The Longshot: 1, 2, 11, and 26 cheers for the ultimate four-timer

Robert O'Shea: The lines don't matter when the right balls come up in the lottery or wrong balls come out of the belly of a fish
The Longshot: 1, 2, 11, and 26 cheers for the ultimate four-timer

West Limerick man Paul Mullins celebrating his €330,000 win from Boylesports last Friday night.

WE are always delighted when a friend of this page has a bit of good luck and gives the bookies a bit of a battering.

But it’s fair to say no one is likely to top the touch that Paul Mullins had over the weekend at Boylesports’ expense.

It was only earlier this summer that Paul told me that doing the Lotto itself was a mug's game and you got far better odds wagering on the numbers in a betting shop.

While I did take his point, I also assumed the odds were still too astronomical to be worth getting involved in it. 

When he picked out 1, 2, 11, and 26 to come up on the Euromillions last Friday, the odds he received at the Newcastle West branch of the Irish bookmakers were 33,000/1. Paul put down a tenner. I’m pretty sure they now rank as his favourite four numbers.

The 43 other Irish people who matched four numbers (they got to pick five) on Friday night playing the official lottery game made 11,000 times less than Paul. In other words, €30.

Paul is a great guy and I’m not just saying that because he so very recently won hundreds of thousands of euro. He also found me an elusive ticket for the All-Ireland football final this summer so he was up there in the Man of the Year nominations for me already. Although I am a little sore he didn't give me a heads up that he fancied those particular numbers!

Paul is originally from the village of Ardagh, best known for another famous treasure strike, when the chalice was found there 154 years ago.

He spent over three decades working on the east coast of the US before returning home in recent years and is now the owner of the Glen Bar in Kilmeedy in West Limerick. He says he plans to first invest some of his winnings in a few greyhound pups.

Onetwoeleventwentysix might not be a bad name for one of them.

Like life, angling is about staying on the right course

LAST week, after a brief look at how scientists are now in training to deflect gigantic space rocks from possibly ending all life on earth, and also at the controversy shaking the world of chess, we mentioned that this week we would focus on the mostly overlooked skill of stone skimming, as we believe many minority sports receive far too little coverage in the "mainstream media".

Some readers probably thought we were not being serious. We were. However, news hot from the banks of the also often ignored world of competitive fishing means we will have to skip that story and revisit another day.

Fishing, unless you are swaying on a trawler, is meant to be a relaxing pastime. Until recently, my only experience of gripping a rod had been on a couple of occasions when I was launched out to sea on a boat with a bunch of equally clueless pals.

But a few weeks ago my wife’s cousin finally agreed to honour a decade-old promise to take me fishing on a river. (I was supposed to go fishing on a stream with one of my good friends 30 years ago, but as it was the summer and I was a teenager, he called too early (noon) for me to be excited enough to leave my bed. We drifted apart after my no-show and in the following years he apparently found alcohol and then religion and I’ve always felt slightly responsible for both his fall and redemption.) 

On a recent Sunday I received a text saying we would head off whenever I was finished work, which was 6.30pm. I thought that was a bit late. When he hadn’t arrived by 10pm I thought it was extremely late. Apparently, that’s the time you want to go trout-fishing, as that’s when they’re bitin’, but as we headed off in the darkness in an old car he had borrowed so he could fit in the rods, it all had a bit of a mafia hit feel to it.

There was a bit of a quid pro quo to the outing as he was getting married the following Friday and wanted some advice on his groom’s speech so we spent much of the hour by the river, reeling, casting and thanking various people.

At one stage I asked my wife’s cousin if he had ever tickled a trout (which I thought was a thing) and he didn’t say anything for several minutes.

In the end, I managed to catch two small trout, one that was too small and had to be flung back and one just big enough to feed someone who was quite hungry.

My instructor took my slippery, shimmying fish and slapped the crap out of it on a rock. Then I stood for a very dark picture where you couldn’t make out me but you could just make out the fish’s brains.

Other than that gruesome ending, it was somewhat relaxing. As fishing is meant to be.

But just as the world of chess was shook by accusations involving anal beads, competitive fishing is reeling from actual proof of cheating, bizarrely enough, also with balls being stuck into orifices.

The would-be winners of an almost $30,000 top prize at an Ohio fishing tournament in the US were disqualified last Friday after it was discovered their fish were stuffed with weights.

The lead balls and fish fillets that were used to increase the weight of tournament catch in the US. Pic: Jason Fischer
The lead balls and fish fillets that were used to increase the weight of tournament catch in the US. Pic: Jason Fischer

The moment the cheater is rumbled is doing the rounds on several viral videos on social media, which show the suspicious accuser, the tournament director named Fischer (yes, that's his name), slicing open their catch with a knife and pulling out lead balls and loose fish fillets. The cheaters have won several other tournaments recently, amassing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and are now expected to have to pay it all back.

Even as a single-digits river angler, I can say that’s not what fishing is about. It’s about being cold and uncomfortable and worrying you might mess up your trainers if you slip into the water. It’s about not casting the fly all the way to opposite bank (which is apparently a big no-no, even worse than hooking a tree branch). And finally it’s about forgetting about the trout in the fridge until it stinks so bad you have to throw it out.

Hat-tricks and Hatters

Two hat-tricks really is a bit of overkill. One would have done just fine.

And that would have meant that City-United would have ended in a 3-3 draw, which would’ve meant our three-timer including Luton and Arsenal wins would have clicked at 27/1.

Luton were the first to do the business on Friday evening away to Hull and were bolstered in their efforts when the Humbersiders jettisoned their manager that morning.

The Hatters are on the box again tonight, when they take on Huddersfield, the side that edged them for a place in the Championship playoff final last season. The Terriers have been in shoddy shape with just one win in their last five, and four defeats.

Add in an appetite for revenge and Luton at 4/5 at home for three league wins in a row looks a decent bet.

 — LIVERPOOL’S last-minute winner against Ajax in their last Champions League match means the Reds know a couple of wins in their next two fixtures against Rangers should leave them well placed to top the group.

They go into the game with injuries to Scotsman and Celtic fan Andy Robertson, as well as Naby Keita. Roberto Firmino scored twice at the weekend as Liverpool drew 3-3 with Brighton at home.

Rangers need to take something from tonight to be in with a chance of qualifying or even finishing third after two defeats from two so far. Liverpool are 1/7 to win.

— ERLING HAALAND is ravaging defences in the Premier League a bit like a sixth year playing with first years.

City have the minor obstacle of FC Copenhagen to overcome tomorrow. The last time they met was the 2009 UEFA Cup campaign when Mark Hughes’s men won 4-3 on aggregate in the last 32. It won’t be so close over the next two games. The Danes are 35/1 to win at the Etihad.

— BARCELONA moved to the top of La Liga after their 1-0 win over Mallorca at the weekend and Real Madrid’s 1-1 draw against Osasuna.

Despite problems off the field, Barca can rely on Robert Lewandowski to get them goals. The Polish striker has just Messi and Ronaldo ahead of him in the all-time Champions League goalscoring chart. They travel to Inter tonight and are 3/4 to win in Milan.

The Bet

LIVERPOOL should bounce back from a disappointing draw and take Rangers 5-0 at 14/1.

Barca are favoured to beat Inter too.

Double them up for odds of over 25/1.

Not 33,000/1, but still a decent enough price.

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