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Day 17 : Suwon Swansong

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 12 noon IST

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 the streets of Ireland are empty, but the pubs are jammers
filled with fans in fancy hats,
with painted faces and inflatable hammers
the craic is mighty, the drink is flowing
opinions and forecasts, proffered,
from the amateurs, to the all knowing
the crowd edgy, yet excited
all invited
except Roy Keane, left out of the fold
everyone decked out, in green, white and gold
even the zealots, far away from home
in St Peters Square, the Vatican, in the middle of Rome
joining in with the Italians, singing O Sole Mio
where the Pope gives his final blessing, to Padré Pio
we devotedly offer up our prayers, piously pleading,
to this newest Saint
our nervous players, itching to start
passionate supporters, ready to play their part
nerves jangling, standing shoulder to shoulder, some feeling feint
with anticipation
as football fever, grips the Nation
and talking of Saints, rumour has it,
Gary Breen could be heading to Southampton,
or even the Bernabau
Strachan we can understand, but Barcelona?
we incredulously wonder, how?
although he’s certainly better than Benali
and who knows? might feature yet, in this ultimate finale!
today, being Bloomsday, a celebration of the great James Joyce
we joined together, if not in literary, at least anthemic voice …..

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 “you’ll never beat the Irish ….”

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 “come on you boys in green …”

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 “olé, olé, olé, olé, o-lé, ol-é”

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 and as time to kick off nears
we sing louder, to hide our fears …

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 12:30 IST : Game on ….

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 15:10 IST : penalty shootout ….

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 there are no words, no prose, no metre
to describe the suffering, as we teeter ….

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 15:20 IST : Game over ….

11 Leave a comment on verse 11 0 and it’s the Spaniards, who are in clover
but everyone, in the land of shamrock, weeps bitter tears
our worst fears, realised
our fingers prised
away from the trophy, the much sought Jules Rimet
and we’re left gutted, in complete and utter dismay

12 Leave a comment on verse 12 0 there’s no rhyme, reason or verse
can explain the curse
of penalty kicks
there’s no getting away from it …we missed four out of six

13 Leave a comment on verse 13 0 there’s a stillness ….

14 Leave a comment on verse 14 0 there’s not a jig nor a reel
can put a spin, on how we feel ….
(maybe a stanza … if it hit us like a panzer) ….

15 Leave a comment on verse 15 0 disappointed, yes
disbelieving
disconsolate
discontented
discouraged
disenchanted
disgruntled
disgusted
disheartened
disillusioned
dissatisfied
disturbed
dissed, that’s for sure
abject desolation, that’s for certain
downcast, at the manner of the drawing, of our final curtain
how melodramatic, our exit, from the World’s greatest stage
utter misery, to be reflected on every sports page ….

16 Leave a comment on verse 16 0 but soon, there’ll be a swelling of pride
for no matter how much we cried
we’re rightly proud, of our battling side
for on this roller coaster ride
we’ve gone through the full gamut of emotions
but despite all of our devotions
it was not to be
the Holy See
favouring Spain instead
so inside the head
and the heart and the body and the soul
agonised feelings, are naturally running out of control

17 Leave a comment on verse 17 0 and yet it all started so well
in the first minute Robbie goes close
and even in Cobh, in his native County Cork, where Roy started his career
the only resounding chant you can hear…
“Keano, there’s only one Keano…”
then after 8 minutes, disaster strikes
oh no …. Morientes scores …. yikes
a goal celebrated by coach Camacho
early enough into the game, for him to safely raise his hands
and for once, reveal dry armpits, no sweaty glands

18 Leave a comment on verse 18 0 and fair dues, to referee Anders Frisk
handled the game really well, a match so brisk
(later on) even giving a decision so brave
about which, we’ll eternally rave

19 Leave a comment on verse 19 0 unfortunately, Steve Staunton finished his international career, just after half time
going off injured, while I was busily composing the next rhyme
102 caps, an Irish record, a gentleman off the park, no player kinder
all through the tournament, Stan has played a blinder
his reading of the game, worthy of a bookworm
marshalling his defence, holding them steady and firm …
meanwhile, tension mounts
then with a flounce
Duffers weaves his magic spell
hits the ground … “PENNO!” we all yell
up steps Ian Harte …
you could have heard a pin fart …
and then the moans and groans
the penalty saved, but even worse
Kilbane, screws the follow up, we all curse
desperate to change our luck, the subs come on
all likelihood, of victory, seems to have gone
as the sands of time, trickle away
only minutes left, in which to play
tears welling, everything blurs
and then a miracle occurs ….
a long ball into the crowded box
a lot of tussling, the referee cocks
his arm, points to the spot
he’s the only one who’s seen
red tugging on green
Hierro, trying to swap shirts with big Niall Quinn
no matter, Robbie keeps his cool, smacks it in …
bedlam …. bodies bounce off the walls …
the pub, the town, the country, trembles…
and the sound resembles
a quake
and still our bodies shake
all the way through extra time
if Spain had scored, it would have been a crime
as Ireland press, and press some more
they do everything but score
and so it comes to the dreaded penalty shoot-out
FIFA’s fiendish way, to fascinatingly boot out
and usually, its the least deserving team to lose
certainly not the way, any of us would choose…

20 Leave a comment on verse 20 0 so then the nightmare, the curse, of penalty kicks
… ‘twas not be, in total, we miss four out of six

21 Leave a comment on verse 21 0 but we’ll not name, or shame, the protagonists here
for like us, they’ll agonize, year on year

3

Notes

2nd round, the last 16

Sweden 1 Senegal 2 Senegal win with a Golden Goal in extra time

Ireland 1 Spain 1

Spain win 3-2 on penalties

Morientes scores for Spain after 8 minutes
Ireland miss a penalty in the 60th minute
Robbie Keane equalises in the 90th minute
Extra time doesn’t produce a Golden goal, even though Spain play the last 15 mins with just 10 men, due to injury & all their subs used

In the penalty shoot-out, Ireland miss three out of five, Spain miss 2
Mendieta scores the clincher.

Niall Quinn, Steve Staunton and Alan Kelly announce their retirements from the International stage. Mick McCarthy signs up for another two years, to take us through to the European Championships 2004 in Portugal.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/day-17-suwon-swansong/