Sunday, November 25, 2007

The World Cup Draw 2010

They say its okay,
It’s a handy oul’ group,
And qualification’s a cinch.
But I reckon we may
Well end up in the soup –
Perhaps finish fourth at a pinch.

Montenegro – who they?
And Georgia too?
Dark horses we know nowt about.
And Bulgaria, eh?
We could very well rue
Dismissing their sizable clout.

And then the Azurri,
Just the World Cup winners,
We don’t stand a prayer against them.
They’ll pound us with fury,
Dismissively bin us,
As befits the new crème de la crème.

But worse, far, far worse,
Worse than any of this,
We’re in for more gut-wrenching pain.
It must be a curse,
An overt Judas kiss,
For we have to face Cyprus again.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ireland vs Someone, possibly Wales

Columns and columns of newspaper print,
At which the supporters just fleetingly squint.
The players take their turn to deliver their views,
But nobody cares if we win or we lose.
The media hype’s really failing to catch
For we’re so underwhelmed by this forthcoming match.
Nothing to play for, except maybe pride –
The ludicrous cliché is once more applied.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

He wishes for a new Ireland shirt

Had I the brand new Ireland shirt,
A masterpiece of emerald green,
Embossed with logo extrovert
And “Eircom” writ in font eighteen,
I would wear it to all home games.
But I being poor have just the top
From World Cup 1994,
Which my wife uses for a mop.
Mop lightly, for you mop with my shirt.

The gaffer regrets

The gaffer regrets he’s unable to lunch today, madame,
The gaffer regrets he’s unable to lunch today.
He is sorry to be delayed,
But did you see the way the national team played,
The gaffer regrets he’s unable to lunch today.

When he woke up and found that the Cypriots were one up, madame,
He tried to avert a most embarrassing display,
But the longer the match went on,
It was clear that the gaffer was gone,
The gaffer regrets he’s unable to lunch today.

Well the mob came along and dragged him from Croke Park, madame,
And strung him up on the old willow across the way.
And John Delaney redefined what’s meant
By the phrase “by mutual consent,”
The gaffer regrets he’s unable to lunch today.

Selecting the new manager

Hey, why don’t we have a reality show?
Phone in for the coach of your choice.
The popular vote is the right way to go,
Let Rasher and Niall have a voice.

All the contestants can show us their skills
On Playstation games or Nintendo.
We’d watch their decisions without any frills
Or smearing or gross innuendo.

The money we raise when we get on the phone
Can help fund the manager’s salary.
Get people evicted till one’s left alone,
Depending on who’s in the gallery.

And thus we would all be inclined to support
The people’s mandated decision
Though, knowing our fickleness, ‘specially in sport,
We’ll soon revert back to derision.

The Gunslinger (above the pass)

Above the pass, he lies in wait,
His craggy face carved out of scorn.
Intolerant of “second-rate,”
His gun now from its hoster torn.

The little band rides into view,
Scanning hard the barren trail,
Lined with boulders that accrue
Among the dust and settled shale.

No cover from the rifle fire,
No place to ‘scape the cross-site threads.
The mocking sun spreads waves of fire
Upon the trav’ling party’s heads.

Above the pass, he cocks his gun,
The click resounding like a shot.
The shadows deepen in the sun,
His lips now strangely dry and hot.

The fair-haired sheriff casts his eyes
To where he fears attack may come.
No chance for talk or compromise,
The seconds ticking like a drum.

The shot rings out! The sheriff falls!
The band of cowboys spur their steeds
And gallop past the valley’d walls,
No thought now of heroic deeds.

The prostate body on the track
Is covered by no mourning shroud.
Above the pass, his head thrown back,
The Dunphy’s laughter echoes loud.

He draws a blade of weathered steel,
Surveying long the dark deed done,
And carves another inch-long weal
Upon the barrel of the gun.

My Friend Stan

My friend Stan needs to make a new plan
Oh yeah, ah-hah.
He tells me he’s been fired and’s no longer required
Oh yeah, ah-hah.
And from the way you blacked his eye,
Oh Eamonn, you’re the reason why,
And from the day he walked on by
You’ve been gunning for him
Really gunning for him.

My friend Bobby says he needs a new hobby,
Oh yeah, ah-hah.
Because he’s lost his job and he needs a few bob,
Oh yeah, ah-hah.
And from the way he seemed to cry,
Oh Eamonn, you’re the reason why,
And from the way his smile was wry,
Its not bothering him,
No, not bothering him.

My friend John says he’s sorry Stan’s gone
Oh yeah, ah-hah.
He says he’s wished Stan well but it all went to hell,
Oh yeah, ah-hah.
And from the way he said goodbye,
Its clear that Stan’s hung out to dry,
And from the way he fixed his tie,
He’s abandoning him,
He’s abandoning him,
He’s abandoning him,
He’s abandoning him
Oh yeah.

In Lehmanns Terms

When the Germans visit Dublin,
There’s always such a buzz.
The atmosphere is bubblin’,
If not for them, for us.

But apathy’s in fashion,
The atmosphere was flat.
Keane’s miss evoked no passion.
We merely shrugged at that.

For us the game scarce mattered,
Since we went down to the Czechs
Our dreams now crushed and shattered.
Contenders? Please add “ex-.”

The Germans were delighted
To return home with a draw,
But we were unexcited
And could scarce restrain a snore.

And later on the panel,
Poor Eamo and the boys
Just churned the same old flannel
And made the same old noise.

I stayed away from Croker,
I’m glad now that I did.
It would have been a choker
To have coughed up fifty quid.
Ireland 0 Germany 0

A Rinky Dinky Manager

I’m a rinky-dinky manager
And Eamonn gives out stink.
My heinous crime
(He says) that I’m
So full of rinky-dink.
I’ve searched the Oxford Diction’ry
And followed ev’ry link,
But cannot find
This term defined –
Oh, what is rinky-dink?

I’m a rinky-dinky manager,
Unlike, say, Gus Hiddinck
Who, people say,
Does not display
An ounce of rinky-dink.
The heap of scorn thrown at me
Would drive a nun to drink.
Please tell me why
He thinks that I
Am full of rinky-dink.

I’m a rinky-dinky manager
My vision’s on the blink.
All I can see
Surrounding me
Is miles of rinky-dink.
I’m teetering (says Eamonn)
Like a man who’s on the brink.
Perhaps I’ll fall,
Weighed down by all
This surplus rinky-dink.

I’m a rinky-dinky manager
Or so the pundits think.
But they’re all wrong,
I’ll stride along,
Devoid of rinky-dink.
My plans are clear as crystal,
I’m feeling in the pink.
I have no need
In thought or deed
For any rinky-dink.

In a hotel room

With a hint of regret,
We watched the sun set,
As we flew out of Dublin last night.
The seats were so narrow
They squashed up my marrow,
But sure, ‘twas a very short flight.
And back on the ground
At Girona, we found
We’d but ten miles of driving ahead.
And it wasn’t too far,
But they’d shut down the bar,
So we shrugged and trooped off to our bed.

In the morning, the room
Had been lifted from gloom
And was bathed in the light of the sun.
And I scratched my big belly
And turned on the telly
To find out just how Ireland had done.
We’d been playing the Czechs
With the axe o’er our necks,
And our hopes hanging fast on a thread,
And I laid back and prayed
I would not be dismayed
On that large but uncomfortable bed.

There it was, on the screen.
No joy, boys in green.
In Spanish they read out the score.
One nil doesn’t alter
From Ireland to Malta,
But it conjured up questions galore.
Were we great? Were we flattered?
Who messed up when it mattered
To prevent them from going ahead?
All our dreams have now died,
There is nothing inside,
All false hopes are put firmly to bed.
Czech Republic 1 Ireland 0

Slovakia 2 Ireland 2

There were ice-creams and cakes
Topped with chocolate flakes,
And balloons
All festooned
Round the doorway.
We lit luminous flares
And played musical chairs,
Which was won
By a young
Kid from Norway.
We danced out in the street
To that old conga beat
And the sing-
Ing was ring-
Ing and hearty,
But the Slovaks struck back
With a late, late attack,
Which totally
Ruined the

Ireland 1 Wales 0

It was turgid, lacklustre,
All puffing and bluster,
With both teams deserving to lose.
There was honest endeavour,
Bad passing (as ever)
And the commonplace chorus of boos.
Our great blonde-haired winger
Is no Peter Stringer,
He can vanish like any damned elf.
And my wife says irately,
“Good God, Stephen Gately
Could have done a lot better himself.”

Thank God I’d no ticket
To watch Ireland nick it,
‘Twas money well saved in the end.
The media is baying
At the way we are playing
And Stan’s looking long for a friend.
The radio thundered
Out Haircut 100,
And my wife said, while drying the delph,
“Those passes so wayward?
Sure, even Nick Hayward
Could have done a lot better himself.”

Long balls, ineffective
Just rouse the invective,
The manager’s sulky and glum.
And Eamonn was vicious,
Though quite repetitious,
At the thought of the matches to come.
My wife swears avowedly
And, yawning quite loudly,
Puts the coffee jar back on the shelf.
And says “Robbie? You’re joking!
The lad’s hardly smoking!
I could have done a lot better myself.”

Our National Shame

The city burns and Kathleen turns,
Her pain-wracked face a-quiver,
As Ireland’s blood from true and good
Dissolves into the river.
Was it for this – this Judas kiss –
That Pearse was honest broker?
Ah, freedom, yes! But who could guess
At soccer played in Croker.

The wild geese spread their wings and fled
Before they would surrender,
And many tried to stem the tide
And died in bloody splendour.
But now we say, “Let’s have some tay,
Yon weather’s mediocre.
We’ll have a sup and then go up
And watch the lads in Croker.”

The hall of fame, our national flame,
Now bows her head contritely.
Humiliated, desecrated,
Pain not taken lightly.
Her pristine turf now badly perf-
-Orated by this joker,
The wild and zany John Delaney,
Hair gone mad at Croker.

From cold Kilcock to Kiltimagh,
From Curracloe to Kinnitty,
Men bold and true give penance to
The blesséd Holy Trinity.
The Virgin smiles down dim-lit aisles
As sobbing men invoke her
To intercede in that black deed
Committed up in Croker.

That hallowed ground should e’er resound
To Irish names, not Saxon,
Like Shefflin, Green and O hAilpín,
And little Mickeen Jackson.
Kilbane and Duff? Not good enough!
Shay Given? What a choker!
On Hill 16 no Gary Breen
Should e’er be seen in Croker.

For Albion’s game is Ireland’s shame,
As usual, quite perfidious.
An appalling vista, like a blister,
Deep and scarred and hideous.
No guessing where I’d like to snare
Them with a red hot poker!
Insert it slowly up that goalie
Prancing round at Croker.

Those nancy boys lack skill and poise,
They’re full of bluff and posture.
Yet have you heard how much a third-
Class ticket in will cost ya?
I’d sooner smear me arse with beer
And lukewarm tapioca
Than pay to see the infamy
Of soccer up in Croker.

San Marino 1 Ireland 2

We thought the principality
Would brush us off with ease,
And no-one voiced opinions contradictory.
But lo! in actuality
We brought them to their knees
And even snatched an unexpected victory.

The first half started brightly,
We were massive in defence,
We never let them get into their rhythm.
We shepherded them tightly,
Dunne and Felix were immense,
And Harte and Stevie Finnan joined in with ‘em.

And when the game restarted,
A great miracle occurred,
We pinched ourselves for fear that we were dreaming.
Kilbane, the lion-hearted
Soared like some gigantic bird,
And nodded home to leave the green fans beaming.

We hung on with great courage
As the home team battled back,
Distraught at that shock goal that they’d conceded.
Their fans tried to encourage
Them to go for blind attack,
Believing that was what their game plan needed.

Of course they scored a screamer
That would shatter Ireland’s hopes
Of taking one of Europe’s famous scalps.
Perhaps I am a dreamer,
But we had them on the ropes,
Beneath the snowy-capped Italian Alps.

But as the minutes ticked away
With Ireland hanging on,
We prayed that we could hold out for a draw.
But Stephen Ireland made the day,
The mighty Sans were gone,
And the match was added to our football lore.

The papers all went crazy
As the fans danced through the night,
Stan and John Delaney were exalted.
The memory is hazy,
I was drunk with sheer delight
(And also with a 25-year malted.)

My grandkids will come calling
When I’m wrinkled and half daft,
And beg me to impart to them the story
Of how we sent them sprawling
Through fine artistry and craft
In that great night of European glory.

Hatchet Buried

A fest’ring wound, a deep incision –
Be careful not to scratch it.
‘Tis better far to have the vision,
To grit your teeth and patch it.
The hurt incurred in that collision-
‘Twas best they should despatch it.
Throughout the year in that division
Nothing else would match it.
So, live upon the television,
All eyes tried to catch it,
When Mick and Roy made their decision
To bury Saipan’s hatchet.

Ireland 5 San Marino 0

There once was a striker called Keano,
Who starred for the boyos in green-o,
He suffered a drought
With the shots staying out,
But bagged three ‘gainst a poor San Marino.
Ireland 5 San Marino 0

Redemption Song

The Czech match seemed dauntin’,
We hadn’t a hope.
The form they were flauntin’
Meant we couldn’t cope.
But fair play to Staunton,
Instilling some pride,
And showed the whole world that
We’re not a bad side.

The injured were moaning
They couldn’t compete.
Much texting and phoning,
Escaping the heat.
Why are we condoning
McGeady and chums?
How many will recover
When Saturday comes?

We had no O’Brien,
No Given or Dunne.
The nation was cryin’
For the prodigal son.
So in he came flyin’
And helped stem the tide.
Lee Carsley was magic
And transformed the side.

The headlines were written
That Stan’s reign was dead.
In Ireland and Britain,
They looked for his head,
But he wasn’t for quittin’,
His mind was applied
And confounded the critics
Who’d blasted his side.

Jan Koller kept lurking,
His bald head held sway.
But McShane wasn’t shirking
And kept him at bay.
He never stopped working,
Took it all in his stride,
Staked a claim for the future
In Steve Staunton’s side.

One worthy of mention
Was Kevin Kilbane,
Who’d caused much dissention
From every fan.
But he was no abstention,
And bravely he tried,
And scored a great goal to
Give heart to the side.

The crowd showed great patience,
And loudly they roared,
And what celebrations
When Zinedine scored!
The fans’ trepidations
Were all swept aside.
Oh the Czechs found the hard way
We’re not a bad side.
Ireland 1 Czech Republic 1

Ireland v The Czech Republic Preview

Like the Colosseum plebs,
For whom fine favour flows and ebbs,
We will take our seats with very mixed emotions.
Half-afraid, through parted fingers,
We will watch the fare they bring us,
Like a sceptic kneeling palely at devotions.

For we think the bubble’s burst
And we roundly fear the worst,
And we’re fearful that we might receive a drubbing.
And the crowd will wax linguistic
In a manner masochistic
To a backdrop of three million people blubbing.

Is the end now nigh for Stan
Just as soon as it began,
With the players pulling out like drowning rats?
Or will those quirky football gods
Conspire to upset all the odds,
And earn a reprieved manager caveats.

Are we going to watch a hanging?
To engage in vicious slanging?
Or will we go to cheer like proper fans?
Will the thumb be up or down?
Red paint decorate the town?
Or will we re-evaluate the plans?
Ireland 1 Czech Republic 1

Do we have to play the rest of our games?

Do we have to play the rest
Of our qualifying games?
We’re all just too depressed
To go on.
The Cypriot defeat has left
Us firmly in the soup –
Our chances to compete
Are now gone.

Can we not just stay at home,
Lick our wounds, drink our beer?
The world is monochrome,
Pallid grey.
The death knell’s slowly drumming
As the funeral draws near,
Can’t we just say we’re not coming
Out to play?

The Slovaks and the Czechs
Must be rubbing hands with glee,
The German rubbernecks
At our fall.
The Welsh and San Marino
Must now sense a victory,
While we enjoy a vino

We’re the bottom of the pile,
We’re the lowest of the low,
It’s hard to raise a smile
At our plight.
Where once we were red hot,
Now we’re twenty five below.
Believe me, we are not
A pretty sight.
Cyprus 5 Ireland 2

Where are we now Stan?

“Where are we now, Eoin?” the football scribes wrote,
As we slipped to another defeat.
“Here is your hat, mate, and here is your coat,
And there is the door to the street.
You’ve taken the team ‘bout as far as you could,
But the future just doesn’t look bright.
It’s time that we had new injection of blood,
Stage directions are ‘Exit Stage Right.’”
“So where are we now, Jack?” the headlines enquired
As the Dutch once again shot our dreams.
“Your squad’s getting old and you look very tired.
The side needs revamping, it seems.
You’ve taken the team to the mountain and back,
But can we re-scale former heights?
You said you’d resign ere we gave you the sack,
Now it’s time for your funeral rites.”
So where are we now, Mick?” the tabloid heads screamed,
With our Euro hopes mauled by the Swiss.
“Results are not up to the levels we’d dreamed –
We should be doing better than this!
Saipan showed your failings –it’s hard to forget –
We should have whipped Spain in Korea.
We’ve been having a bit of an oul’ tête-á- tête
It’s time you were leaving, we fear.”
“So where are we now, Brian?” the papers demanded,
As our hopes disappeared down the drain.
You’ve reversed our direction, almost single-handed –
Where once there was hope, now there’s pain.
The team has no passion, we’re way off the pace,
We’ve slipped even more down the list.
So thanks for your efforts, you ran a good race,
But our former heroics are missed.”
“So where are we now, Stan?” the whole nation yelled.
“Have we struck the rock bottom at last?
Look how our country by Cyprus is felled.
Are World Cups a thing of the past?
The world is a circle, we’ve come a long way,
A journey not for the faint-hearted.
No need now to answer where we are today –
We’re back at the place where we started.”
Cyprus 5 Ireland 2

Germany 1 Ireland 0

We thought there’d be a mighty blitz,
We feared we might get burnt.
We thought we would be blown to bits,
But thankfully we weren’t.

Poor Stevie had been stammering
‘Bout geeing up the players.
But we foresaw a hammering
And bowed our heads in prayers.

At times poor Shay was left to rue
The absence of protection,
But still, we only went down to
A really cruel deflection.

I still don’t think we’ll qualify,
Our strength in depth is lacking,
But this team won’t lay down and die,
And thus deserves our backing.

Ireland 0 Holland 4

“This is the way we’ll play,” said Stan,
“In Germany next Wednesday week.
We’ll stick devoutly to the plan,
And watch the havoc that we wreak.”

But sadly it was not to be,
The Dutch, with little sweat, notched four,
And, if we speak with honesty,
They could have scored a whole lot more.

Okay, without brave Richard Dunne,
Without Shay Given, Keane and Duff,
‘Twas on the cards we’d come undone,
We’d always find it tough enough.

But this was really quite a rout,
The Dutch exposed our lack of pace.
Our poor defending was found out
As we presented them with space.

In Ibarak’ four years ago,
Within the shadow of Saipan,
We matched the Germans blow for blow,
And found them wanting, man for man.

But that was then and this is now.
Our tactics are a football crime.
Its difficult to figure how
We’ve fallen in so short a time.

Amongst the fans, the humour’s wry,
We played the game with little heart.
The Germans must be on a high
To watch us simply fall apart.

Oh yes, this thrashing’s hurt us much,
Its like a knife thrust in the groin,
The worst defeat against the Dutch
Since Billy whupped us at the Boyne.

Written in the Scriptures

The whispers of the Pharisees
Are carried softly on the breeze.
What scurrilous half-truths they mouth
Against this son of county Louth,
Who suffered in Orlando’s heat
When Ireland faced the world’s elite.
Oh how they mock this flaxen man
That answers to the name of Stan,
And claim that one so young of age
Will freeze upon the World Cup stage,
And has a C.V. far too short
To make it in this cut-throat sport.
For who, they ask, would choose a person
Lower even than Paul Merson
On whom to pin this country’s hopes
With us already on the ropes?
Who double-checked his resumé?
And where is Walsall, anyway?
But listen yet to John Delaney,
Renowned for being awful brainy,
Ireland’s scheming football chief,
Is confident in his belief
That Staunton and his holy band
Can lead us to the Promised Land.
And was there not another John
In Galilee in times long gone
Who set the people’s hearts on fire
By pointing out the new Messiah?
And was that man who took our sins
Not plucked from humble origins,
Born in a lowly cattle shed,
Not too unlike Walsall, it’s said?
Yet still, although his deity
Glowed bright for all the world to see,
Still some of his detractors scoffed
And chided long and chided oft,
And snidely cast aspersions on
The legend of The Chosen One.
For when they saw him on a mule,
They took him for a wet-eared fool,
Not believing one so humble
Might soon cause the world to crumble.
And so Steve Staunton takes the job,
Along with his disciple, Bob,
While Doubting Tom and Doubting Pat
Raise very doubting eyes at that,
For they’d foreseen a bigger wheel
Like Trappatoni or O’Neill,
Who’d rouse the spirit, beat the drum,
And heroically would overcome.
Instead of which, we have a young
Incumbent now of unsure tongue,
Who, many doubt, will scarce progress
To lead us from the Wilderness.
Can Stan restore our football pride,
Or will he end up crucified?

Ireland Gets Its World Class Manager

They promised us a world class coach.
They’d make the right decision.
A man who had the right approach,
A man with strength and vision,
A man who’d shake this country up,
A brilliant motivator
Who’d get us to the next World Cup,
A passion-instigator.

Nothing would stand in their way
To get the man we needed,
Who’d galvanise our style of play,
Ensuring we got seeded.
And so the FAI unveiled
The national team’s new man,
And what a corker they have nailed!
The shy and bashful Stan.

Loyal servant, yes. But…Stan?
Was there no better person?
How could he be better than
His erstwhile boss, Paul Merson?
Did John Delaney scour the globe,
Determined and persistent
With patience oft ascribed to Job,
To land this green assistant?

But Walsall’s loss is Ireland’s gain,
Let’s give him time to settle,
Time to prove his football brain
And really show his mettle.
He might surprise us all and be
Inventive and artistic,
Though really, I don’t think that we
Should get too optimistic.

Shed a Tear for Roy Maurice Keane

Who’s that in the gutter, his suit thin and bare,
That stubbled young man with the destitute air?
Oh throw him a shilling, poor Roy has to eke
A living on sixty six thousand a week.

‘Tis sad this poor man has to travel abroad,
A sizeable pay cut his only reward.
Old Trafford is gone now, the future is bleak
On a miserable sixty six thousand a week.

How can he weather the financial heat,
This once wealthy man down and out in the street?
No hope of maintaining his former physique
On a miserly sixty six thousand a week.

So hold Roy to your hearts, wipe that tear from his face,
Don’t laugh when recalling his sad fall from grace.
Oh please, Dermot Desmond, please would you not tweak
That figure of sixty six thousand a week?

The Valu of a Gud Edukashun

When I was a child,
I was feisty and wild,
At times somewhat out of control.
The time spent rebelling
And shouting and yelling
Fatigued my inquisitive soul.
In school I was ‘poor’
And ‘Could well achieve more,’
But though teachers might try to cajole,
My short-sighted reliance
On open defiance,
In truth, took a very great toll.

They warned me, of course,
After trying brute force,
That life, I would find, was no stroll.
And refusing to study
Like some goodie-goodie,
Was neither too bright nor too droll.
I’d end up, they said,
With no springs in my bed,
And no sugar to put in my bowl,
And because I’d no job,
I’d be short the few bob
To buy luxury items like coal.

Well I paid no attention,
Spent years in detention,
And eventually ran from that hole.
And I’ve worked all my life,
And I found a good wife,
And I now play a fatherly role.
And Brian Kerr is conferred
With degrees, so I’ve heard,
And he smilingly clutches his scroll,
But academic esteem
Isn’t all it might seem,
For he still stands in line for the dole.

The Vacant Ireland Manager’s Job

(for vacant Ireland managers)

There hasn’t been a wealth of applications,
No lines of people queuing for the post.
So many men have valid reservations,
Pretending they are otherwise engrossed.

The usual names have all been widely bandied,
Like Venables, O’Leary and O’Neill.
But each has left the FAI quite stranded,
Declining to shake hands upon a deal.

No longer are we first or second seeded,
In fact, we’re down to third, or even fourth.
A strong man at the helm is what is needed,
Or else we’re going to struggle like the North.

Everybody’s turning a cold shoulder,
The barge-poles surfaced after the first minute.
The FAI’s compiling a big folder,
But currently there’s only one name in it.

So come on, all you managers and coaches,
Ensure the FAI don’t draw a blank.
Accept if someone makes the right approaches,
Or else they’re going to give the job to Frank.

Next Year’s Summer Holidays

Our World Cup dream has proved to be unfounded,
It’s fallen like a fragile autumn leaf.
The good ship Brian Kerr is truly grounded,
Holed earlier, upon the Israel reef.
The buoyant Swiss did not intend to harm us,
Although they caused this nation untold grief,
For, like the most incompetent of farmers,
The lads again did not produce the beef.
The Swiss rolled into town, with cowbells clanking,
And stole our thunder like a brazen thief.
Hartey’s header promised a good spanking,
But then we seemed to lack some self-belief.
The national press conducted a post-mortem,
And called for abdication of the Chief,
The prospect of a long and gloomy autumn
Does not provide the country with relief.
Our plan of going back to Gelsenkirchen
Was far too unsubstantial and too brief,
So let’s get down to nine months solid workin’
And then take two weeks off -
In Tenerife.

Twinkle Twinkle Stephen Carr

Twinkle twinkle Stephen Carr,
Now we know just what you are,
Leave the international stage
At twenty nine short years of age,
Twinkle twinkle Stephen Carr,
Greed has just eclipsed your star.

It Ain’t You Brian

(once again, apologies to Bob Dylan. Feel free to use any of my stuff, Bob)
Go lightly from the ledge, Brian,
Jump at your own chosen speed.
No time to fudge and hedge, Brian,
You’re not the one they need.
They say they’re looking for a man
To play a blinding game,
Someone who’ll do whate’er he can
To bring this county fame,
Someone to qualify and more,
But it ain’t you, Brian,
No, no, no,
It ain’t you, Brian,
It ain’t you they’re looking for, Brian.

The World Cup dream is gone, Brian,
You’ve left us as fourth seeds.
The new sun has not shone, Brian,
In thought or words or deeds.
They say they’re looking for a man
To mould a brand new team
Someone who’ll do whate’er he can
To bring us home the dream.
Someone who’ll make us regularly score,
But it ain’t you, Brian,
No, no, no,
It ain’t you, Brian,
It ain’t you they’re looking for, Brian.

An Outstanding Contribution

John Delaney’s a man of great elocution,
Though others might call it great guff.
Though it’s obvious, Brian, your “outstanding contribution,”
Just wasn’t outstanding enough.

Dunphy, Giles and Brady

Beware the three wise monkeys
On the television panel,
Attention-grabbing flunkeys
Who dish out the well-worn flannel.
They wallow in hyperbole
For reasons dark and shady,
Both orally and verbally,
Thay’s Dunphy, Giles and Brady.

No-one may contradict them,
They’re the experts in their trade.
The moguls who have picked them
Have no cause to be dismayed.
They vent their righteous fury
Like a scorned and jealous lady.
Hangman, judge and jury –
That is Dunphy, Giles and Brady.

Time has changed them greatly,
They are harsh and unforgiving.
They haven’t played much lately,
Just kill chickens for a living.
They mouth the word ‘atrocity’
Like some grotesque Kate Adie,
The masters of pomposity –
That’s Dunphy, Giles and Brady.

Three Oul’ Lads

Brian eyed the body and
Wrote down the time they’d found it.
Then, magnifying glass in hand,
He scoured the ground around it.
Hours and hours, on hands and knees,
He searched till he was blue.
Three oul’ lads watched and one said, “Jeez,
He hasn’t got a clue.”

Brian checked the headstones but
The grave remained elusive.
He scoured the graveyard, foot by foot,
But that was inconclusive.
He’d come to visit, unprepared,
And could not find the spot.
Three oul’ lads watched, and one declared,
“This guy has lost the plot.”

Brian came across some stags –
Alas, the beasts were blind.
He draped them all in Irish flags –
They didn’t seem to mind.
Their blindness did seem quite pronounced,
While wand’ring far and near.
Three oul’ lads watched and one announced
“This man has No-eye deer.”
Cyprus 0 Ireland 1

Cyprus 0 Ireland 1

Robbie Keane’s stretch, and Elliott’s swivel,
Followed by eighty five minutes of drivel.
And but for some quite inspirational keeping,
The country would be uncontrollably weeping.
The magnificent Cypriots, hardly world-beaters,
Were very unfortunate not to defeat us.
They tore us wide open and carved out great chances,
And led our defenders some merry old dances,
While we were unable to find any rhythm
And didn’t seem able to trade tackles with ‘em.
Our midfield was guileless and showed no invention,
And seemed to be focussed on damage prevention.
So many times we conceded possession,
We started suspecting divine intercession.
Tactically weak, we seemed badly outnumbered,
Letting the Cypriots break unencumbered.
But Fortune smiled on us, and flattered us greatly,
Which, to be frank, hasn’t happened much lately.
And though we were still outmanoeuvred concisely,
Same again Wednesday will do very nicely.

Robbie Keane (Aged 10)

“That’s a very nice picture,” the schoolteacher said,
“But the goalie looks somewhat disjointed.
Why does he have such an angular head?
And why are his features so pointed?”

It appeared that young Robbie did not understand,
The lines on his brow furrowed deeper.
Then he took an eraser and pencil in hand,
And skilfully rounded the keeper.


Metatarsally crushed,
Metatarsally thrown,
Our chances and hopes
Metatarsally blown.
Four million people
All cursing that bone,
The seeds of despair
Metatarsally sown.
In buses and shops, we
Metatarsally moan,
The eagle has sadly
Metatarsally flown.
Roy's injured!

Five Whole Days Before the Match

There are journalists, I’m told, who like a drink.
(At least, that’s what a lot of people think.)
No more or less than any great profession,
I’m sure they like to go and have a session.

I’d question any journalist with sense –
If they’d a deadline coming five days hence,
When asked out for a drink, would they say, “No!
How could I with a mere five days to go?”

And yet, as we prepared to meet the French,
A section of the press kicked up a stench,
When several players were spotted on the town,
Five whole days before the match went down.

With moralistic anger, they enquired
Was such behaviour what the team required?
How could we hope to beat Zidane and Co.
By drinking with a mere five days to go?

A lot of people found it quite amusing
That much was made of premature boozing.
For even in the most besotted haze,
Hangovers rarely last for five whole days.

Such ludicrous attacks are often hurled
By headline seekers in the tabloid world.
But, over here in Ireland, well, somehow
We’ve managed to avoid it. Until now.

Oh Lord, is this the shape of things to come,
That journalists in Ireland must succumb
To pressure to increase their paper’s sales,
By fabricating inauspicious tales?
Ireland 0 France 1

Ireland 0 France 1

The people gasped when Robbie Keane
Emerged from Lansdowne Road.
What a bad night it had been,
And in his face it showed.
The disappointment in his eyes,
The frown upon his face,
Just made spectators realise
That smiles were out of place.
But that was not the reason why
The people stopped and stared,
For Robbie looked a bit awry,
Red-faced and tousle-haired.
The pain! The pain was quite acute,
And if that weren’t enough,
All across his mohair suit
Were tiny bits of fluff.
It looked as though he’d fallen in
A vacuum cleaner bag
Or else a massive rubbish bin
(Said one observant wag)
Sticky sweets were interspersed
Among the balls of fluff,
With yellow tissues all immersed
In gunky, yellow stuff.
For several seconds no-one spoke,
No words were said aloud.
Then finally, a small voice broke
The silence of the crowd.
“What happened Robbie?” said the man
With journalistic clearance.
“Why do you display such an
Incredible appearance?”
Robbie gave a sheepish grin
And answered loud and strong –
“Lilian Thuram had me in
His pocket all night long.”
Ireland 0 France 1

Ireland 1 Italy 2

The stage had been set, the orchestra waited,
This play had been eagerly anticipated.
The crowd took their seats in the gods and the stalls,
Sporadically making encouraging calls.
But when the play started, the acting looked stilted,
The pressure seemed such that performances wilted.
The mob showed displeasure; they were not deriving
Much joy from the glut of theatrical diving,
And in the first act, there were plenty of signs
That several on stage hadn’t studied their lines.
The interval came, and observers remarked
Performances, sadly, had not really sparked.
The second half started, and Duff pulled the strings,
Inspiring all those who looked on from the wings.
But generally though, the interest faded,
Delivery and presence were muted and jaded.
The curtain came down on this night of frustration,
And no-one took part in a standing ovation.
But despite the sharp pain of this sudden reversal,
We must not forget this was just a rehearsal.
The wizened director can still put things right,
Though there’s only three weeks until opening night.

Zinedine, Me Old Mate

Zinedine, me old mate, would you not reconsider?
Are you sure your decision can really hold water?
You’re now coming out of retirement amid a
Great fanfare of praise from the Gallic supporter.
But comebacks are rarely, if ever, successful,
The pressure is on, expectation is stressful.
Do you think you’re still fit enough, hungry and lean?
Oh enjoy your retirement, my dear Zinedine.

Zinedine, me old mate, would you not think again?
Whose place will you take when you’re picked for Les Bleus?
Will a young lad be scarred by emotional pain
If you don’t keep your word and bid World Cups adieu?
Look into your heart, and be honest and truthful,
The World stage needs talent that’s vibrant and youthful.
Just play for Madrid and forget the French scene.
You’ve earned your retirement, my dear Zinedine.

Zinedine, me old mate, do the scars take long healing?
Oh please don’t make one of life’s biggest mistakes.
Push away that insistent, but ludicrous, feeling
That in your old age, you’ve still got what it takes.
Are you tired, stiff and sore? Do your muscles ache daily?
Do you swap war-wound stories with Claude Makelele?
Come on now, let’s face it, you’re not Gary Breen,
So stay in retirement, my dear Zinedine.

Zinedine, me old mate, you’re a legend in France,
Like Maurice Chevalier and Danny la Rue.
Why risk the acclaim on the very off-chance
That maybe, just maybe, your country needs you?
So if you have plans to play Ireland this Autumn,
Perhaps ‘twould be best if you chose to abort ‘em.
Do you relish the prospect of facing Roy Keane?
Coming out of retirement
Is not a requirement,
So remain in retirement, my dear Zinedine.

Robbie Keane Aged 13

The teacher set a nasty sum,
To do with finding profit.
But it was much too hard for some,
And many cried “Come off it!”

Several tried to work it out,
And some got very close,
But many were unsure about
Nett profit or the gross.

This profit question made them groan,
And caused a few to sweat.
Several found the gross, but on-
-Ly Robbie found the nett.

Upon a Windswept Limestone Rock / At Least

Upon a windswept limestone rock
That juts out of the ocean,
Where swirling, gliding gannets flock
With custom’ry commotion,
Where tourists have no need to block
The sun with balming lotion,
We all received a well-earned shock
To prick our deep devotion.

We watched the ticking of the clock
With nervous hesitation,
The goal-less scoreline seemed to mock
Our World Cup aspiration.
These prodigies of fishing stock
Withstood our exhortation,
Till Hartey’s penno did unlock
Relief and jubilation.
At Least
We had a fair array of shots,
But most went wide or over.
We could have tied them up in knots
To leave us in the clover.
A two nil win inspired lots
Of railing ‘gainst Jehovah,
But at least we’re better than the Scots
Who drew against Moldova.
Faroe Islands 0 Ireland 2

Not God’s Chosen People

God’s Chosen People, we are not,
For Thou hast tricked us neatly.
The Israelites just picked their spot
And scuppered us completely.

We played our part, and praised Thy Name
With music and with banners,
Our voices soared throughout the game
Proclaiming loud hosannahs.

We welcomed back the Sacred Harte
From Spanish isolation.
The Messiah, though, could play no part,
And watched with consternation.

At first you let things take their course,
Not seeking the attention,
But two quick lightning strikes did force
You into intervention.

Into the large Israeli goal
You rolled a massive boulder,
And then you managed to extol
The pain of Robbie’s shoulder.

You blew the ball into our net,
You caused O’Shea to stumble,
And then you snuffed each rising threat,
Surprised that we might grumble!

We sensed another presence there
Beside that black-clad goalie,
Protecting Israel’s goal with care,
Thy breath so strong and holy.

You stood there in the Hebrew goal,
Behind the men of Zion,
Relishing thy last-man role
And banishing O’Brien.

Whenever we seemed sure to score,
Thy guiding hand did thwart us,
We gnashed our teeth till they were sore
And offered up our daughters.

I’ve never been too zealous, just
Sarcastic and satirical,
But how we failed to beat them must
Be marked down as a miracle.

Our journey to the Promised Land
Is merely an illusion.
Our tribe’s beset by self-doubt and
Unusual confusion.

Oh Lord, Thou hast forsaken us
And cast us from Thy glory,
Thy mighty plan has shaken us
And spoiled this wondrous story.

Our idols were all made of clay,
False prophets to the nation.
We rent our garments in dismay
And showed great consternation.

For we are wretched in Thy sight,
With fealty that wavers.
Take pity on our abject plight –
Send ten Roy Keanes to save us.
Ireland 2 Israel 2

By The Rivers of Babylon

Eamonn started to babble on,
He wore that frown,
Yea we wept
When he dismembered Brian.

He said,
"Where was all the creativity
Required to break them down?
Now how shall we sing "The Fields"
In a strange land?

Oh, the moans of your mouth
And the lamentations of your heart
Aren't acceptable in our sight
Here tonight."
Ireland 2 Israel 2

Two big lumps of Cotton Wool

He looked like John the Baptist, for
His hair was long and shaggy.
Clad in black, he held us back,
His face pockmarked and craggy.
Wasting time perpetually, the game drew to a close,
With two big wads of cotton wool protruding from his nose.

He threw himself around the place
And blocked each opportunity.
With knees and snout, he kept us out
With regular impunity.
No wonder things turned ugly, and some players came to blows
With two big wads of cotton wool protruding from his nose.

The crowd all let him have it
With a feeling of frustration.
He’d clutch his head and fall down dead
To break our concentration,
An enemy of the nation now, in song and rhyme and prose,
With two big wads of cotton wool protruding from his nose.

There were no thousand welcomes
For this dark Israeli giant,
Who stood so tall and broke us all,
Impulsive and defiant,
This languid Jewish reprobate the Lord in heaven chose,
With two big wads of cotton wool protruding from his nose.

Though when they go to Switzerland,
We hope he’ll do the same.
With hand or foot, we hope he’ll put
Herr Yakin off his game.
Constant swings and roundabouts, yes,
That’s the way it goes,
With two big wads of cotton wool protruding from your nose.
Ireland 2 Israel 2

Tel Aviv

Clinton’s heart was on his sleeve
As he, delighted did receive
The ball from Duff, who’d sought to weave
His magic out in Tel Aviv.
And yes, we started to believe
In all the things we could achieve.
But in the end, we’d cause to grieve
The pressure we could not relieve,
And yes, we flattered to deceive,
And Israel earned their late reprieve
With one last late and vital heave.

It’s not the only time that we’ve
Aped Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
Israel 1 Ireland 1

The Lost Book of Isaiah

The Lord looked down on Is-ra-el,
And sought his favourite prophet.
He found him sitting on a well,
And promptly pushed him off it.

“Get off thy arse and spread the Word!”
The Lord said to Isaiah,
“Tell my people you have heard
About the new Messiah.”

Isaiah blinked and scratched his head,
And said with some impatience,
“Could you repeat what you’ve just said,
O Lord of kings and nations?
What exactly should I say
When people do enquire
About what you have said today,
About the new Messiah?”
“Listen up,” the Lord replied,
“And fetch thy scroll and biro.
This Holy Land is long and wide,
From Lebanon to Cairo.
But one will come from far away,
Born in the Land of Ire,
And even men with feet of clay
Will worship the Messiah.

‘Way up in the firmament,
His star will shine with brightness,
Yet in his cruciate ligament,
There’ll be a certain tightness.
He’ll have the jawbone of an ass,
A belly full of fire.
Simply in a different class,
You’ll know the new Messiah.

‘He’ll come unto an island where
The playing fields aren’t level,
And in the spotlight’s blinding glare,
He’ll battle with the Devil.
And under pressure and duress,
He’ll stubbornly retire,
And walk into the Wilderness,
An absentee Messiah.

‘But the Devil will be routed
And be cast out by the Swiss.
The elders will be clouted
By the Book of Genesis.
The Chosen One will smoulder
With a passionate desire,
But will not roll the boulder
And proclaim Himself Messiah.

‘But in a blaze of glory,
He’ll return unto his flock,
To keep alive the story,
Though with one eye on the clock.
A host of angels up on high
Will form a heavenly choir
And sing “The Fields of Athenry”
To welcome the Messiah.

‘He’ll know exactly what to do
And set out on the trail
Of choosing his disciples to
Achieve the Holy Grail.
He’ll pull the nation from the mud,
Extract it from the mire,
Look down and proclaim it good,
This wonderful Messiah.

‘And then he’ll come to Is-ra-el,
A pilgrimage of sorts,
The scribes will congregate to tell
His feelings and his thoughts.
They’ll flock from distant Galilee,
From Bethlehem and Tyre,
A multitude will come to see
This wondrous new Messiah.

‘His enemies will be dismayed,
He’ll put them to the sword.
They’ll cower and be sore afraid,
Receiving no reward.
He’ll follow up his sacred creed,
And do what needs require,
And men will wonder, yes indeed,
At Ireland’s great Messiah.”

“This story’s long,” Isaiah frowned,
“I cannot really follow it.
And, as for spreading this around,
The people will not swallow it.
I can’t perform this act you crave,
They’ll just call me a liar,
And so I’ll hide this in a cave –
So much for your Messiah!”

S’pose you’re right,” the Lord replied,
“It lacks some credibility,
Although he sitteth at my side
And has immense ability.
Okay, be off, creative vandal!
Your company is dire.
I’ll go and have a word with Handel
‘Bout the new Messiah.”
Israel 1 Ireland 1

Where Do You Go To, Brian Kerr?

You talk like Dustin the Turkey,
And you shoot like Diana Ross,
Your clothes, they are all made by Umbro,
For you are the Irish team boss,
Yes, you are.

You talked to the wee Mayfield bollix,
When all thoughts of a comeback were gone,
Yet you gave Jason Byrne just four minutes,
Your loveliness goes on and on,
Yes, it does,

So where do you go to, my lovely,
When you are quite on your tod?
Tell me your selection criteria,
I want to get picked for your squad,
Yes I do.

And in winter, you’re found in RTE,
With the rest of The Donnybrook set,
And you swallow Eamonn Dunphy’s water,
But you never get your lips wet,
No, you don’t.

They say that when you leave Ireland,
You will go to Real Madrid,
Where the grass as they say, will be greener,
And you won’t be short a few quid

Oh, where do you go to, my lovely,
When you are quite on your tod?
Tell me your selection criteria,
I want to get picked for your squad,
Yes I do.

I remember the back streets of Ballyer,
Two children, begging for fags,
Scutting along on the buses,
And stealing the hubcaps off Jags.

I know where you go to, Brian Kerr,
Ireland’s new footballing God.
I know many secrets about you,
So won’t you pick me in your squad?

The Supporters’ Song

We’re on the one road,
Sharing the one load,
We’re on the Road to Germany.
The only trouble
With this one road
Is that it goes beneath the sea.
Don’t go back home to the pub,
Jason Byrne can be our super sub,
We’re on the one road,
Singing along,
Waking the neighbours up.

Kenny Cunningham

Ireland’s Kenny Cunningham
Is not a massive spender.
He’ll eat his bread with Tesco’s jam,
Eschewing wealth and splendour.
His teammates’ mansions are top drawer,
They dine on quince and pheasants.
But they envy him at Christmas, for
He has tremendous presence.

Fairness And Integrity

Changing facilities for underage teams
Are the stuff of fantastic, improbable dreams.
No coaches or buses transport them to matches,
No grass-laden pitches crop up in despatches.
The kids all get changed on the touchline together,
Often in rainy or wind-driven weather
On hard, bumpy pitches where footballs bounce madly
With divots and pot-holes and endlines drawn badly,
Where parents are linesmen, and funding’s a word
That the manager’s ears have never once heard.

But every September, these youthful survivors,
Hand up crumpled tenners and finger-marked fivers
In order to fund this large organisation
Controlling the football events of the nation.

And what do they do with the thousands amassed?
Build structures ensuring the sport here will last?
Fund youth competitions? Train trainers? Buy rollers?
Make sure that the big English clubs don’t bankroll us?
Provide training facilities? Excellence centres?
Produce long-term plans for the kids and their mentors?

But the public perception is somewhat at odds,
With the acts of these faceless, administrative gods,
Who need to attend, at full cost, foreign trips,
And doubtless do not dine upon egg and chips.
And the more far-flung the exotic location,
The greater the need for more administration,
Who don their fine blazers with FAI crest,
Proudly emblazoned upon the left breast,
And grasp with two hands what tradition now proffers,
Enjoying the rewards that their membership offers.
Travelling first-class makes such sound fiscal sense
When done at the organisation’s expense.

And if they’re a failure and moved from their job,
Their contracts assert that they’ll get a few bob.
Are their morals offended by the fact plain and stark
That they pocket the cash from the kids in the park?

Willo Flood

In Manchester, there is one name
That’s making waves within the game.
Willo Flood, so young and brash,
Is making quite a hefty splash.
Rooney burst United’s banks,
But Willo came up through the ranks.
The rising tide of fulsome praise
Grows stronger with the passing days,
Reporters starting to compile
Great paeans to his fluid style.
Inundated with acclaim,
He has achieved immediate fame.
His attributes, to Ireland’s gain,
Will surely not go down the drain,
And City’s ground, say those who know,
Will shortly start to overflow,
With those who have an urgent itch
To watch him float around the pitch.
Yes, sandbags really are no good
To stop the flow of Willo Flood.

The Fields of Athenry – A Rant

Oh Lord, I hate the Fields of Athenry,
Low-lying though the pastures there might be.
I care not where those little free birds fly –
The whole thing’s an anathema to me.

The tune is just as dreary as the words,
It drones along so flaccid and forlorn.
Why would the lads be arsed with little birds?
Who gives a damn about Trevellyan’s corn?

It doesn’t really set your spirits soaring,
It doesn’t have the power to inspire.
The fields, as well as low, are pretty boring.
Please someone, set those blasted fields on fire.


Disappointment was the overriding feeling,
Disappointment that we’d not scored any more.
Our movement left the Faroe players reeling,
But we found it very difficult to score.

Disappointment with our lack of concentration,
Our failure to convert our good possession.
The evening turned to one of great frustration,
Only partly cured by one big session.

The World Cup road just got a little steeper,
The celebrations turned a little flat.
But the biggest disappointment was their keeper
Was not the one who wears the bobble hat.
Ireland 2 Faroe Islands 0

An Unmitigated Disaster

An unmitigated disaster!
Clinton’s got his knee in plaster.
Centre forwards need both knees
To face the fearsome Faroese.
A single knee, tough strong and fit,
Will faze them not a little bit,
For what unnerves the Faroese
Are centre forwards with both knees.

One team they played, quite recently,
Did play a forward with one knee.
He wasn’t in the game at all,
Hobbling round to get the ball.
The Faroese found it amusing,
Though at one stage they were losing,
But they fought back and won the game
O’er opponents both quite fit and lame.

So Brian Kerr has got it right
Not playing Clinton M. tonight.
To send our hero out to play
Would not help make his knee okay,
And Long John Clinton wouldn’t fare
Too well, if he was thrust in there
To face the fearsome Faroese
Without his complement of knees.
Ireland 2 Faroe Islands 0

John O’Shea’s Miss Against France

The said he wasn’t expecting it.
It took him by surprise.
He’d no thoughts of collecting it.
He scarce believed his eyes.

He did not think the curling free
Would beat the last defender.
He did not think, alas, that he
Would be the sole contender.

So when it came o’er all the heads,
He stabbed his effort wide.
Ireland’s hopes were torn to shreds,
And many grown men cried.

But let’s rewind a little bit,
And do some sharp reflecting.
If John was not expecting it,
Then what was he expecting?

A leg of lamb? A glass of wine?
A large bemused gorilla?
Perhaps the number thirty nine
Returning from Clonsilla?

A football in the area?
I’d never have believed him.
Is anything more scarier?
No wonder it deceived him!
Ireland 0 France 0

Getting Things in Perspective

A draw against France means the world’s at our feet,
No need for improvement, our team is complete.
The roses that line our small garden smell sweet,
And never again shall we sample defeat.

A draw against France means our future is rosy,
The team we have now is just fandabadozi,
Our heroes are gods and they dine on ambrosi-
A, everything here is so warm and so cosy.

A draw against France sent the football world shaking,
People were stunned by the news that was breaking.
The Swiss and Israelis are probably quaking,
The World Cup is probably there for the taking.

A draw against France means we’re now optimistic,
The road to great glory is straight and simplistic,
Our team are world-beaters and very artistic,
With art and great guile that near border on mystic.

A draw against France heralds world domination,
We’re getting great notions way over our station,
We’re the best ever team since the dawn of creation,
At least till we’re beaten by some other nation.
France 0 Ireland 0

Dr Spooner in France

While wandering round the Stade de France,
I came on Pires minus pants.
He fixed me with a steely glare,
Which I suppose was phallic glare.
France 0 Ireland 0

Ooh La La!

Est-ce que c’est possible?
Moi, je ne sais pas
Si Irlande pourra gagner
Dans le pays de Cantona.

Lille a vaincu Shelbourne,
Dans une manière facile,
Mais c’etait malheureux de devoir
Jouer contre Lille.

Nantes a vaincu Cork Cité
Dans l’Intertoto Tasse,
Et maintenant les irlandais
Vont á Paris en masse.

Troisième fois heureux, j’espère,
Mais sans le confidence.
Nous sommes toujours très triste quand
Nous visitons la France.

And now the same poem as edited by the spell-checker on my computer:

Eustace queue chest possible?
Moil, jet new says pas
Is Ireland pours ganger
Danes le pays de Cantina.

Lillie a vain Shelburne,
Danes one manlier facile,
Mays certain malheureux de devoir
Joker contra Lillie.

Nantes a vain Cork Cite
Danes l’Intertoto Tassel,
ET main tenant les islanders
Vent a Paris en masse.

Toilsome foes hereof, jester,
Mays sans le confidence.
Onus somas tumours tress trite quad
Onus visions la France.
Ireland 0 France 0

Robbie Keane’s Part in Clinton’s Goal Against the Swiss

And as the Swiss defender cleared,
Our Robbie paid the ball no heed,
But turned around to Andy Reid,
Annoyed the chance had disappeared.
And, forearm gesticulating wildly,
And with intemperance of tongue,
So typical of one so young,
He let it rip, to put it mildly.
Alas! I don’t possess the art
To read a distant person’s lips,
But Robbie tore him into strips,
And verbally ripped him apart.
Frustrated at the squandered chance,
His words like wounded hornets flew
And turned the air a royal blue,
As Swiss defenders looked askance.
And Andy took the thick-edged brunt
Of all of Robbie’s pent-up stress,
And pressured, self-imposed duress
Of foraging for goals up front.

And as our hero bawled and roared,
The ball from Duffer’s sweet food sped
Directly onto Clinton’s head.
And he, with cool precision, scored.
Switzerland 1 Ireland 1

Andy Reid’s Goal Against Cyprus

Back to goal, beyond the box,
The new-discovered Irish fox
Did shield the ball with broadened back.
But Reidy did not heed the call
To play a simple backwards ball
And keep momentum in attack.

Instead, with cleverness he jinked,
With guile artistic and succinct,
To give himself a yard of space.
Then arrogantly picked his spot
With bending, curling left-foot shot
That crashed into the net with pace.

Not many games beneath his felt,
But it was universally felt,
That such a strike belied his age.
What confidence to even try
To touch the limits of the sky
On his first bow upon this stage!
Ireland 3 Cyprus 0

The Retirement of Jason McAteer

Jason, thank you very much
For those two goals against the Dutch.
That’s what you’ll be remembered for,
Although you gave us so much more.

Especially the one that bounced
Just fractionally before you pounced.
You slammed the ball past van der Saar,
And underneath the orange bar.

And don’t forget that famous strike,
Extolled by friend and foe alike,
That won the World Cup for our team.
So sad that it was just a dream.

Robbie’s Goal Against the Dutch

As Stam back-pedalled rapidly, his famous features altered,
His skin just seemed to melt away, as judgement slowly faltered.
You could see his liver pulsing, his intestines clenched in fear,
His kidneys jiggling plaintively, as tackling-time came near.
His vertebrae were dancing, though he tried so hard to quell ‘em
And stop them leaping up to try and grab his cerebellum.
The vivid red, that was his heart, was furiously thumping,
Just below a pair of lungs conspicuously pumping.
Children screamed in horror as he backed into the area,
This eerie x-ray vision getting scarier and scarier,
His sinews tightened frantically, his muscles leapt about,
He looked a bloody mess, as Robbie turned him inside out.
Holland 0 Ireland 1

The Return

There were those who cheered his every move,
As though they had a point to prove,
Who very loudly muttered, “Class!”
At every simple five yard pass,
Who vocally regaled his name
At intervals throughout the game.

And there were many others who,
Reciprocally, were wont to boo.
Who said he was a useless langer,
Any time he made a clanger,
Who tried to spoil the “Keano” chants
At every single circumstance.

But most of those within the crowd
Did not express their thoughts out loud.
They did not cheer his every kick,
But neither did they give him stick.
Judgement silently deferred,
They strangely had the final word.

Still divided into factions,
With individual reactions.
But one point where agreement came,
As people talked about the game,
Whate’er the feelings that held sway,
Thank God that game was out the way.
Ireland 1 Romania 0

Dancing the Polka

From the shipyards of Gdansk, way down to Krakow in the south,
In lovely Lodz and Posnan and in Warsaw,
The news swept through the country, in the main through word of mouth,
Causing more delight than people foresaw.

At first they were suspicious and would not believe their ears,
Phoning up the FAI for clarity,
But then they were united in their loud, unbridled cheers,
‘Twas years since they had shown such solidarity.

They queued all night for tickets in the chilly eastern Spring,
Warmed by feverish anticipation.
Then they kissed their fiery spouses with a promise that they’d ring,
And gaily skipped down to the railway station.

From north and south and east and west, the trains disgorged their troops,
Past buildings old and grimy and decaying,
Advancing on the stadium in hopeful, nervous groups,
Praying that the Legend would be playing.

But when the whistle blew, the fans were very much uptight,
Their hero wasn’t in the starting line-up.
They kept glancing at the fourth official all throughout the night,
Willing him to put the bleeding sign up.

Injury time approaching, and the flags were all unfurled,
Augmented by a symphony of voices,
As the Polish commentator shouted to the outside world,
“Listen how our happy state rejoices!”

Four minutes to display his skills was all he was allowed,
Four minutes to enthrall the Polish masses,
But tears of joy were streaming from the people in the crowd,
Which buggered everybody wearing glasses.

And then the match was over, and the crowd was on a high –
Such an understandable reaction –
And they travelled home in trainloads ‘neath the brooding Polish sky,
Thrilled at seeing Jason Byrne in action.
Poland 0 Ireland 0 (Kerr gives Jason Byrne 4 minutes)

The Hand of Friendship

Extend the hand of friendship, we are constantly being told.
Bite the bullet, take Boy Wonder back into the fold.
What’s done is done, show some compassion, it’s all in the past.
Your sad recriminations, boy, they surely cannot last.
Grudges should be put to bed, mistakes should be forgiven,
We’re all in this together now, we should be World Cup driven.
Divided we can only fall, so unity’s essential.
The fact that He will play again is surely providential.
What is the point in harking back and doling out the blame?
Keane’s return is surely beneficial to the game.
So put away your poisoned pen, and hush your bitter tongue,
For he’s the central rock on which our World Cup dreams are hung.
Bitterness should not prevail, it’s time to start anew.
Put the past where it belongs and give the boy his due.

Perhaps I might take that advice, and join the joyous party,
If Keanites would extend the hand of friendship to McCarthy.

A Message for Roy

For years I’ve been told that it’s right to forgive,
Especially with someone like Roy.
Critics advise me to live and let live,
Keane is a much-reformed boy.
Of course, they are right, I should show some more grace,
Forgiveness is well overdue.
For far too long now, I have railed at his face,
Knowing his deeds like I do.
Except, now, I think that I’m coming around,
And not being such a Keane-hater.
No more shall vile curses and swearwords abound
On seeing the wee Mayfield traitor.

Easter Miracle

Open out those joyous banners!
Praise the Lord with hymns so lyrical!
Proclaim the truth with loud hosannahs!
Announce another Easter miracle!

Just last year, the Mayfield cripple
Told us of his dire prognosis.
Ankle, hip and knee and nipple
Had a woeful diagnosis.

Though he'd love to play so dearly,
Physio advice was stringent.
The message was despatched so clearly
From the medical contingent.

Recuperative powers diminished,
Career put in jeopardy.
Just one knock and he'd be finished -
"Time for bed," said Zebedee.

Just one game for Ireland's army,
Just one match with Eircom logo
Would be suicidal, barmy,
Nevermore to do the pogo.

Reluctantly, his international
Tour of duty now was over.
Decisions can be sad but rational-
Keane must be put out to clover.

But now his spiralling condition
Suddenly has been arrested.
Doctors gainsay their decision.
"He's all right, now," they've attested.

Hipbones, once they're rendered squeaky,
Generally show no improvement.
But now, those joints, once old and creaky,
Are better, thanks to constant movement.

So join with us, sing Hallelujah!
Can you hear the angels drumming!
Keano, boy, we hardly knew ya -
This truly is the Second Coming!

The Last Laugh

The Czechs came to Dublin with buoyance,
Unbeaten in twenty odd matches,
But they left with a deal of annoyance,
For they only produced it in patches.

Our makeshift defence was rock steady,
Our midfield so bravely competed,
And Robbie held back till quite ready
To ensure that the Czechs were defeated.

The Duffer showed sparkles of brilliance,
Kilbane was a thorn in their side,
Holland and Reid showed resilience,
And Clinton pulled centre backs wide.

The Czechs could attack us at random,
Because they were quick on the break,
But Kenny and Gary in tandem
Ensured that we made no mistake.

And Maybury looked really impressive,
And Hartey defended with zeal,
Substitutions were somewhat excessive,
But hopes of a victory were real.

And so we created good chances,
And oftentimes had the Czechs penned,
And won in relieved circumstances,
Though we left it quite late in the end.

The Czechs had a bit of a bummer,
Despite all those wins on the trot,
But they’ll have the last laugh this summer –
They’re Portugal bound, and we’re not.
Ireland 2 Czech republic 1

The Ballad of Koller and Doherty

Jan Koller said to Doherty, “It’s hard to comprehend,
But you have stuck so close to me, I feel you are my friend.
In this international fixture, I can see the hand of fate.”
Said Doherty to Koller, “Yes, I feel the same, Czech mate.”

Jan Koller said to Doherty, “You see the goalpost there?
I used to have a thing for her when I had lots of hair.
I took her on a date and I gave her a little peck.”
“Good Lord!” responded Doherty, “A real post-dated Czech!”

Jan Koller said to Doherty, “Excuse my flying boot!
Remind me when the match is done to show you my new suit.
It’s full of tiny little squares and has a greyish fleck.”
Said Doherty, “I’m sorry. I can’t bear a suit that’s Czech.”

Jan Koller said to Doherty, “That time I nearly pounced,
But when you knocked me to the ground, my God! I simply bounced.
I bounced and bounced and bounced, until I feared that I might croak.”
But Doherty said, “Sorry, that’s too obvious a joke.”

Jan Koller said to Doherty, “I wish I was a bird
With lovely purple feathers. Do you think that sounds absurd?
I’d fly away to Mecca where the Muslim pilgrims trek.”
Said Doherty to Koller, “Time to take a reality Czech.”

Jan Koller said to Doherty, “I’ve had some highs and lows.
Injuries have held me back, but that’s the way it goes.
But then again, I’m thankful for my proud goal-scoring record.”
“I see,” responded Doherty, “Your career’s been somewhat Czechered.”

Jan Koller said to Doherty, “My temper is quite short.
Rub me up the wrong way and you’ll end up getting caught.
Watch out for the warning sign – the veins bulge on my neck.”
“They tell me,” answered Doherty, “you should never cross a Czech.”

Jan Koller said to Doherty, “My friend was in the Mafia
Until they strangled him one night with heavy-duty raffia.
He’s encased in a pillar in a building by the coast.”
Said Doherty to Koller, “Ah, the Czech is in the post?”

Jan Koller said to Doherty, “I like it over here.
The people are so friendly, though the drink is very dear.
Perhaps you’d like to show me round, and put me up as well?”
“Sorry, pal,” said Doherty, “Czech into a hotel.”
Ireland 2 Czech Republic 1

Friday, October 26, 2007


As I remarked to my friend, Pat,
Too rarely does it happen that
Such a massive demi-God
Appears upon the Lansdowne sod.
For giant figures show disdain
For sampling our notorious rain,
Preferring, in these jet-set times,
To ply their trade in sunny climes.

And so, when Ireland played Brazil,
It gave me an enormous thrill
To watch this icon show his fresh
And eager talents in the flesh.
The very fact that he turned up –
This hero of the last World Cup –
Transformed a great night into one
That could not be improved upon.

And last night, he was at this best
And left the Irish crowd impressed,
As, from the very outset, he
Controlled things with authority,
And covered every blade of grass,
And never gave a wayward pass,
Displaying, once again, his sheer
Brilliance as in South Korea.

He did not tire towards the end,
As other, younger figures tend,
But kept up the relentless pace,
Retaining at all times such grace.
His reading of the game was such
That no-one caught the eye as much.
Not afraid to grasp the thistle,
Though always playing to the whistle.

Yes, Anders Frisk must surely be,
As my friend Pat remarked to me,
The greatest ref this world has seen, a
Hairier Pierre Collina.
And Irish fans still dwell upon
Those pennos given in Suwon –
A weak ref would not take the risk.
Undaunted though was Anders Frisk.
Ireland 0 Brazil 0

Kilbane Out-Brazilians the Brazilians

Ronaldo, Kaka, Ronaldinho,
Roberto Carlos and Juninho
Huffed and puffed but could not score,
Well-marshalled by our tight back four.

And each was proved less skilful than
The marvellous Zinedine Kilbane.
Ireland 0 Brazil 0

No Grounds For Complaint

From Bertie Bowl to Fransdowne Road,
The journey’s long and winding.
But Bertie has his word bestowed,
And, as we know, that’s binding.

They say he’s pledged in days of yore,
And then had to withdraw it,
Like last time and the time before,
And then the time before it.

But this time everything has changed
It really is uncanny.
The building work has been arranged,
He swears it on his granny.

While construction’s underway,
The DART won’t be affected,
So overcrowding and delay
Will not be unexpected.

Mary must have deigned to give
Her blessing ‘pon the project.
PD voters mustn’t live
Around this massive object.

Will Bertie’s statue stand outside
This marvellous erection?
Will its completion coincide
With Ireland’s next election?

Oh, stay my lips and hush my tongue!
Such thoughts are reprehensible.
Insinuations have been flung,
Unjust and indefensible.

Bertie wouldn’t tell us lies,
There’s no grounds for suspicions.
Why must we always criticise
Our selfless politicians?

Duffer’s Goal Against Canada

He got the ball outside his box
With countenance intense.
Like Maradonna with blond locks,
He charged at the defence.

The ball seemed tethered to his lace
As onwards he cavorted,
And every scared Canadian face
Did seem a mite contorted.

Past the halfway line he ran,
With narrow tunnel vision,
Defenders almost to a man
Were filled with indecision.

And then, as he approached the goal,
At last they came to meet him.
But with his subtle close control,
They simply could not beat him.

A subtle touch and he was through,
The goalie tried to block it,
But there was little he could do,
It went in like a rocket.

The Mounties always get their man,
That may be true enough.
For mostly they stuck to that plan,
But they could not catch Duff.
Ireland 2 Canada 0

Have You Seen Dave Connolly, Brian [Standing in the Shadows]?

‘Twas Ruby Tuesday in the rain, the game was quite a belter,
Though sitting out there all exposed, I shouted “Gimme Shelter.”
The Last Time that we played the Turks, they beat us fair and square,
And my Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown happened when we went out there.

The game was quite a good one, Ireland did Not Fade Away,
Though at the end, those Tumbling Dice all landed Ireland’s way.
We were nearly Out of Time, when up stepped Richard Dunne,
Who’d Come On just before when Turkey thought they had it won.

Up till then, they’d beaten us, we watched As Tears went By,
Which goes to prove that I am just a stupid Fool To Cry,
Time was far from On our Side, till Dickie took his bow,
And then the referee blew up, saying “Its All Over Now.”

Don’t Start Me Up ‘bout our defence, we’ve problems at the back,
Although ‘twas just a friendly, and I’m loathe to Paint It Black,
I Can’t Get No Satisfaction from the draw, though goodness knows,
You Can’t Always Get What You Wanna, I suppose.
Ireland 2 Turkey 2 on the same day the Rolling Stones were in town

I Had a Dream...

Ireland versus Switzerland, the match was very tight,
Though Shay in goal had hardly had a shot to save all night.
Finnan, Breen and Cunningham, the mighty John O’Shea
Had worked extremely hard to keep the Swiss attack at bay.

Then suddenly from out the tunnel charged a herd of cattle.
With ringing bells they seemed intent on joining in the battle.
They stampeded straight at our defence who didn’t stand a chance,
Obviously unprepared for such a circumstance.

Well, they chased them and they caught them and they squashed them in the dirt,
They trampled with their flailing hooves – I’m sure it must have hurt,
They mashed them and they bashed them and they ground them in the mud,
Till our defence consisted of a mass of flesh and blood.

The ref got out the rulebook but was quite uncertain which
Chapter dealt with herds of cattle charging on the pitch.
The Swiss could not believe their luck and waltzed right through to score,
Which manifestly shows the dangers of a flat back four.

The Rime of the Ancient Optimist

The Matterhorn stands high above the Bernese Oberland,
Glistening escarpments proudly fashioned by God’s hand.
High up in the stratosphere the gusting currents wail,
But it is not as high as that great mountain we will scale.

In spring from suffocating snow unfurls the edelweiss,
Bringing warmth and colour to a landscape clothed in ice.
Its arrival tells the cowering world that life will soon begin,
But much more blooming marvellous would be an Ireland win.

The cows above the tree line are all troubled by the hex,
Of wearing massive clanking bells around their fly-strewn necks.
The thin, clear air reverberates with clonking bells galore,
But all the bells of Ireland will ring out if Ireland score.

The lakes within the cantons are all crystal clear and blue,
Neuchatel, Geneva and Luzern and Glarus too,
Shining ‘neath the woods and snow, contrasting green and white,
But none will be as blue as all the Swiss on Saturday night.

The arrow pierced the apple perched on Wilhelm Tell’s son’s head.
He mustn’t care for apples much, the puzzled peasants said.
But Keano is the Wilhelm Tell of Ireland’s rebel nation,
And hopefully we’ll see again that archer celebration.

Tributes to Swiss chocolate run to many reams of print,
Some will swear by Suchard, whereas others go for Lindt,
And Toblerone is loved by all, though I must tell you this,
There’s none will be as sweet as Irish vict’ry ‘gainst the Swiss

Switzerland 2 Ireland 0

Miscarriage of Justice

Another awards ceremony,
Tuxedos and trite laughter.
The compere told us that the News
Would follow shortly after.

“Personality of the Year.”
[I think that was the title]
“And here to read the nominees…”
My God! It’s Harvey Keitel!

Harvey strolled up to the mike
And told a funny story.
The camera panned in on the smiles
Of Fat Spice and Hugh Laurie.

“The nominees,” said Harvey, as
The laughter faded slowly,
“Are an actress from Eastenders and
A brilliant Irish goalie.”

Cue a little bit of film,
The music from Eastenders,
Dot Cotton in her headscarf
Fighting off some moneylenders.

Cue a bit of football film,
The Irish national anthem,
Chris Eubank saying Shay Given is
“Formidable and handthome.”

Harvey tore the envelope and
Pulled the card out quickly,
But suddenly his pallor went
All vomit-green and sickly.

“Dot Cotton,” he announced at last,
And everyone grew restless,
Except for Dot who blithely bounced
Around, so lithe and chestless.

The audience smiled nervously,
Assuming he was jesting,
But very quickly it became
More serious protesting.

Andrea Corr began the chant
[She thought the judging rotten.]
She jumped upon a table, crying
“For Given, not for Cotton!”

Stephen Carr

Few things in life inspire me, or cause my heart to sing,
But one of them is seeing Carr go motoring down the wing.
He’s got a great little engine, for he’s always on the go,
His bodywork’s superb [at least my missus tells me so]
Exhausted by the end, he always does more than required,
So obviously, apres match, he’s often choked and tyred.
He’s smaller than Van Nistlerooy, which isn’t a surprise,
[And as for Lorry Sanchez, well, he’s nearly twice the size]
No matter what the gear he’s in, he always looks so classy,
Although, to be quite honest, I’ve not checked beneath the chassis.

The Aussies are Coming

The Aussies are coming to Lansdowne tonight,
Meself and the young lad are going,
Which, in itself, is a reason that we
Won’t put on a very good showing.

The Aussies are coming to Lansdowne tonight,
With two who play for Glasgow Rangers.
We aren’t allowed boo, so we’ll cheer them instead,
And make some new friends out of strangers.

The Aussies are coming to Lansdowne tonight,
The famous, improved Socceroos,
And rumour is rife, for an hour and a half,
They’ll manage to stay off the booze.

The Aussies are coming to Lansdowne tonight,
I don’t mean those rugby impostors.
Brian’s prepared well, and has a game plan-
Deliver a crateful of Fosters.

The Aussies are coming to Lansdowne tonight,
Scwartzer, Viduka and Kewell,
Though doubtless the latter will not have improved
Since he joined up with Heskey at ‘Pewell.

The Aussies are coming to Lansdowne tonight,
We’ll show them a lot of respect,
For the last time they played in these islands, of course,
Poor En-ger-land’s chances were wrecked.

The Aussies are coming to Lansdowne tonight,
What cards will Dame Providence deal us?
But we shouldn’t go gambling or take any risks,
We’d better all lock up our Sheilas.

The Aussies are coming to Lansdowne tonight,
Meself and the young lad are going,
We’re wearing our t-shirts, so come half past eight,
Its bound to be raining or snowing.
Ireland 3 Australia 0

Apologies to all Aussies

Whose was the sparkling idea
At a packed Lansdowne Road last night?
The motives were vague and unclear,
The action offensive and trite.

We have an immense reputation
For welcoming fans from abroad.
Their anthems receive an ovation,
Their excesses are largely ignored.

So why the intense provocation?
Why should we be so insulting?
Twas only through chance situation
That violence wasn’t resulting.

The Aussies are normally cheerful,
Ebullient, with great bonhomie,
But prior to the match they were tearful,
And well they had reason to be.

The music pre-match was quite harmless,
We bore it with scarcely a frown,
But it changed to offensive and charmless,
When they played “Tie Me Kangaroo Down.”

Ireland 3 Australia 0

The Raven

(with apologies to Edgar Allan Poe)

[It is October 2002, the day after Ireland’s disastrous home defeat to the Swiss, which renders Ireland’s qualification for the European Championships well nigh impossible.]
Once upon a midnight bloody,
Lounged McCarthy in his study,
Pondering the harsh, unholy
Portents of the night before.
Wounded deep by Hakan Yakin,
Press suggesting he was lackin’,
Conspiring to demand his sackin’,
This knave let out a hollow roar.
They might well demand his sacking,
Quoth McCarthy, “One game more!”

As he lolled upon his cushions,
Contemplating Swiss and Russians,
Thoughts of Saipan filtered brusquely,
Conjured up from days of yore.
Through the murky mists came hobblin’,
With a football madly bobblin’,
A vision of the Mayfield goblin
Striding through that hotel door.
Grinning madly, that foul goblin
Smiled and whispered, “Never more!”

As he dozed, consumed and troubled,
Dreadfully the vision doubled,
And another wizened figure
Strode triumphant ‘cross the floor.
To the poor, untutored layman,
Pranced a single-minded Shaman,
‘Twas the scheming, whistling Eamonn
Dunphy, ballpoint to the fore.
Then that mystic, wrinkled Eamonn
Dunphy whispered, “Never more!”

Assaulted by this smirking twosome,
With their accents stark and gruesome,
McCarthy woke with brow perspiring,
Beads of sweat through every pore.
And, as he ceased his nervous napping,
He thought he heard a tiny rapping
Through the night come tap-tap-tapping,
Hard upon his study door.
“Who on earth is tap-tap-tapping?”
Angrily did he implore.

Like a most disgruntled rhino,
Swept he swiftly o’er the lino,
And with scarce concealed impatience,
Grasped the handle of the door.
Then this sad and lonely figure
Flung the door ajar with vigour,
And though he thought he heard a snigger,
Deep black night was all he saw.
“Did I really hear a snigger?”
Quoth McCarthy, nothing more.

Worried now, he hesitated,
Thwarted by his ghosts, frustrated,
Till at last, his patience snapping,
Violently he slammed the door.
But as the clock resumed tick-tocking,
Fancied he, he heard a knocking,
Barely heard and faintly mocking,
Mocking as McCarthy swore.
“Who is this so faintly mocking?”
Came a small voice, “Never more!”

“This is not imagination!”
Cried McCarthy with frustration,
“Someone close is out there standing
Hard upon my study door.”
Thus the bould McCarthy reckoned,
As he paused for just one second,
Till once more the small voice beckoned
From the night’s Plutonian shore.
Softly now the small voice beckoned,
Softly chiding, “Never more!”

McCarthy wrenched the door with passion
In a most ungodly fashion,
The pulse within his temple throbbing,
Senses shaken to the core.
And, as he scratched his chin unshaven,
Through the door there stepped a craven,
Hollow-eyed, ungodly raven,
With a most distinctive caw.
Cackled this ungodly raven
Quite distinctly, “Never more!”

Up on Charlton’s bust it fluttered,
As McCarthy darkly muttered,
Uttered oaths not heard in heaven
Nor upon Nirvana’s shore.
Showing scant regard for fleeing,
There it perched with eyes unseeing,
Staring at the human being,
Standing there with slackened jaw.
Sneering at the human being,
As it murmured, “Never more!”

McCarthy stared at this black vision,
Bereft of logic and decision,
Something in the bird’s demeanour
Stuck fast in his stubborn craw.
The accent that foul bird had uttered,
As it upwardly had fluttered,
Was surely that which Cork men uttered,
According to the rebel lore.
[McCarthy blanched when Cork men muttered]
Quoth the raven, “Never more!”

“Get thee hence, ungodly creature!”
Cried McCarthy like a preacher
Exorcising demons in a
Tableau from a holy war.
But the raven perched there tightly,
Three days stubble quite unsightly,
Cruciate ligaments flexing lightly,
Face towards the study door.
McCarthy’s face was flushing brightly.
Quoth the raven, “Never more!”

“Are these the only words you’re able
To impart, black bird of fable?
Have you learned them parrot-fashion
From a most obtuse macaw?
Seest thou not, that I wish that you
Leave my Big Jack Charlton statue?
Go now! Quit my habitat, you
Are not welcome, that’s for sure.
Please, now, leave my habitat, you!”
Quoth the raven, “Never more!”

The raven’s eyes burned with cold fire.
“What,” McCarthy did enquire,
Is the reason for your rapping,
Tapping on my study door?
I have work that needs attending,
Faxes urgently need sending,
A coach’s work is never-ending,
Especially when results are poor.
The Swiss made fun of our defending.”
Quoth the raven, “Never more!”

Then McCarthy saw this raven
Was a harbinger, a craven
Doom-strewn messenger of fortune,
Sent to speak eternal law.
Round the study blind he lumbered,
Ireland’s future unencumbered,
For his days were shortly numbered,
Resignation lay in store.
He realised his days were numbered,
As the bird spoke, “Never more!”

To this day, it sits besmirching
Charlton’s bust, ungainly perching,
In McCarthy’s study blithely,
Still of eye and sharp of claw.
Despite the fire, the room grows colder,
Still it sits there, darker, bolder,
Two big chips upon each shoulder,
Staring blindly at the door.
Will McCarthy move that boulder?
Cries the raven, “Never more!”

Basel Faulty

Disappointed, not distraught,
We’re not as good as we had thought.
Inflated dreams conspired to dazzle
Irish eyes that went to Basel.
Defence as holey as Swiss cheese,
There’s no point learning Portuguese.
Keane and Duffer barely figured,
Frei and Chapuisat both sniggered,
Midfield barely posed a threat,
Performances we may forget,
Frightened of the Swiss attackin’,
Gugelhopfed by Hakan Yakin.
When Frei poached their second goal
We all looked for a Heidi hole.
Put it bluntly, we were dismal,
Deserved to lose and quite abysmal,
Never ever looked like scoring,
Build ups tedious and boring,
No wonder that the Irish crowd
Barely spoke a word out loud,
Overrun by reds and whites
And cowbells ringing for the Schweiz.
Blame it on McCarthy, sure,
But don’t pretend that we weren’t poor.

So, disappointment by the Rhein,
But not as bad as Liechtenstein.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Return to the Park

When the lads returned home from Korea,
We sung out their names loud and clear –
Staunton and Keane,
Duff, Harte and Breen,
Kinsella and McAteer.

But we must have been out on the beer-o,
For our manners were all shot to zero.
Kilbane was ignored
Didn’t get his reward,
You might say he’s an unsung hero.

In Praise of “Donkeys” – A Rant

I thought that it was very rude,
The day that Kev Kilbane got booed.
He may not have Duff’s speed or grace,
Nor is he quite as fair of face,
But one thing cannot be denied –
When wearing green, he’s always tried.

Gary Breen gets fierce abuse
From those who say that he’s no use.
Positionally, he’s quite suspect,
In terms of speed, he’s often wrecked.
But in the cauldron of Japan,
Bould Gary was your only man.

And Doherty and Connolly
Are criticised most constantly.
Beside the likes of Keane and Duff,
Perhaps they are not good enough,
But they would beg and swallow dirt
To pull on Ireland’s famous shirt.

Your game can sometimes fall apart,
As in Japan with Ian Harte,
Who got the most enormous flak
For his mistakes while at left back.
A lesser man might walk away,
But Ian always wants to play.

It’s fashionable today to jeer
The likes of Jason McAteer.
Such a pre-pubescent boy
For daring to provoke our Roy.
But Jason, thank you very much
For those two goals against the Dutch.

Damien Duff and Robbie Keane
Are rightly heroes of the green.
They have the talent and the skill
To turn a football game at will.
But should we really damn the rest,
Who try as hard, but aren’t as blessed.

There are players who don’t take the mickey,
Act the goat, or pull a sickie.
Forgive the pun, but always keen
To join the squad and wear the green,
And walk through hell and swallow crap
To gain an international cap.

And then there’s others I won’t name,
Who play the club or country game,
For whom an international match
Intrudes upon their league club’s patch.
And these true “heroes” of our nation
Receive our strongest adulation.

Suwon City

Gaizka Mendieta,
Outside his home in Spain,
Was writing a long letter
To his sweetheart, Elaine.

At the time, Shay Given,
In Spain on holidays,
In a hired car was driven
By Claude, a friend of Shay’s.

Now Claude and Shay were driving
Around and round and round,
No nearer to arriving,
Destination still unfound.

They stopped chez Mendieta,
The window open wide,
And hailed the blond goal-getter,
Sitting there outside.

Mendieta listened,
Looked long and hard at Shay,
Then with a smile that glistened,
He sent him the wrong way.

Robbie Keane’s Last Minute Penalty Against Spain

While we were the fact digesting,
And the Spanish were protesting,
Straight up to the ball ran Keano,
With an almost boyish bound.
Were the nerve ends taut and fraying,
While the Spanish were delaying?
Or did he think that he was playing
Just another kick-around?

Did he realise the massive
Moment, as he watched impassive?
Did the niggly doubts start crawling
Through the portals of his brain?
Was he, as he seemed, uncaring
‘Bout the burden he was bearing,
As he waited, chewing, staring
At the angry men of Spain?

Who, in Ireland, at that moment,
With emotions churned in foment,
Would have volunteered to try
To equalise the Spanish goal?
With the moments slowly dying,
Who’d have faced it, fate-defying,
While all those around were shying
From the challenge of the soul?

Hail the boy that knows no jitters,
While the old man shakes and witters!
Glory to the New World where
The wrinkled angel fears to tread!
Confidently running, scoring,
Head upturned and both arms soaring,
With the adulation pouring
Down upon his uncrowned head.