It’s 25 years to the day that Father Ted graced our screens. And in series 3, the final series, we witnessed the classic All-Priests 5-A-Side Over 75’s Indoor Football Challenge Match. Craggy Island completed a heroic comeback against rivals Rugged Island, but we would later learn of the controversial circumstances. Here we relive the instant classic.
The preparation for Craggy Island wasn’t ideal. The management team of Ted and Dougal had just had an ordeal in a cave, made worse by the fact Dougal hadn’t had breakfast. They were expected to be heavily reliant on legendary strike partnership Father Nick Doorley and Father Jack. Fr. Nick it turned out had died, which made him a doubt for the game. There’d be further trouble when Fr. Jack, who had previously either had a trial or been on trial with Liverpool, had drank an entire bottle of Dreamy Sleepy Nightie Snoozy Snooze.
As for Rugged Island, they had ideal preparation. They brought in the legendary Italian journeyman, Fr. Romea Sensini. Everything was in their favor.
Craggy Island were in a completely Ludicrous situation it would seem.
Sensini ran the game early on with the Craggy Island defenders struggling to close him down. Fr. Ned Fitzmaurice made a howler which nearly led to the opening goal, but Fr. Jim was there to sweep it over the line.
The first of the controversies would occur when Sensini clearly dived to win a penalty. You hate to see it in a game. Fr. Ned went the wrong way, at halftime it was 0 – 1.
Craggy Island went out in the second half with the intention of
licking kicking some arse. Sure enough, Fr. Jack, as he so often has, came up with a big moment. Intercepting a throw in, he rounded two defenders and skillfully walked it in.
The winner came from the unlikeliest of sources. Fr. Cullen, who had been brutal in training and virtually absent for most of the game, found himself one on one with the Rugged Island keeper. He coolly slotted home, refusing to celebrate. It was likely to be his last game for the Craggy Island side.
Craggy Island had stolen a 2 – 1 victory.
That would not be the end of the story. An investigation was launched, with the ref determining that Craggy Island coach Fr. Ted was using ‘Fake Arms‘. The victory was ex-sponged. Rugged Island were awarded a walk over.
A sad end that left a bitter aftertaste in the mouths of the fans, who had just witnessed a thrilling encounter.
Fr. Jim – 9 – A Legendary performance, wouldn’t know he was dealing with a bad back. Body on the line stuff prevented an early goal.
Fr. Cullen – 6 – An enigma. Poor training routine, didn’t perform for the majority, but popped up with the winner in the end.
Fr. Ned Fitzmaurice – 2 – A horrendous day at the office. Head wasn’t in the game. A liability, could have conceded many more.
Fr. Jack Hackett – N/A – What appeared to be another brave performance turned out to be an illegal one.
Fr. Romeo Sensini – 7 – Ran the game in the first half. Somewhat suffered from a lack of pace elsewhere in the team. Disappointingly dived for the penalty.
Fr. Ted – 3 – Didn’t have faith in his team which ultimately cost them. Tactics were questionable.
Fr. Dougal – 8 – Protected the corner flag with his life. Didn’t let a change in role from his usual physio position upset his performance.
Fr. Dick Byrne – 6 – Set out his team to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Didn’t seem to have a plan B. Didn’t double up on the corner flag job. Signing of the season bringing in Sensini.
Fr. Cyril McDuff – 4 – Didn’t get the corner flag, anonymous for most of the game.
We may never see the likes of this one again, for better or for worse.
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