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The County Cork Cup Final’s a rumbustuous affair,
Inflaming all the partisan supporters gathered there.
Parochial allegiances are passionate and strong,
For loyalty is keenest to the place that you belong.
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Guagan Barra’s finest had been paired with Skibbereen.
The slagging was incessant and hostilities were keen.
Football took the centre stage, all daily life was scorned,
And everyone woke early as the fateful morning dawned.
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Everyone, that is, except for drunken Daniel Foley,
Skibbereen’s exceptional but maverick young goalie.
‘Twas nearly noon before he stirred his thick and heavy head,
And stared, uncomprehending, at the unfamiliar bed.
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“Cup of tea?” a voice enquired. “I hope you feel all right?
You could barely take your clothes off, when I brought you home last night.
Still, you were immaculate, to say the very least!
Now here’s a cup of tea, and then we’ll go and see the priest.”
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Daniel scratched his aching head, and rubbed his bleary eyes,
Accepting cup and saucer with unparalleled surprise.
He gazed upon her wizened face, and finely whiskered jaw.
“That’s it! I’m finished with the drink!” he most devoutly swore.
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“I’m sorry, miss,” he said out loud, “There must be some mistake,
Due to all the stout of which last night I did partake.
I’m sorry if I raised your hopes by saying we’d be wed,
But honestly, I can’t recall a single thing I said.”
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“Hush, hush,” replied the widow, “and please mind that china cup.
I kind of half suspected that you’d had too much to sup.
Deep down, I always knew that you were much too good a catch,
Although I still believe that we would make the perfect match.”
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“Match?” repeated Daniel. “Cup?” he muttered slowly.
Then daylight dawned upon this young inebriated goalie.
“Oh Lord!” he gasped, “it’s twelve o’clock, the match begins at three.
I’ll have to go, my faithful heart, there’s somewhere I should be.”
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“Away you go!” the widow said, “God speed you on your way!
At least last night helped briefly keep senility at bay!
I’ve seen the sailors land in port, I’ve seen them all set sail,
But, boy, you are the finest thing that’s come into Kinsale.”
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“Kinsale??” repeated Daniel, and he gave a mournful wail.
“By all the holy saints, how did I end up in Kinsale?
Sure, it’s a town I’ve never ever been to in my life!
Not only that, I almost got a widow as a wife.”
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“Tell me, love,” he blurted out, his senses quite befuddled,
“Answer me this question, for my brain is somewhat puddled.
I’m really not familiar with the transportation scene.
Pray, what time is the next bus that goes down to Skibbereen?”
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The widow smiled. “You maybe won’t be leaving us so soon!
The next bus leaves the village square on Wednesday afternoon.
So what’s your hurry? Stay a while! We’ll get to know each other,
Although I have to say, I’m old enough to be your mother.”
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But Daniel let an anguished cry that touched the widow’s soul,
And he told her of the match and how he had to play in goal.
And thus she took great pity on this miserable young man,
So she sat down at his bedside and she told him of a plan.
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Some paratrooper “friends” of hers, were staying in the town.
They owed her several “favours,” so they’d maybe drop him down.
Young Daniel was delighted with the lifeline he’d be thrown,
And quickly put his clothes on, while she went downstairs to phone.
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The paratroopers came up trumps, to give the lads their due,
And said to meet in Reilly’s field at twenty five to two.
Dan thanked the widow fulsomely and pecked her on the cheek,
And promised he would come back down and take her out next week.
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At Reilly’s field, a Cessna idled, sinking in the mud.
Dan had never flown and knew he wouldn’t feel that good.
But there was no alternative, things had to be that way,
But still, the flimsy aeroplane just filled him with dismay.
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The paras were a friendly bunch, and helped him pack his ‘chute.
Daniel liked the toggles and remarked that they looked cute.
“They’re cute enough,” the corporal smiled, and looked him in the eye,
“But mind you do not pull them till ten seconds have gone by.”
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“What?” the Skibbereen man yelled, in manic disbelief.
“There’s no way I am jumping out – I’m bound to come to grief.
Why can’t we find a nice flat stretch of land outside the town?
Things would be much smoother if you put this baby down.”
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“No can do,” the pilot said, “the fields are far too small.
We’ll end up in a cattle trough, or smashed against a wall.
I know you think we’re lunatics, and criminally insane,
But I’m sorry, you’ve no option but to jump out of the plane.”
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Well, Daniel’s heart did somersaults, his legs just turned to jelly,
And suddenly his underpants got very, very smelly.
The corporal showed him what to do, if problems should arise,
But calling it a “crash course” was perhaps not very wise.
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As time progressed, poor Dan became a very sickly fellow.
His head throbbed like a tom-tom and his skin was deathly yellow.
But football is a powerful drug, and when the right time came,
He leapt into the stratosphere to make that football game.
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At ten to three, he landed, without suffering a glitch,
Fortuitously landing in the centre of the pitch.
To great applause he dashed into the dressing room to change,
Though Barra fans belittled him when he was out of range.
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The match was quite a battleground, teak-tough, uncompromising,
Each team was reduced to nine, which wasn’t too surprising.
Daniel, keeping goal, played well, although he still felt sickly,
For alcohol and altitude had made him somewhat prickly.
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Then, at the death, a Barra forward moved in for the kill,
Powered it past Daniel, and so took the Cup one nil,
The Barra fans went mental, and did make a joyful scene,
But even they felt sorry for the boys from Skibbereen.
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The journo from the Echo was on tasty soundbites bent.
He questioned Dan at length about his parachute descent.
And then he asked his feelings ‘bout that late, late goal from Barra.
“I’m sick,” moaned Dan despondently, “sick as a bleedin’ para!”