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Around Ireland Wild things in Limerick

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

Wild cats are running amok in Limerick and mounting frenzied attacks on parked vehicles, leaving local authorities stumped over how to tackle the problem.

The Limerick Post reports that residents in the city suburbs have been aware for some time of an infestation of wild cats, but only recently were they confronted the damaged vehicles.

One resident heard what he thought was a cat fight under his parked van.

"It wasn’t until the next morning that I discovered the engine’s wires had been pulled out, the ground was scattered with cat hair, the battery and mudguards damaged and number plate pulled off," he said.

"There were cat pawmarks on oil spilled on the road. I had to leave in my van for repairs and hire out another as I need a van for my business."

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Another resident also said his new family wagon had about 40 wires chewed and torn out.

"I have been told that I was lucky the cats completely ate through the immobilizer because otherwise wires hitting off each other when I started the car would have ignited and the result would have been a fire in the car," he said.

Double rescue

Quick-thinking Galway football fans on their way to the recent All-Ireland final are being hailed as heroes after they saved three young boys trapped in an overturned car in the Royal Canal in County Offaly.

The Tuam Herald reports that one of the Galway fans, Paschal Murphy, waded in shoulder deep into the canal even though he can’t swim.

Murphy’s daughter Orla, a trainee nurse on vacation from London, resuscitated one of the boys taken from the water.

"Up to now she only did this on dummies in hospital but this was firsthand experience for her," her father said.

The three boys rescued from the canal were traveling home from a soccer match when their car went into the canal. "The boys may have been trapped in the vehicle in the water for anything up to seven minutes before we got it turned over on its side," Murphy said.

A fellow rescuer was forced to jump in save Murphy’s wallet — with the All-Ireland tickets inside — as it floated away.

"When we took the boys from the water the faces of my 12-year-old son, Kieran, and my nephew Edward O’Sullivan lit up, but they suddenly dropped again when they saw my wallet with the All-Ireland tickets floating away up the canal," Murphy said.

The precious tickets were saved and dried out on the car heater on the way to Dublin.

Conker Bonkers

Kilkenny is better known as the capital of hurling, but recently the county hosted to the nation’s first-ever Conker Championships.

Competitors battled against wind and rain on 10 platforms smashing hardened chestnuts against each other in pursuit of title of Irish Conker Champion.

The Irish Examiner reports that competitors were also looking to land a place one the four-member Irish team, which heads off to the World Championships in England next year.

The traditional school kids game involves competitors swinging the chestnuts — or conkers, as they are known — attached to a piece of string to smash into their opponent’s chestnut target.

"It’s tough going in there," said Kilkenny man Alan Cass as he massaged his sore forearms. "I’m taking the competition a bit more seriously than most, I suppose. I was over at the World Championships in Ashton this year and picked up a few tips."

"Our conkers are smaller, so aim is critical. Unfortunately, it’s all up to random selection, so I couldn’t compete with conkers I’d choOse myself."

Competitors in the world championships wear padding on their arms the blows can be so harsh.

"We’d hope this could become an annual event," said organizer Grace Kearney. "The whole competition has caught the imagination of the public."

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