We gazed dumbfounded at the screen,
And with uncomprehending eyes,
Sought desperately to realise
The impact of the goal just seen.
We sought the answer in our stout,
We looked for solace from our pain,
As if bould Arthur could explain
That score from thirty five yards out.
The Dutch were quite a useful side.
No shame to lose to such as them,
For we admired the orange crème,
And thought they would not be denied.
But ‘twas the manner of the goal,
The second one that sealed our fate,
That we could not articulate,
For it defied our very soul.
Packie Bonner, ten feet tall,
The rock behind the green defence,
Reliable and so immense,
Did get his chest behind the ball.
And everybody glanced away
Before the save was made complete,
For Wim Jonk’s drive would never beat
The greatest goalie of the day.
But then, alive, the football eased
Out of his rock-steady hands.
Euphoria in the Netherlands,
As just inside the post it squeezed.
No word of blame was cried aloud,
No plaintive cursing rent the air.
There was no anger anywhere,
As Packie squatted down, head bowed.
No matter that our dream was dead,
No matter that our hopes were slashed,
No matter that the Cup was dashed,
And we were coming home instead.
It mattered more that Packie Bonner,
In stadia both near and far,
Between the posts, beneath the bar,
Had served his country with great honour.
And now, as with a crack of thunder,
His confidence severely battered,
His reputation had been shattered
By one most unbecoming blunder.
And all of Ireland, as one, felt
For Packie in that dreadful second,
As international twilight beckoned,
And cursed the hand that fate had dealt.