This  blog is usually a sport free zone, except for the odd reference to a local connection. This is because I do not follow a lot of sports stories but I do read Billy Keane in The Irish Independent every Saturday. I enjoy his brand of self deprecating jokey writing.  His article is usually a kind of mixed bag of sports journalism and local social history, spiced with a dollop of self revelation.

Yesterday he wrote with honesty and humour about a taboo subject; colitis.

I intended to put a link here to the article, but, for some unknown reason, the indo do not put Billy’s articles on their webpage. (I had the same trouble when I wanted to link to his lovely piece on Pat Schillacci.)

If you can get your hands on yesterday’s paper, read the whole article. I am only giving you a short snippet. The headline writer could not resist the urge to pun, even about a serious topic. Billy is fond of a good (or even a bad) pun  himself so he probably did not mind as much as I did.

Billy was writing about Darren Fletcher who has had to put his premiership footballing career on hold while he deals with his ulcerative colitis.

Keane wrote in his own inimitably entertaining style about his own experience of the condition. My extract does not do justice to the piece but my typing skills are such that, if I were to type it all out, there might be no Christmas dinner in this house.

It was a toilet drama. There I was bursting to go for a number one, not even sure if a number one was the correct number for a poo. The pub was full and the squatter in the only gents’ cubicle was about to register a claim in The Land Registry.

I am no diarrhoea light but a full blown ulcerative colitis sufferer.

I was in agony. Worse again, the pub was packed.

I banged and banged on the door, but it was too late. The lunchtime nibblers hardly noticed, but I did.  Too late then when the man finally opened the door.


“What size are you?”

I told him

“Wait there. I’ll be back soon.”

He returned about 10 minutes later.

The new pants fitted perfectly.

When I came out of the cubicle he was gone.

I would dearly love to thank that kind man. I didn’t even get a chance to pay him. The Good Samaritan did leave a note sellotaped to the toilet door.

It read, ”Closed for Repairs”.

And I left as good as new.