A ROUTINE Minor League Division 3 final in Parke last Sunday was the setting for the first ever recorded instance of streaking at a football match in Mayo.
The game was heading for an inevitable outcome of an Aghamore win over Crossmolina with 20 minutes remaining when the pitch was invaded dramatically by a teenage streaker.
Starting out from beside the ‘top’ goal – wearing nothing but a pair of runners and a black balaclava – he ran diagonally across the pitch, out the gate, into the car park and into a waiting car where a change of clothes awaited.
Conditions in Parke were not conducive to football on the day so, needless to say, streaking was not recommended. The streaker, who is believed to be from the Ballyhaunis area, was tracked down by The Mayo News last night. He admits the cold nearly got the better of him, especially waiting, minus his clothes, for the opportune moment to do his thing.
“It was freezing,” he said. “I was perched above behind the goal with no clothes on from near the start of the second half. I was ten minutes waiting for the call to go and it wasn’t the weather for that! I said I’d wait for the ball to go out of play. We had it organised perfectly. Three of us were working on it, one in the stand gave the shout to go and another was waiting in the car. It was complicated enough,” he recalled with a laugh.
Castlebar’s Jimmy Feeney was the referee on Sunday and admits that he was certainly caught off guard. “The crowd started roaring and I looked around, not sure what was going on. I thought it might have been a fight happening off the ball and next thing I saw your man running right up the pitch. He ran by me.
“It livened up a dull enough affair. The only thing I regret is that I didn’t think quickly because I should have taken the red card out and shown it to him. The crowd were in hysterics and they would have loved that,” he added.
Enda Lavelle, a member of the Crossmolina management, was another eye-witness. “He was the fastest person on the field all day,” he chuckled. “He was a lunatic. It was a cold day, we were perishing with clothes on us! It was fierce funny and entertaining, but it was a strange game to do it at. There weren’t 50 people there.”
But the streaker is no novice, this is the second time he has struck. Sunday’s incident is the first reported case but he made his streaking debut during a minor league game involving Aghamore away to Ballyhaunis in the summer of 2005.
“I did it the first time for money but this time I just did it for the craic,“ he explained. “I got €400 for it first time, loads of people threw in tenners and fivers. There’s good money in this crack, you could make a living out of it! I ran the length of the pitch, that was the condition of the bet, if I didn’t do it it was no deal.
“There was rakes of people at the first match, at least 300 if not 500. I’d say most people came to see me streak because a lot of people knew about it. It was a Bank Holiday Monday and I’d no job so I was strapped for cash. It was a handy way of making money, beats a lot of other jobs,” he smiled.
And as for anymore escapades, well the price has to be right for Mayo’s first ever streaker. “You never know I might be tempted to do it again. The pay conditions would have to be good though. Maybe The Mayo News might pay me if I put their logo on my back?”