Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ireland vs. Cameroon 2002

And so in the Niigata heat,
We uttered forth a mournful song.
The rhythm of the bodhran beat
Still echoed passionate and strong,
But hearts were heavy to a man
O’er what had happened in Saipan.

The men in green thus took the pitch,
Though all the chatter was about
A man at home in England, which
Increased our worrying self doubt,
Insulting men who chose to stay
And fight for us with feet of clay.

And lo! Those doubts appeared well-founded.
The Cameroon with skill and strength
Upon the Irish rearguard pounded,
Occupying them at length.
Desp’rate, they en masse defended,
Optimism now suspended.

Given played a hero’s role
To keep the Cameroon at bay,
But could do nothing ‘bout the goal
That caused the Irish ranks dismay.
And as Mbomo celebrated,
Ireland’s World Cup hopes deflated.

And when the second half began,
The Africans got in their stride,
And Geremi soon lost his man,
But blazed the sitter inches wide.
Under pressure. One behind.
Saipan heavy on our mind.

But then we got a slice of luck,
As Song essayed to clear a threat,
And Mattie Holland gleeful struck
Into the corner of the net.
And we all danced with sheer relief,
Regaining some small self-belief.

Then Ireland, heady, pinned them back
And, nervous apprehension lost,
They piled forward in attack,
Got it down the wings and crossed.
But Cameroon, all back en masse,
Would not allow the Irish pass.

And Finnan, raging down the right,
And Duffer, twisting inside out,
Put up a most courageous fight
And turned this football match about.
And Alioum gave up the ghost,
But Robbie’s screamer struck the post.

And so we earned a point apiece,
And Ireland were well satisfied,
For hopefully the talk would cease
Of how we were a one-man side,
For, playing boldly as a team,
We’d kept alive the World Cup dream.

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