The Greatest Ten Seconds of Irish History

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 The worthy Moran, staunch and unafraid,
With steadfast foot the lifeless ball did send
With elevation to the English end,
Where Stapleton with sunken cheekbones preyed.
But wily Frank did judge it not to well,
Well marshalled as he was by Stevens fair,
Of strong physique and frankly suspect hair,
And turned aside embittered as it fell.
But leapt the massive Wright into the fray,
Hot headed ‘neath the burning Stuttgart sun,
And though the probing missile had seem’d won,
His foolish interjection did dismay
The red-cross’d hordes that gasped in disbelief,
For Wright and Stevens crashed upon the pitch,
Abandoning the bouncing football which
Was seized upon by Galvin like a thief.
Then swivelled Tony Galvin uncoerced,
And lobbed the ball with angled foot inside,
But Irish smiles like fading sunlight died
As Sansom moved to reach the object first.
But lo! the ball before said Sansom bounced,
And as the Arsenal fullback made to swing
His foot to lash the ball on down the wing,
Kind fate with sweet poetic justice pounced.
And thus the ball directly upward flew
With joyous imprecation to the skies,
And as the English watched it with surprise,
Moustachioed John Aldridge watched it too.
And with a spring from luscious turf well primed,
His em’rald shirt o’er white defender soared
And gained the most significant reward
From salmon leap immaculately timed.
And from the cheeky Scouser’s furrowed brow,
The ball in perfect arc and calm control
Was commandeered sideways ‘cross the goal,
As far as it’s volition would allow.
And all alone the stocky Houghton came
To meet the urging ball with mop-strewn head,
And as perfidious Albion watched with dread,
Young Razor earned his everlasting fame.
Inch by inch the spinning football went,
Eagerly eluding Shilton’s might,
Until it reached the apex of it’s flight,
When carefully it started it’s descent.
And in a scene no Gael will e’er forget,
As all the Universe in wonder stopped,
The ball with grace o’er groping Shilton dropped,
And landed with crescendo in the net.


June 12th 1988 Stuttgart. The first time we’d ever qualified for a World Cup or European Championships. Our first game of the tournament. Against England. And we won.

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/the-greatest-ten-seconds-of-irish-history/