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Dalymount. A bitter night. October ‘83.
For Ireland fans there could not be a better place to be.
The European Championships had thrown our boys together
With the brilliant Dutchmen, so who cared about the weather?
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A minute in the second half and Stapleton was clear.
We stood up on our tiptoes and we braced ourselves to cheer.
He took it round the keeper but he pushed it much too wide,
The Dutch defenders scurried back and Stapo was denied.
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If he’d have scored, it would have meant that we were up three-nil,
And even those great Dutchmen would have not climbed up that hill.
But still we had the lead, although the Dutch strove to annul it,
They brought on a new talent by the name of Rudi Gullit.
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Rumour was that he was hot, and so it proved to be,
Inspired by this flamboyant lad, the rampant Dutch scored three.
The only consolation on that night of deep despair,
Was the privilege of seeing a performance of such flair.
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Gelsenkirchen, ‘88, again we met the Dutch,
We countered them with passion, but that did not count for much.
A mis-hit shot, a spinning ball that crept inside the post,
Once again, frustration was the sense that surfaced most.
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‘Twas in Italia ’90 that we sought to end their reign,
But Gullit and his dreadlocks nearly did for us again.
We equalised at last, then tamely settled for a draw,
Carving up the spoils upon that far Sardinian shore.
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We beat them in a friendly back in April ’94,
But in the World Cup Finals, they did conquer us once more.
Two silly, basic errors, and they strolled it in the end,
Giving Ireland lessons how to finish and defend.
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Anfield in December and a play-off place at stake,
We hoped for some good fortune but we didn’t get a break.
‘Twas really quite one-sided as the Dutch controlled the show,
Convincing Mister Charlton that the time was ripe to go.
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World Cup qualifiers for Japan and South Korea,
We scored two early goals from Robbie Keane and McAteer,
But once again, we crumbled when the Dutch chose to attack us,
Scoring twice towards the end, with two tremendous crackers.
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And so, ‘twas back to Dalymount, which couldn’t have been fuller,
The stands awash with either a bright green or orange colour.
The Dutch piled on the pressure, but the chances came and went –
Defending as a unit seemed our singular intent.
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Then Gary Kelly got sent off and Irish spirits sank,
Surely now the Dutch would hurt us down their left hand flank,
But suddenly a cross came o’er, and Jason thundered in,
Smacking it into the net, to set up Ireland’s win.
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Eighteen barren years had passed since Gullit broke our hearts,
Vengeance had not come despite so many hopeful starts.
But finally we did it and we celebrated much
On the day we got our sweet revenge upon the brilliant Dutch.