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My Sure Thing...

My Sure Thing...

A read Nick Townsend’s book about Barney Curley and his cunning skill and patience in beating the bookies on three occassions. It was excellent. In horse racing the information flow between the track and the betting shops was the bottle kneck and Barney Curley made the best of that. When that was sorted by tech he moved onto training horses so that he could get them to win all on the same day. Brilliant!

I have my own story. I am no gambler. In fact, the only real bet I ever had was when myself and my childhood friend Peter, took a day off school (bunked) and cycled into town with €1,000 of hard earned money. We were in 4th year and we had money to invest! After calling into 4 Stockbrokers including the posh ones, our money was finally accepted by O’Connor Cambell who were based close to the stock exchange in Temple Bar.

Peter was dead set on Tuskar Resources. Both of us ardent Thatcherites at the time. We were a 16 year olds who worked 8 shifts a week in pubs and still top in the class. We were masters of the universe on our Triumph Twenties!

The price of Tuskar was 73.5p. We bought at 73.75p. We looked at the screen outside as the price went from 73.50p to 73.75pm, looked at each other, rubbed our hands and had a chuckle. We were on a sure thing!

That was the highest Tuskar ever went. Within 5 years it was a a penny stock and finally wound up near the end of the millenium. I never bought a share since. Peter made a career out of it.

But that’s not my story.

I once spent a while running a pub beside a sports stadium. It was very involved in sport and if there was a game at the stadium our incomes for that day would be 5 times normal - sometimes 10 times. I was always fascinated with the sport of gambling but never dared try it. I worked too hard to earn it and I don’t like losing.

But I began to see that there was now and again a sure thing. A situation where I could not lose. This is the story of that and how diffilcut it was to convince people and how I just had to do it myself.

There was a situation where Leinster and Ulster where in two QTR finals of the Heineken Cup. The draw had been made for the semis and it meant that if they both won we would have two matches over a weekend in the Aviva.

I had been waiting for this to happen and I knew I could make money on this. Basically there were four scenarios. Leinster and Ulster both Win Super! Leinster Wins and Ulster loses, Still great (Saturday Game). Leinster Loses and Ulster Wins Good enough (Sunday Game), Leinster and Ulster Lose absolutely shit.

The moment had come. I got a mate of mine to check the odds on on both Leinster and UIster losing and we got a whopping 4.5/1. In my head I needed 4/1 to make it worth it. I had it now I just needed to get the money.

I had a sure thing. Mathematically sorted. I put a proposal in to the powers that be and it was refused. I put it again… considered and refused. I put it again… considered and consulted on… but again refused.

I could not understand how people could not see this… it was a sure thing. I told my wife and she looked at me like I had two heads. So it was now Thursday night. The games where on Saturday and Sunday. I was not prepared to lose out here. On Friday I took €4K out of my bank account. My plan was to wait until the last minute and be ready to place the bet. But Friday went and nothing. The powers that be still refused to look at this as a business opportunity. Without that the bet made no sense.

Still I did not give up. Saturday morning I call my mate and I ask him would he lay the bets. He was experiencesd and he would find two or three bookies. At 11.30am I sent a text. “I have €4K and I can guarantee that whatever happens this weekend we make money on the Semi Final weekend. This is pure business”

I waited… maybe one minute.


That was the reply and all I needed. It sanctioned the insurance play. We were insuring ourselves against the potential loss of income. I had got the idea from Bulmers who would insure themselves against bad Summers. So my mate laid the €4k and the next 24 hours where out of this world.

Ulsters lost but played a great game I think against Clermont. Payne had been red carded but Ulster fought a great battle with 14 men. In fact they were the better team and ssould have won even with 14. Leinster were away to Touloun and we never looked like winning.

The worst possible scenario had occured to us a business. We would lose two semi finals and the big shiny sports stadium beside would be empty on a bank holiday weekend. Bank Holidays turned our area of the city into tumbleweed.

I dont think I’ve ever had a bigger smile on my face. Seriously. We had turned a disaster into the most profitable day possible.

It was my sure thing.

It was not my last.

Don’t dare mention the draw… It never entered my head.

Holding Munsters Heineken Cup outside Dessies Bar on Bere Island 2008.

Holding Munsters Heineken Cup outside Dessies Bar on Bere Island 2008.

A text to my father

A text to my father

My David

My David