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Do you remember the days of the Marney affair,
When great howls of anguish and pain rent the air,
When Ollie’s avuncular face was not placid,
When Dolan wrote newspaper columns with acid,
When an almost unbearable pressure was on us,
With both teams unflinchingly chasing League honours,
When the high moral ground was too narrow for two,
And the voices of reason were muffled and few?
And the matches were tense, as no quarter was given,
And needly moments weren’t quickly forgiven,
And the hatred spewed out from each side of the ground,
With neutral supporters nowhere to be found,
And you prayed to the last that your team would prevail,
And contemplate suicide if they should fail,
And the atmosphere crackled as tackles went flying,
And losing a goal brought some men close to crying,
And taunting and jeering found extra intensity,
Deriding the others’ deplorable density.
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But those days are gone now, we’re in a new era,
And all those debatable issues seem clearer.
Though each set of fans is convinced they were right,
Most people allow things were not black and white.
The whole sorry saga, though still well-disputed,
And superior morals still strongly refuted,
Does not now invoke such an outraged reaction,
As back in the days of the nine-point subtraction.
Now, people debate it with logical thought,
Instead of just grunting a foul-mouthed retort.
And Patrick’s have slipped from their lofty position,
No longer providing such feared opposition.
We still love to beat them, they love to beat us,
But the gulf that has grown has negated the buzz.
For, if they should beat us, we’d still be upset,
But it wouldn’t engender a suicide threat.
Besides, though our feelings have started to soften,
Defeat, truth be told, doesn’t happen that often.
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And so, my dear readers, I pose you this question,
Which some might decry as a monstrous suggestion:
If travelling through time were already in place,
Which Pat’s side would you be more willing to face?
The Pat’s team that battled and fought to the last,
Who were rarely, if ever, completely outclassed?
In a tension-filled match with adrenalin flowing,
The fans’ exhortations increasingly growing,
With your heart in your mouth for the whole of the game,
Just needing a spark to rekindle the flame?
Or would you play Pat’s with their team in transition
And struggling to gain a mid-table position?
When the three points on offer are easily won,
And there’s quiet satisfaction of a job that’s well done?
When there isn’t that tension, that gut-wrenching knot,
That, two or three years ago, all of us got?
No magical nights, just three points on the board,
Well gained, as opposed to most valiantly clawed?