eve on the other hand is a totally different story, I’ve come to love it since we began spending the celebrations in Galway.

A few years ago, I met a guy called Eamonn in Galway during race week. Eamonn is a very talented musician who had started playing poker and invited us to a gig that he was playing in the Quays, with a woman called Michelle. They turned out to be brilliant and I found out that they were playing the same venue on New Year’s Eve, so it wasn’t hard to talk a bunch of my friends into making Galway the hot spot to kick off the New Year or in most cases, bury the last one!

On arrival at the Quays we were treated to the full VIP treatment, which meant free admission, not to mention being the only people at this venue with a reserved table. Occasionally however, this caused a few problems as they are not dreadfully civilized in Galway, which explains why they didn’t understand that we deserved this status and some of the unwashed seemed to think they should be allowed to use the table as well! The fact that the girls in our party were using it as a dance floor for the majority of the night, may also have contributed to the lack of respect for our privacy and one particular year it all went horribly wrong.

New Year’s Eve had started badly, in the afternoon I wandered into a bar in the Waterfront and found Rory Liffey and Jesse May flooring hot whiskeys, which looked like trouble as Liffey was the designated driver and Jesse is one of the world’s worst drinkers. Several hours later, my hunch was proved to be correct.

Shortly after midnight, the Quays party was in full swing. A very large gentleman who had consumed his fair share of alchohol, became involved an argument with Kevin O’Connell who is considerably smaller, but had probably drank just as much. Actually maybe Kev had consumed substantially more, as he invited this large guy outside to continue their discussion in the street, and off they went.

Unfortunately and against all the odds, Jesse had spotted what was going on and suggested we go to Kevin’s aid. I tried to explain to him how poor his idea was. My record in previous bouts was terrible, and we both knew by the time the guy had rolled down his sleeves, Jesse would be half-way to Salthill. Cowards are born, not made! I was wasting my time trying to dissuade Jeese and reluctantly agreed to check things, we could be there to summon medical attention or a hearse depending on which would be required. It wasn’t our fight, but a pal is a pal. When we got outside, there was no sign of Mr O’Connell anywhere, dead or alive.

We decided to go back into the club and rejoin what was left of our friends, but the bouncers became irritated and wouldn’t let us back in. Jesse didn’t know enough about these things and tried to argue his point with the doormen. I left him to it and decided to start the long walk to our hotel on my own, before I ended up choking him. It was freezing and I had about as much chance of catching a cab as I had of being dealt back to back royal flushes. After about ten minutes, I luckily bumped into a cousin of mine carrying a bottle of cheap wine, who was headed in the same direction. It was probably the equivalent of meeting a friend with a pig under his arm during a famine.

The next day we had discovered the outcome of ‘fight night’. Kev had indeed offered to take this large gentlemen outside but when they got to the door, he had opened it, politely let the other guy out first and then locked him out.

We’re heading off to Galway tomorrow! Eamonn’s gig is no more and has been replaced by the IPC as the excuse. This year I’m making my New Year’s resolutions early. Number one on the list will be: It’s every man for himself!