Westmeath Independent reporter Kieran Galvin took on the latest food challenge presented by Athlone pub Murphy's Law.
In the iconic film 'Cool Hand Luke’, there is a famous scene in which Lucas 'Luke’ Jackson - played by the great Paul Newman - makes a bet that he can eat fifty hard-boiled eggs in one hour. Luke goes on to win the bet against all odds, but I wonder how he would have fared if given the task of 'The Mighty Murph’.
I took on this challenge in Murphy’s Law on Barrack Street, Athlone, last Friday.
The 'Mighty Murph’ consists of 3lbs of beef (basically 12 quarter pounder burgers), covered in melted cheese, with several rashers of bacon and a fried egg thrown in for good measure. In addition, there’s a bucket of French fries, a bowl of chilli con carne and some salad.
If a brave and hungry punter manages to consume this mountain of food in the space of 30 minutes, they get the 'meal’ for free and are awarded a commemorative t-shirt.
In an ill-advised fit of bravado in the office, I said I’d give it a go. At that stage, I had yet to see this monstrosity. When I did see a photo of it, I knew that actually finishing this mountain of meat was an absurd proposition.
Still, I felt duty bound to give it a shot, particularly as my work colleagues continued to offer good-humoured encouragement.
PJ Kelly and the rest of the team at Murphy’s Law were welcoming hosts as I arrived at the premises on Friday last.
PJ had arranged for a 'rival’ to take on the challenge alongside me. And when I arrived in the pub, Darragh Maguire was already making rapid headway. A quick glance at Darragh’s progress underlined the scale of the challenge, and I knew there was simply no way I was going to eat more than this voracious Clonown man.
I was told that Darragh had come very close to finishing the mammoth 'full Irish’ breakfast, also on offer in Murphy’s Law. He finished it all apart from one piece of black pudding and the chips. This man had form that demanded respect.
I arrived in Murphy’s Law suitably starving and I enjoyed the tasty meat, initially at any rate. But I knew my limits and set myself a target of eating half of the burger, while I quickly resolved that the chilli con carne would remain untouched.
I didn’t quite manage to eat half of the burger stack (those concerned about the amount of waste will be glad to know that a couple of canine friends enjoyed two days of dinners from the leftovers).
Naturally, as he got deeper into the mountain of food, Darragh began to wilt.
“Will you ate the fecking thing,” one onlooker helpfully suggested to a now struggling Darragh. There were various other comments made and, unfortunately, I can’t repeat them all here!
Interestingly, Darragh called for more tomatoes at one stage. It might seem odd to look for more food given the amount in front of him, but I could understand that he was trying to make the meat mountain more palatable.
Darragh eventually managed to eat 11 of the 12 burgers, which was no mean feat by any standard.
At one stage, I murmured some protest at the higher number of rashers than anticipated. Indeed, the amount of melted cheese also impeded my progress.
I was quickly told by PJ that “this is a challenge, not weight watchers”. I replied that representatives of weight watchers would probably close down the premises if they knew what was going on! Yet, there was little time for jokes as I plodded on, hoping the ordeal would be soon over.
US professional eater Randall Santel polished off the aforementioned giant breakfast at Murphy’s Law. I believe he’s going to return to Athlone and attempt 'The Mighty Murph’.
One thing is for sure: no normal person could consume such a gargantuan mountain of food. So I’ll leave it to the professionals; my short career of eating challenges is already over.