Mossie set out on life’s journey with high hopes of emulating his father Dessie in the political arena . Dessie had been a local councillor or ‘planning facilitator’ as he called himself one night in the Hill bar after 7 half ones and a hot toddy . Alas this was not to be , no matter how many weddings or funerals he attended with his big white transit parked alongside the wedding car / hearse at the gate of the church , Mossie was just not able to get the party nomination .
He learned from an early age to greet one and all with the universal political everyman question of ‘how’s your muder how’s your fader’ , but this too backfired when it just popped out one evening whilst sympathising with the deceased’s son at a funeral .
So Mossie decided to channel his political ambitions in another direction and followed one of his 153 lifelong dreams to become a cycling commissaire .
After a few weekend courses , he was presented with the coveted ‘Blue Blazer’ , which he wore for two weeks solid , morning and night . He got a bit carried away on his second day on the way into Tesco’s and tried to disqualify a motorbike courier for crossing the white line . He was lucky to escape with little more than an elbow in the ribs and a slap of the star newspaper across the head .
After six weeks of phone watching , late one Saturday evening the call he had been waiting for finally arrived . The 4 reserve commissaries for the Ras Patsy Whelan memorial perpetual cup had all come down with a dose of the trots after a few hectic night stages at a Bank holiday weekend stage race , and now Mossies’ moment had arrived .
He had to ‘cadge’ a lift from local under 12 and his family who were going to the race , as the transit had punctured the evening before and when Mossie was changing the front drivers side-wheel he was rushing as usual and had not placed the jack in the proper position . He also forgot to pull on the hand brake and due to the fact that he had parked on a slight incline , the van rolled and flew off the jack , hit a rock and cracked the sump .
They arrived in good time and Mossie , proud as punch , swaggered into the sign on and mooched over to the race organiser . Sonny McCarthy was a veteran of 17 Ras’s and had been running races for over forty years . He took one look at the get up of Mossie with the blue blazer and a pair of red chinos ( Mossie was colour blind and thought that they were grey ) and snorted to those around ‘ would ye look on at Christian Prudhomme ‘ .
Brief introductions were made and Mossie was assigned to a driver called ‘Juicy’ Moloney . Juicy wasn’t much of a cyclist but loved going fast . With 10 points on his license , tearing between the bunch and the break was his only opportunity for driving fast now , so he was always available to help out at cycling races .
Mossie was told that he could commisaire the underage and A4 races . Without further ado he was off out the door , with Juicy following on close behind . Standing in the middle of the GAA club car park , Mossie immediately went about calling all under 12 , 14 , 16, junior and A4 riders to the line . There was a chorus of protestations to hang on a minute , but most riders eventually managed to make it to the start line within about 10 minutes .
Mossie set about making his mark by putting the foot down early with his pre race talk ;
‘ Listen up now lads I won’t tell ye this again , are ye listening , I’m not tellin ye this again . Now I want ye all to stay well in to ye’re own side of de road . No , I repeat N, O, crossing de white line . De’re none a ye a Cancelnama an tisn’t Paris Rubex ye’re in . I want a good clean hard race , no dilly dallying around the road . Right so , as I said I’m not tellin ye again but if ye cross de white line ye’ll be out faster than a spit on a griddle .’
The under twelves were first off followed at 15 second intervals by the under fourteen , sixteen , junior and A four riders in the handicap race . Mossy hopped in with Juicy and they were away in a 1999 Honda Civic, lowered to the last with wheels as big as Zipp 404’s and elastic bands for tyres and a fine big cb ariel. All of the service cars followed on behind in the cavalcade .
After 4 miles Mossie spotted an under 12 standing on the right hand side of the road pulling the back wheel out of the bike . He instructed Juicy to pull over and roll down the window. The winder fell off the door , but Juicy did manage to push the window down . Mossie shouted out to the young under 12 who had a rabbit caught in the headlights look about him ‘ Illegal wheel change on the incorrect side of the road , that will be a 50 swiss franc fine ‘ . The young lad just looked at him and then innocently asked ‘What’s a Swiss franc ? ‘ Mossie instructed Juicy to drive on without further comment .
There was a big hill on the circuit called ‘The Boolahalla hill’ and it was here that the decisive attacks would come . Mossie wanted to be sure that he would be in a good position to spot any infringements and instructed Juicy to drive up to the front of the race ahead of the bunch before the hill . Juicy remarked that it was an awful narrow road to be trying to get past a bunch but Mossie replied that ‘I’m the commisaire , they’ll all get out of our way alright ‘
So Juicy hopped on the squeaky horn of the Civic and tried to make his way up through the bunch . They managed to get about half way up when they were completely engulfed by riders on all sides of the car . The riders wondered where exactly the car thought it was going and Mossie was telling them all to get out of the way and handing out swiss franc fines left right and centre . Some unidentified rider managed to squirt his bottle of Powerbar in on top of Mossie which really stirred things up . Mossie was now out sitting on the window ledge of the car . He reached up , unscrewed the cb ariel and started tapping riders on the backside hunting them on like a herd of cattle . This unorthodox method actually worked and Juicy spotting a chink of daylight and clear road ahead managed to squeeze through and they were now ahead of the bunch .
On the hill , the attacks were coming thick and fast and a lead breakaway of four riders managed to get clear . One of the riders was young Paul Delaney who at just 18 was hoping that a good result in the days race would put him on the National team for the upcoming World under 23 championships .
Mossie instructed Juicy to follow on behind the break for a few miles then to pull over and they would check the time gap . After a few miles Juicy spotted a nice wide hard shoulder and pulled over .
Mossie shouted ‘right , start counting ‘ .
Juicy replied ‘ Ya wha ?’
Mossie shouted ‘ I’ve no stop watch , so start counting !’
Juicy began ‘ 1,2,3,4,5……..’
He was at 182 when the bunch passed so Mossie shouted out ‘ one eighty two lads , the gap is one eighty two !’
A few confused heads looked around within the bunch and asked ‘what was that gap ?’
Davy Mulcahy, who was attending college, managed to figure it out a bit for everyone ;
‘Tis either one minute eighty two seconds , which would make it two minutes and twenty two seconds , or else ’tis three minutes and two seconds , either way we’d want to put the hammer down or we won’t see them again for the day !’
And how true were Davy’s words . The break worked well together and were never seen again . Mossie totalled two thousand and forty swiss francs in fines , none of which would actually be paid .
In the final sprint young Paul Delaney managed to take the victory and threw up his arms in delight. He knew that this win would also ensure a trip to the Worlds .
However , Mossie’s day was not done yet and he decided as Commisaire to disqualify the talented youngster . He said that his reasons were twofold and there was nothing that he could do . ‘Young Delaney’ he said ‘ has committed two serious infractions of the rules . He crossed the white line on the Clareen by-pass and removed his two hands from the handle bars whilst crossing the finish line. I don’t make the rules , my job is just to enforce them !’
Now , everyone had crossed the white line on the Clareen by pass as there were road work bollards in place , so it wasn’t long before the protests began in favour of young Delaney .
Suddenly, out of the crowd of onlookers a gravelly voice was heard and a everyone went silent. The crowd parted and Mossie was confronted with the rugged shaven head of a tanned former Army ranger. Musha Delaney was the father of young Paul Delaney and had a few words of advice for Commisaire Mossie .
‘Ya might want ta reconsider dat decision of yours ‘ he said with a very large index finger attached to a very large hand on a very muscular forearm pointing directly at Mossie ‘or I might be forced to make a phone call to a certain Mister Joe Duffy, who’ll sort you an your little power trip out !’
Mossie replied , after very little hesitancy ‘ Upon furder consideration , I tink dat I will give young Delaney a pass dis one time , but I will be makin a note of his infringements in my note book ‘
Peace was once again restored .
Mossie attended the prize giving ceremony and afterwards went looking for his lift home . As it turned out , the under twelve that he had given the 50 swiss franc fine to in the first few k of the race was the same under twelve whose family Mossie had travelled with that morning . The young lad didn’t know what the fine thing was about, but his father certainly did . They were parked with the engine running as Mossie made his way over to the car. Just as he approached the father shouted out the window
‘ Do ya have fifty francs on ya there Mossie’
Mossie replied ‘ Course not , shure what would I be doin with 50 Swiss francs ‘
To which the father replied ‘ Well you were looking for plenty of ’em all day . Sorry Mossie , no fare no taxi ‘ and they sped off leaving Mossie behind in a cloud of dust .
On the long walk home with plenty of thinking time Mossie decided that maybe the Commisairing wasn’t for him. No, he might just try a little bit of GAA refereeing next , they would be a much more civilised bunch and would surly listen to all he had to say, or would they !