The Irish Ripper (Chapter 3)

Four months back into the job, Sean was feeling somewhat down.  The job was just so boring, he needed something more.  There was none of the excitement of his old life.  Then as he was preparing his breakfast a news item on the radio piqued his interest.  It was short and was just after breaking but hinted at something more. 

  • A dead man and woman were found in a remote house near Wicklow Town last night.  The Gardai have opened a murder investigation.  They are not releasing any further details as of yet.  

It was very unusual to have multiple murders in one incident in Ireland.  It could have a gangland hit but the location seemed odd.  Sean put these thoughts to the back of mind and went off to work. 

The station was buzzing when he got there.  There were rumors that these murders were truly extraordinary in how horrific they were.  The bodies had been cut to pieces and left strewn around the house.  But Sean laughed, he knew to be wary of rumors he heard around the station.  Some Gardai had fascinating imagination. 

It was perhaps a strange twist of fate that Sean had by now become good friends with Garda Laura Mulhern and met her for his tea break whenever she was not on patrol.  Perhaps she felt guilty over what had happened but Sean who had never been that popular was happy to have someone to chat with whatever the reason.    

In truth, Sean thought she had felt sorry for him at first.  He had probably seemed lost.  But never guilt, he would have picked it up.  Then after chatting to him a few times she found herself looking forward to seeing him perhaps.  The chair had taken away some of his rougher edges and he was sure he seemed more agreeable and less cocky now.  She wasn’t the only one who probably thought so. 

Garda Jack Halpenny would also sometimes join them.  He could be outspoken at times and Sean was still trying to warm to him.  Previously they would have had no time for each other at all so it was also somewhat an improvement. 

That morning there was only one topic of discussion, the murders.   Jack was adamant, almost salivating that it must be linked to the gang warfare going on at the time. 

“A message is being sent to the wider population – Don’t cross us.  I’ve seen this kind of thing before on tv.   It has happened In Italy and Brazil. It’s not uncommon for whole families to be wiped out; in Italy, a young boy was kidnapped, tortured, murdered and then had his body dissolved in acid,” he said excitedly. 

“Well, I think it is just awful!  Imagine what those poor people went through, especially if it’s anything like the rumors suggests.  I shudder to even just think about it,” Laura interjected. 

Sean, for the most part, stayed silent, intrigued by what had happened and wanting to know more.  His old investigative instinct was awakening. 

The case was outside the jurisdiction of their station so ultimately, they would have to wait for the news that night on television like the rest of the country or at least that’s what they thought.  But a copy of the murder report came across Sean’s desk later that day due to his data entry role and relatively high rank.  It was marked “urgent”. 

It made for very disturbing reading and it was clear to Sean that this was no gangland hit but rather something else again and much worse.  The rumors were far more accurate than previously.  It had indeed been a bloodbath.  The pathologist still had to complete her examination but her preliminary notes stated that the male had his throat slit, while the woman had been stabbed multiple times and had her right breast removed and left on the kitchen table. 

Sean could barely believe what he was reading but he diligently entered it into the database.  He thought about how disgusted and paranoid the public would be when the details were reported.   

“Who would do such a thing?” he thought to himself. 

Really there was only one kind of person who would do it – a serial killer, he had read about them previously.  They were very rare in Ireland though.  But Sean knew there were officers already dealing with it.  There was no point him getting too hung up on it all; he just wished he was one of them. 

Once the clock hit five Sean rushed home from work anxious to see what was reported on the RTE news, only just about making it back in time.  But he was disappointed, it was only allocated a brief mention of two bodies, a murder investigation and nothing about the heinous nature of the murders was mentioned. 

He struggled to sleep that night.  Different thoughts kept racing through his head as if he could solve the murders by just lying there in his bed if he just tried hard enough.  Then he wondered why so much punishment was meted out to the woman but the man just had his throat slit.  Eventually, he managed to think about something else and fell asleep.  Little did he know what awaited him the next day. 

He had only wheeled into his office a few minutes when he was informed that the Superintendent wanted to see him in his office.  This was most unusual; he had only spoken to him a few times since his return and had never officially been requested to go to his office before.  He thought it better not to keep his superior waiting so off he went. 

He was immediately waved in and his superior closed the door behind them.  What followed was brief but to the point.   

“I’m guessing you have heard about the double homicide just outside Wicklow Town.  They had no records Sean, not even a parking ticket.  There is nothing to suggest that these people are anything other than totally innocent victims.  It appears that they were selected at random.  I’ve never seen anything like this before; the poor woman was butchered.  The Gardai will do everything possible to apprehend whatever monster is responsible as quickly as possible,” said the Superintendent sternly, his face grimacing. 

“Due to your rank and your familiarity with the National Criminal Database; I’ve been told your something of a dab hand you are being given a key role in keeping it updated with new information about the case and setting the correct security clearances for each piece.  Although the murders had been in Wicklow, the next murders if any could be in another county and it is important that the Gardai are able to link them.” 

Sean then stated that he had already begun to do so, with the first document arriving the previous day.  The Superintendent nodded saying it must have been sent right after he received the phone call.  He then said it was important to keep his role quiet, that he didn’t want other personnel in the station becoming distracted to which Sean nodded in agreement. 

Three days later Sean received the full report from the pathologist.  By now more details had been circulated in the news media about the victims.  They were husband and wife, both in their late twenties.  The news stated that the details of their murders were too gruesome to report.  He was an engineer and she a nurse. 

Dutifully Sean scanned the report and uploaded it on to the database with the highest-level clearance required to read it.  It made for somber reading.  The man had been constrained with rope in a chair for up to two hours prior to death and died about an hour after his wife.  She had endured the most brutality.   She had been raped `multiple times prior to her death for up to two hours.  The cause of death was multiple stab wounds with her body mutilated afterward.  Of note, some of her genital hair had been removed as well as her right breast.  Unfortunately, no fingerprints had been left at the scene.  This killer was very meticulous. 

Sean almost got sick looking at the photos.  They were unlike anything he had seen previously and he wondered if he would need counseling by the end of the Investigation.  But mostly, he felt pity for what the two people had gone through; the pain and terror they endured. 

He wanted to share what he knew with his colleagues especially Laura but he remembered what his superior had told him.  It was a lonely experience but he resigned himself to it.  At least he felt that he was close to being at the heart of things again. 

After a few weeks, the case slowly faded from the news and as a topic of general conversation.  There was a hope that it was just a gruesome once-off event.  Instead, the crime news was saturated by the gang warfare in Dublin.  A bullet in the head here and a knifing over there. 

One day in Croker (Pt. 8)

Aoife found herself tapping the steering wheel once more. Looking left, then right. No sign of her sister. The radio was full of Westmeath people describing this as the best day of their lives. Aoife’s mind began thinking of home, the crowds in Mullingar town park, and the roars of joy on Mount Street..

Bang, bang.

It was Yvonne and Aoife quickly opened the car door so she could sit beside her.

“Well, you finally came!”

“I knew you’d want time with your lover boy.”

“What are you on about Yvonne?”

“You make it so obvious Aoife. Wheelchair or no wheelchair, you were undressing him with your eyes. It was embarrassing”

“I was not, I”

“It’s okay. He looks much better than the last guy, I’ll give ya dat. And I do want to see you happy, even if you’re my weirdo sister.”

“Will ya be quiet Yvonne. Come on it’s time to go do some celebrating.”

As she pulled off in the car, she hoped she’d come across okay to Stephen. A trip to Kerry would be something to look forward to.

The Irish Ripper (Chapter 2)

Sean was delighted to finally leave the hospital.  It had taken some planning of course.  Adjustments had to be made to his house and a home help was organized to help him keep the house clean.  He quickly accepted that from now on, he would only be living in the bottom half of his house.  Upstairs would henceforth, be only a place of his memories. 

His life was still far from the ideal of course.  At least he had a downstairs toilet, as small as it was but no shower.  It would be difficult to keep himself presentable.  Then for a few weeks, there was the boredom.  He had nothing to get up for in the morning and worried that the Gardai would be unable to find a position for him.  He couldn’t see any chance of anybody else giving him a job and he needed some purpose to fill his day. 

Occasionally when it looked like it would remain dry, he would venture out into the outside world.  It was a struggle to push his wheelchair around the neighborhood and it wasn’t long before he knew where all the ramps to get on and off the footpaths were and were not, something that he had never thought about before.  His hands would be sore on his return though so he only went out once a day at most.  

Sometimes the kids would point and ask their parents questions when they saw him.  That used to happen when he was in uniform too but this felt different and his heart now felt crushed every time.   

The questions now were – 

What happened to him? 

Was he born that way? 

The parents would hurriedly tell them to be quiet but the damage was done.  Sean knew that this was something he would just have to get used to. 

But there were positive reactions too.  Some of his neighbors made an effort to get out of their cars and houses to come and tell him how happy they were to see him make a recovery.  It warmed his heart, much more than he would have ever thought possible to know that members of his wider community were rooting for him. 

After a few weeks, he grew anxious to see a bit more of the world than his immediate locality.  There was only one way to do this and that was to get back into a car and drive.  His insurance company had given him a substantial payout after his accident, some of which he used to purchase an adapted car.  For weeks it had sat idly in his driveway.   

Sean had ignored it until then.  Now it was goading him that it wanted to be used and he could take it no more.  One Monday morning he summoned up all his courage and strength to get into it.  A physiotherapist had previously shown him the method to use.   Park his wheelchair beside the door; then launch himself using his hands before folding up the wheelchair and lifting into a secure spot in the car behind his seat. 

It all seemed so easy in theory but Sean was worried about the embarrassment if someone saw him fail attempting the maneuvers.  But he proceeded nonetheless.  He gave it everything.  It proved to be as physically demanding as he thought it would be but he did it.  Hopefully, it would get easier with practice he thought to himself.  Then he closed the car door and went for a drive. 

He was nervous the whole time, worried that a car would veer into him again.  But he knew that if he wanted a future, this was something he had to do.  He drove for over an hour wanting to see if much had changed; through the city center and passed his Garda station to which he hoped to return.  Part of him wanted to go in and say hello to everyone but he thought it best to leave it for now.   The street was busy and he wondered how he would manage when he did go back to work. 

But he also drove past some of the main hotspots of crime in the city.  The socially deprived inner-city flat complexes and the secret brothels that lay just behind some of Dublin’s busiest streets.  The memories flooded back, some of them good and some that he’d rather forget.  He felt a pang of regret for some of the things he had done especially since he had been treated so well since the accident.  All he could do is to try and be better in the future. 

Just as well nobody spotted him, he thought to himself as he began his journey back to his house.  When he reached it, he felt an immense sense of accomplishment.  But he was emotionally drained.  A million different thoughts ran through his head about his past and what the future had in store for him.  Exhausted, he went straight to bed. 

A few weeks later, he got the call that he was hoping for.  It was the Chief Superintendent and the news was good.  Sean was to start back at work the following Monday.  With a sense of elation, he told the Superintendent that he’d be there.  Finally, Sean felt that everything might just work out for him.  That the crash might just be a footnote in his life. 

The days passed quickly for Sean and it was Monday morning before he knew it.  The elation had now turned to nervousness.  Sean knew that it was an important day, he felt that he had to prove that he could still be useful to the force.  Living on the Disability Allowance for the rest of his life would be a miserable existence. 

Fortunately, he had spent the last few days practicing his new routine and was now much more proficient at getting over bumps in his wheelchair and getting in and out of the car.  So off he went.  The traffic was horrible but he had left early to make sure he had enough time.  It was a nice, bright day.  He could feel his heart beating as the station came into view. 

Fortunately, the wheelchair space at the front of the station was free and he quickly parked up.  Just as well because he wasn’t sure what to do if it was taken.  He just counted his blessings and got out of the car as quickly as possible.  He was conscious that he was wearing his Garda uniform and didn’t want any awkward stares so he quickly went up the side ramp.  The front door was heavy and he only just managed to open it and go inside. 

It led him straight into the main reception area.  It was busy with five people already seated in the waiting area.  Sean felt awkward and tried to avoid eye contact.  Fortunately, there was a Garda at the reception who immediately opened a side door into their offices and told him to come in and that the Superintendent would be with him shortly. 

It was still exactly as he remembered it, rows of desks with vintage computers and scattered paper was strewn everywhere.  There were not many people in yet, it was still quite early.  It was quite some time before the Superintendent finally appeared but when he did, it was with a warm smile and firm handshake.  The office was busier by then and starting to burst into life. 

The Superintendent told him that it would be best to speak in his office so Sean followed him there down a narrow corridor.  It was a small room, especially considering his position but Sean managed to squeeze in past a table. 

For the next thirty minutes, they chatted about Sean’s new role at the Station.  There was good and bad news.  The good news was that they had an office ready waiting for him.  There was a disabled toilet close by and the Gardai were prepared to do whatever it took to make sure he was a success.  Much to Sean’s relief there was a parking spot reserved for him around the back of the station.  He was given a key so he could swipe through the barrier.  He could wear civilian clothes, which was good because he had found the uniform quite stiff and cumbersome to put on that morning.  Anyway, he never had to wear it in his old role anyway.  But there was bad news too, although Sean had expected it.  He would, for the time being, have no investigative role, it would be more of a processing role, updating records on the Garda databases. 

The reason Sean had become a Garda was that he didn’t want an office job where he would be stuck in front of a computer screen.  He wanted something that bit different and more exciting but times had changed and he told him that he was happy with what they had arranged. 

Then the Superintendent showed him to his new desk.  It was in a small, cramped room at the very back of the station with just enough room to maneuver the wheelchair, but it was adequate and Sean was certain he could make it work.  His first batch of paperwork to process had been left beside the computer.  The Superintendent told him he would check in with him in a few days but Sean told him he would be fine.  There was nothing left to do now but get on with it. 

One day in Croker (Part 7)

Aoife couldn’t remember the last time she felt so good. Between Westmeath winning and managing to find Stephen, she was on a real natural high. The sweat was pumping off her from the heat and pushing the wheelchair but that didn’t even bother her.

“You must be feeling on top of the world with the win and everything. I don’t begrudge you your bit of happiness.”

“Ah thanks Stephen. Sure, I’m sure Kerry will be back next year.”

“We have more than just the football in Kerry to keep us happy, you know. You should come down and pay us a visit. There is beautiful scenery, music and even a bit of hurling too. Isn’t that right Stephen?” said James, panting somewhat.

“Yes, you should. We’d look after you for a few days, no problem. Even if you are from Westmeath.”

“Ah thanks guy, I’d love that.”

She stopped and tilted his wheelchair backwards to get over a little bump and onto the footpath. Shortly, they were back to where she had originally met them.

“We’re just over there to the left of that building under the big tree,” said Stephen.

A few minutes later they were there and Stephen readied to transfer in the car. She sensed that he was nervous to do it in front of her.

“You must give me your number in case I decide to visit.”

She usually wasn’t so forward, but felt the need to seize the moment.

“Cool, hope you do.”

He then called out his number and she rang him so that she would have hers. They then thanked her and she left to go to her own car and see if she could locate her sister.

The Irish Ripper (Chapter 1)

(Warning: Very strong violence and horror)

A new chapter will become available each week. If you can’t wait, it can be purchased on Amazon.


He always knew that he was a monster; one that had been caged for far too long.  He could still see her face of horror while he held a knife to her throat and cut open her clothes.  It was exhilarating, like nothing he had experienced before as his hands felt every part of her slim body; her sense of horror magnifying his sexual pleasure ever higher as he entered her.  It was only a matter of time he knew before he would need to repeat this experience. 

It had taken weeks of preparation.  She and her husband’s routines had been closely monitored.  The times they both left the house in the morning, where she went, the times they came home, ensuring that he could get into the house quickly.  Her most vulnerable time had been selected, once her husband had walked out the door on a weekday morning. 

At first, she was stunned wondering how a strange man could suddenly appear in front of her.  In her bedroom nonetheless, where she would have felt at her safest.  Her maternal instinct kicked in once she saw the knife and heard her newborn crying in the other room.  She was prepared to do anything to ensure his safety. 

So, she complied as he tied her up and then raped her.  Terrified, she tried not to cry or look into the masked man’s eyes.  Eventually, after he was satisfied and having eaten a nice ham sandwich, he took a memento to remember her by and left as silently as he had entered. 

Chapter 1

It was the thrill of the conquest that excited him most.  Yes, she was quite attractive but it was the chase that made it that bit extra special; taking advantage of prostitutes was just too easy.  She had been obstinate not wanting to go for drinks and wanting to keep a so-called “professional” distance for so long. 

That just further piqued his interest.  So, he found some reason to start texting her and then after some bad experiences with other men, the pathway opened for him.  She knew what he was like though as he had a dire reputation in the station so there was always a risk his night would not turn out as planned.  As a precaution, he had brought two bottles of wine to loosen things up in case of an emergency. 

It had been a long day of investigating robberies and drug offenses or so he liked to tell people, so he hoped that she wasn’t the type to draw things out.  Better to get straight down to business.  But she did like talking so he was apprehensive.  There was so much that could potentially be discussed. 

The gang warfare in Dublin had now reached epidemic proportions.  Three men shot dead in a week and a city on edge.  It didn’t bother him much personally though, just less scum on the street.  So long as there was someone left standing afterward to shakedown.  But it was all that people wanted to talk about and how terrible it all was.  There was the odd innocent person who had been shot too, just going about their daily activities and it had instilled a bit of fear into everyone in the city. 

He needed a good night to lighten his mood and was thankful it was a Friday.  Of all the places to be stationed, the inner city would have been his last choice.  Hopefully, a transfer to somewhere down the country wasn’t too far into his future. 

Garda Laura Mulhern had joined the force two years previously.  It had always been her dream to be a Garda for as long as she could remember.  There turned out to be quite the difference between the dream and the reality though.  Perhaps even as a recruit, she had been somewhat naïve.  She thought her days would be filled with a sense of accomplishment but the reality seemed like an endless and thankless battle against peoples’ love of drugs. 

Her love life was now running in parallel with her job satisfaction.  She remembered how in her teenage years she thought she would have met the man of her dreams by now and be well settled.  He was to be tall and muscular but at all times loving.  But life hadn’t turned out that way.  The men she had met, had turned out to be quite a disappointment in fact.  Sometimes she pondered if it was something about her, but her friends’ similar stories told her otherwise. 

There were the guys who tried to get her drunk so they could cop a quick feel or maybe more, the ones who pretended to care about her but were gone the next morning and worst of all, the ones who didn’t like to take no for an answer.  So much for romance. 

She had already felt herself harden over the years.  Now she just wanted some sex.  Detective Garda Sean O’Callaghan would not have been her first choice but he was readily available.  He had a terrible reputation but a good one for technique in the sack and that she had convinced herself was all she wanted. 

Then the sound of the door-bell rang and Laura felt a tinge of excitement as she opened the door.  There he was standing awkwardly at the door.  He went to speak but she shushed him with a kiss, then led him inside the house by the hand. 

There would be no chit chat and both knew they merely satisfying their most debase instincts.  She brought him straight to her bedroom and quickly began to undress.   For a brief moment, he admired what stood in front of him.   Her hair, which was usually bundled together now almost reached her petite but perky breasts.  The body was toned and athletic. 

She was not quite as impressed as he quickly took off his clothes to reveal a podgy, hairy body but there was no point pulling out now as their bodies embraced on the bed.  His hands quickly fumbled their way to her breasts while she closed her eyes to let her senses take over. 

Soon she felt his tongue titillating her, much to her joy.  It was what she loved best.  Then she felt his penis enter her as their bodies grinded together.  This was what he had fantasized about for months.  His mind drifted to the first time they met.  That innocent smile, he just knew he had to have her.  Then after just a few minutes, he climaxed, the perfect ending to his day. 

But for her, the experience ended all too quickly as he collapsed on the bed beside her.  It had not been what she had waited for and she definitely didn’t expect to have to share the bed for the night.  But all he talked about was what a long day it had been and how he was so tired.  So, he just promptly wrapped up the sheets around himself and promptly fell fast asleep.  Not wanting to be rude she bit her lip, silently telling herself not to repeat this experience. 

As Sean opened his eyes that morning, he briefly wondered where he was.  But then his fond memories of the night before flooded back.  He wondered if she would be open to another go-round, but she flinched into a ball when he touched her.  It didn’t bother him much as he had a busy Saturday ahead and he didn’t want to miss his early morning five a side soccer. 

So out he went with a pep in his step closing the door quietly behind him, his masculinity and confidence renewed.  Laura, on the other hand, was just happy he was gone.  She enjoyed sex but sharing a bed was not what she considered a good Saturday morning sleep in.  It was bad enough having to put up with birds singing. 

As Sean closed the front door behind him, he was met by the first warm rays of a summer morning and the smell of freshly cut grass from the evening before.  If only every morning could be like this, he thought to himself as he got into his car.  It was still pleasantly cool in the car.  Then it was just a matter of turning on the GPS, which had proved more than useful in the past for finding the homes of strange women.  Now it was for the more mundane use of finding a soccer match. 

He turned the ignition and drove out the driveway, wondering what awaits him today.  Saturday had always been his favorite day of the week, but this day felt extra special given his conquest the previous night.  There was little traffic at this early hour and he felt it wouldn’t take long before he reached his destination. 

Then his mood suddenly changed as a car veered straight into him.  There had been no time for him to react.  It swerved at the last second from the other side of a straight stretch of road and plowed into him.  Sean was certain that he was experiencing the last few microseconds of his life as he watched the cars collide.  Then he lost consciousness for what he thought would be the last time.   

It was just a faint noise at first but that was the first thing that registered in Sean’s mind in weeks.  It still took some time for his consciousness to coalesce around it.  There had been nothing, but now there was something. 

Eventually, his mind wondered where it was and he tried to open his eyes.  But he grew tired and fell back into a slumber.  But the important thing was that he had a thought.  An unseen first milestone in his recovery. 

Days passed and he had more thoughts.  Then he managed to open an eyelid, but quickly closed it when what seemed to be bright light shone in.  Sean gathered that he was still alive and wondered what sort of state he was in.  He opened both his eyes now eager to find out more.  They adjusted to the light but disappointingly, all he could see as a ceiling.  He tried to roar out but there was something stuck in his throat. 

Hours seemed to pass before a face appeared over him.  It was that of a middle-aged woman who gave him a big smile and told him that he was in intensive care in a hospital.  Unbeknown to him she was the intensive care nurse who had diligently checked for any sign of movement from the first night he had entered the hospital. 

She tried to reassure him that everything would be okay and to rest.  She heard him mumbling something about not being able to feel his legs.  But she didn’t want to be the one to tell him that permanent damage had been done.  Better for the doctor to do that. 

After a few minutes, he fell back asleep.  She had seen all of this before.  He would be much more awake the next day.  Better schedule his consultant to come in to talk to him. 

Her instinct proved to be correct.  The next day Sean was full of questions especially after the feeding tube was removed.  It didn’t take long for the nurses to summon the doctor.  It was not the news that Sean had wanted to hear.  The broken ribs and leg didn’t bother him but the broken back most definitely did.  It was an L1 complete injury.  A lumbar nerve, located in the lower half of his spine had been severed.  He would need to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life and would never again have voluntary control of his bladder or bowel. 

Sean had always seen himself as a ladies’ man and it was crushing to hear that he would need Viagra to maintain any sort of erection in the future and would never again experience the ecstasy of ejaculation.  It was hard for him to see how any woman would ever love him again.  With that, any chance of children and leaving a lasting legacy to the world would also be gone.  Guess that was his job in the Gardai gone too, he thought to himself.  No more running after drug dealers or investigating robberies.   

Instead, the highlight of his day would be emptying his bladder and bowel.  The fact that he would be able to do this for himself seemed to be something the doctor thought should bring a smile to his face but it didn’t.  The useless cripple wanted everyone to know nothing about this situation was okay.  They should have let him die. 

Sean then asked the doctor if he knew what had happened to cause the accident.  The other driver had fallen asleep at the wheel.  His toxicology report had shown very high levels of alcohol, meth, and cocaine in his blood.  He must have been out all night. 

Days, weeks and then months passed but he found himself with a never-ending sense of melancholy.  The only occasion lift in his mood was when he felt something tangible had been achieved like when he left the intensive care unit and went onto the ward or when the pretty physiotherapist first showed up to discuss his rehabilitation. 

The excitement had always quickly worn out.  For instance, the happiness at leaving intensive care was tempered by how long he found out he would be staying in the ward.  Months, not the weeks he had expected.  Similarly, he didn’t realize at first just how difficult his rehabilitation would prove to be. 

Then one day the Chief Superintendent of his Garda station showed up at the bottom of his bed in full uniform.  His name was Liam Toland, a tall man approaching retirement.  They would not have been friends; he had been too austere and serous for Sean’s liking.  Previously a meeting like this would be a cause for angst but Sean was happy to see him.  It was an official visit.  Sean immediately raised his arm to salute, but it was waved down as he went to sit down beside him. 

For the next half hour to hour, the superintendent just talked away telling him that he was missed in the station, that the gang warfare was as brutal as ever and that some of the other officers would be into him over the next few days, now that he was doing a bit better.  But most happily of all, there would be a job for him to go back to when he was better. 

It turned out to be true.  Over the next few days, Sean did have more visitors, even from Garda Mulhern who told him she felt guilty over what had happened.  If only she had been friendlier that morning, maybe this would never have happened.  But Sean would have none of it, telling her that it was just one of those things. 

The visits lifted Sean’s spirits.  The only other visitors he had were from his elderly parents and they only managed to make it a handful of times.  Now he began to feel that he was no longer so alone, that he was part of something bigger and that he had a future. 

He now put all his efforts into his recovery, doing whatever he was asked.  Over time he felt himself growing stronger.  Then one day it was time for the nurses to get him into a manual wheelchair and wheel himself around.  He had steeled himself psychologically for this day.  It would not be a day of regret but the first day of the rest of his life.  Finally, he got perspective on where his bed was compared to everything else.    

The nurses insisted that he get back into his bed after an hour but the duration grew longer with each day.  Soon they stopped monitoring him altogether and it was left up to him how long he wanted to spend in it.  Then they expected him to get in and out of the bed himself as well.  It was now time for him to go home. 

One day in Croker (Part 6)

Her heart sank when she saw that they had already left. For a brief moment she wondered what she should do. The crowd on the pitch showed no signs of dissipating. She reckoned that they wouldn’t have gone far ahead and her sister knew where the car was parked. So, she walked out the back of the stand and started walking down the long set of concrete ramps.

Every Westmeath supporter she passed shouted “Up Westmeath” at her. The Kerry supporters were much quieter.

Just as she made the final corner, she could see them in the distance. It didn’t take her long to catch up.

“Hey guys! Hope you are not too disappointed.”

Jimmy stopped and looked round but Stephen immediately replied, “Sure, we’ll be back next year.”

“Do you want me to push Jimmy?”

“Oh good to see you again. That would be great. I’m really struggling in this heat.”

With that, she took over.

“Your getting old, dear uncle.”

“Not at all, nephew. Your just getting heavier.”

They all laughed.

“Good, to see you again Aoife, Thought you had forgotten us.”

“Oh I wouldn’t forget you Stephen.”

With that he reached his right arm back and she shook his hand. It was softer than she had expected.

One day in Croker (Pt. 5)

The match restarted just as Aoife sat down.

“Find them okay?” her sister asked speaking loudly into her ear.

She nodded in the affirmative.

Kerry scored a goal two minutes later. Her heart sank. Then they scored two more points and she started looking at the sky. Anywhere, but the pitch.

For many minutes nothing happened. Kerry began to kill the game, hand-passing the ball back and forth trying to coax the Westmeath players from their defensive positions. The game was drifting away.

Then Westmeath won possession in midfield and quickly attacked. It was Dolan who won possession, who hand passed to Sheerin. Then a long kick pass to Ahern who swiveled and rifled it into the net. Aoife jumped for joy.

It was all Westmeath now, dominating every aspect of play.

The crowd roared on each point. They drew level and then pulled ahead.

Then the final whistle blew. Westmeath were the new All-Ireland Football Champions.

Tears of joy rolled down Aoife as she hugged all those around her. The crowd emptied onto the field forming a huge mass of people with chants of “Westmeath, Westmeath”.

The minutes flew by as the victory speech in the opposite stand began.

Tá an-áthas orm an corn seo a ghlacadh..”

Then Aoife thought of Stephen. She looked around but couldn’t see her sister.

She found herself walking up the stand to go look for him.

One day in Croker (Pt. 4)

Aoife walked up the steps of the stand. The crowd was more subdued now that play was stopped. She reached the top and looked to her right. She could see Stephen and his uncle in the distance. For a brief moment she paused, not quite sure of herself before pressing onwards.

“Hi Stephen, what did you think of that?”

“Oh, hello, good to see you again. Not too impressed. You must be happy though.”

Then James spoke.

“I thought yous were not going to show up at all there for a while.”

“Yeah, I was a bit worried there for a while. But, we got going. Fingers crossed, we’ll get there in the end.”

They all began to laugh in friendly banter.

“Our forwards are looking better, the more it went on. I don’t know though, Kerry are good. Look I better head back. But I’ll be up after the match to help ye get back to car, alright?”

“Okay, we’ll see you then,” James replied with a smile.

“Yeah, see you after the Kerry victory speech,” Stephen said with a wide grin.

“Ya, git” Aoife replied gently prodding his shoulder.

With that, she turned and made her way back to her seat for the second half. There was a loud roar as the players re-entered the pitch.

One day in Croker (Pt. 3)

The match was about to begin and with it, the hopes and dreams of every Westmeath man and woman. Here, in the majestic and forbidding Croke Park, which was festooned in maroon, green, and gold. Impatient gasps and shouting broke out. Then, with a blow of the referee’s whistle, there was a roar of eighty thousand souls.

“Calm down Aoife, there is seventy minutes to go,” Yvonne laughed.

It was answered with a nervous smile.

Kerry took an early lead and were four points up after the quarter hour mark.

There was a deathly silence from the Westmeath supporters.

Then Aoife began to chant.

Westmeath, Westmeath, Westmeath..

Others joined in and then it sounded like the entire stadium.

Then Westmeath scored a brace of points and drew level.

The game then went back and forth with long stretches of hand passes.

Shouts of –

“Kick the feckin’ thing” went up.

Each team scored two further point before the whistle was blown for half time.

“I might pop up and see if James and Stephen are okay.”

“Yeah, right Aoife. I saw the way you looked at him.”


“You fancy him. Go on, off you go.”

Aoife looked dismissively at her sister.

“I’ll be back in a few mins.”

Review of Wednesday (TV series Netflix)

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. What is that Mark fellow, who let’s face it could be described at best as being middle-aged doing watching a fantasy coming-of-age story about a teenage girl. Is he off his rocker again? Maybe, I even deserve your ridicule.

But, trust me when I tell you that I have no regrets whatsoever. Okay, you have to understand its fantasy and just run with it. The star of the show is Wednesday Addams, played by the wonderful Jenna Ortega. Remember the name. As anybody who has watched any Addams family will know, Wednesday is full of woe.

But this series develops her character significantly. And she has been sent to a school full of werewolves and other monsters. Yes, she is full of woe but deep down she does care deeply about those around her. This comes as a surprise to her, but you and the other characters can sense it. Not that she’ll ever be lovey dovely. Her disdain for her parents is very amusing. Her psychic abilities and curiosity drive her to find out who has been behind recent murders near the school. All very bloody, I like it.

The story builds through each episode. And, of course there is romance, this being a show about teenagers after all. Not too much thank God. That sort of thing is so last century.

There are lots of other memorable characters also such as Enid Sinclair, her colourful roommate, who is still to undergo her first wolf out. Talk about teenage angst.

Thankfully, virtue signalling and wokeness are absent. Yes, it could be seen as feminist, but it doesn’t have any man hate in it.

I was delighted to hear there is going to be a second series. Five stars out of five. Now, you know what to watch this weekend.