The Ballad of May 2nd 1985

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 ‘Twas on the second day of May in nineteen eighty five,
Shels had to win in Terryland in order to survive.
The coach it had no empty seats upon that fateful day,
The time the Shels supporters all went down to Galway Bay.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 Upon that long, long journey, you could feel a nervous tension,
Fingernails chewed to the bone in gnawing apprehension.
We had to win this final match, as everybody knew,
For we’d be relegated if we lost or if we drew.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 We left the coach at Terryland to face our Judgement Day,
And walked in with the players so we didn’t have to pay.
For one long hour, we stood and talked, or leant against the fence,
Then Paddy Daly whistled and the match it did commence.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 From the start the Galway team decided to attack,
They pushed their players forward and they stretched us at the back,
And, though we held on bravely for a half an hour or more,
At last their pressure paid off and United got a score.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 Then, as we fought back valiantly, they broke away at speed,
And, much to our dismay, another goal we did concede,
And, as the half time whistle blew, we hung our heads in shame.
It seemed as if we’d thrown away our chance to win the game.

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 But, when the match restarted, Shelbourne were a different side,
The ranks of Galway players were swept back against the tide.
Then suddenly a player broke, that player was Paul Newe,
He chipped it o’er the keeper and that made the score one-two.

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 And, with that goal, the level of the tension seemed to rise,
Recklessly we pushed men up to try and equalise.
Then Paddy Joyce he got the chance to show his ball control,
Dave Mackey jumped to meet his cross and headed in the goal.

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 The tension rose to fever pitch, we shouted even more,
As we abandoned all defence to get that vital score.
And in the closing stages, there was only one team in it,
But time was dead against us and we counted every minute.

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 Then Galway broke away and, when we couldn’t meet the threat,
A rocket of a shot was smashed towards the gaping net.
Our hopes were dashed so cruelly, so near and yet so far,
Then Freddie Davis launched himself and tipped it o’er the bar.

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 Then Christoph Steck was brought down as he tried to take a shot,
And Paul McDermott chipped the free towards the penalty spot,
Paul Mullen rose and headed it with everything he had –
It hit the bar and crossed the line and everyone went mad.

11 Leave a comment on verse 11 0 From deep despair at half time, there was now a wild elation,
And when the final whistle blew, there was a pitch invasion,
We’d overtaken Sligo and had managed to stay up,
No greater joy there could have been if we’d just won the Cup.

12 Leave a comment on verse 12 0 The night that followed ever will be hazy to recall,
We laughed and sang and drank champagne and toasted one and all,
What time we got back home that night is difficult to say,
The day that Shelbourne triumphed on the shores of Galway Bay.



The most exciting match I’ve ever seen, and the one that inspired me to put pen to paper for the first time.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/the-ballad-of-may-2nd-1985/