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‘Twas at the end of ’76, the Irish were in France,
Where Stapo’s goal from Brady’s cross had given us a chance,
But joy was interrupted by a travesty unfair,
When the peering, Slavic linesman raised his flag into the air.
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Summertime in’77, in Sofia we strayed,
But once again, the Irish fans were cruelly dismayed.
Givens was about to shoot, they barged him in the back.
The ref deemed that a fair way to break up the green attack.
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Then Gilesy struck a beauty, and the points were in the bag,
But twenty minutes afterwards, the linesman raised his flag.
The Bulgars were so fortunate to win by 2-1, which
Is why the home supporters clapped the Greek ref off the pitch.
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Two years later, back in Paris, losing by a goal,
Kevin Moran nods it down with marvellous control,
Robbo puts it in the net to answer Ireland’s call,
But incredibly the ref decides a hand has touched the ball.
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1981 in March, we’re off to play in Brussels,
A game that many people see as one of our great tussles.
And Stapo scores before half-time to stupefy the crowd,
And no-one has a notion why the goal is disallowed.
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And then, towards the very end, the Belgians get a free,
The ball is blasted at the net with great ferocity.
It flies up off an Irish head, away up in the air,
And Irish goalie, Jim McDonagh, doesn’t have a prayer.
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He’s trampled on and kicked and gouged and mashed into the ground,
He’s punched and kneed and disembowelled by everyone around,
And as the ball comes down again, Jan Ceulemans is there
To nod into the empty net, which seemingly’s quite fair.
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Giles in the seventies just couldn’t understand,
What he had done to have been dealt a most unlucky hand.
And later, in the eighties, Eoin Hand did feel the same,
When terrible decisions robbed his team of hard-earned fame.