The pull of Cork’s northside is strong - and that’s official.
But their victory in a titanic tug of war challenge has sparked controversy with threats of legal action from the losing southsiders unless the victors agree to a rematch in September.
Team members from both sides are going back training tonight after the epic tug of war challenge between traders on the city’s MacCurtain Street and traders from Douglas Street on St Patrick’s Bridge - the city’s traditional boundary between 'norries' and 'sorries'.
The MacCurtain Street team’s anchorman, Liam Maher, of Sheila’s Hostel, said his training regime was intense, with lots of late nights and early mornings in recent weeks.
“It’s been really good and thankfully we have no injury worries. All we need to do is to start pulling these guys over to the other side of the bridge, and once we get them going, it’ll be all over,” he said confidently.
Douglas St team member, the cellist Gerry Kelly, said he was more than ready to put his back, instead of Bach, into his performance.
“I’m a serious tug of war person. I used to toe the line in school all the time,” he quipped.
Under the watchful eye of Ash McRae, of Brú Bar on MacCurtain St, both teams took the strain in the first pull of what was supposed to be a best-of-three format.
The Douglas St team emerged victorious but in a surprise move, a trophy was produced by the northsiders and a fourth pull was called for the trophy.
After an epic effort, Douglas St won again but Mr McCrae decided to hand victory to the MacCurtain St crew: “There was a fair bit of cheating going on. But nothing you wouldn’t expect from a very competitive event such as this. There was a lot of pride at stake."
A furious Mr Kelly said: “We are going straight to a High Court challenge.
The mayor of Douglas Street, Val O’Mahony, of Gables Bar, also threw down the gauntlet: “We’ll let them enjoy this - but we’re inviting them now to a rematch in September during our Autumn Fest when we’ll make up our rules on our patch, and our own terms and conditions. My training starts now - I must get back to the pub and bring in a load of kegs.”
The fun event was organised by the Victorian Quarter Traders and the Douglas Street Business Association from streets which have both undergone significant regeneration in recent years. It is hoped the tug of war challenge will become an annual event.