Play Up Rovers - Sligo Poets

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              Sligo Times 5 April 1913
                   PLAY UP ROVERS.

Now Scotland may boast of her Celtic and Rangers,
   Her Hearts and Hibernians, her Clyde and Dundee,
But I sing in praise of a team in Ould Ireland,
   The Rovers of Sligo I mean, do you see.

With Henry in goal, he’s the best in all Connaught,
   In fact he’s as good as the Scottish Brownlie,
And some day I’m sure he’ll defend his ould country,
   ’Gainst England or Scotland from over the sea.

The full backs, young Gannon, and genial P. Gallagher,
   Are always in, for their kicking is rare,
And for "tacking" or "placing" I’ll back my week’s wages,
   They’re as good as the famed Celtic Dodds and McNair.

The half-backs are splendid, you couldn’t find better
   Than Feeney and Dykes, and young Nevin also,
And if England or Scotland want promising players,
   Just let them come here to the town of Sligo.

With Tiernan in centre, another smart youngster,
   He gets on the ball and he bangs it straight in,
And I say without fear of the least contradiction,
   He shoots just as strong as the great Jimmy Quinn.

On the right wing there’s Mackie, an excellent forward,
   Who knows what to do when he gets on the ball,
And when Gallagher, his partner, gets his toe on the leather,
   The goalkeeper’s chances of saving are small.

On the left we have Scanlon, along with O’Donnell,
   And with these young fliers the team is complete,
They can hood-wink the halves and make rings round the full-backs,
   Their fine combination is simply a treat.

Good luck to you, Rovers, I’ll say in conclusion,
   Keep pegging away, and your form keep up,
And I’ll drink your health in a bottle of cider,
   When you bring into Sligo the Dromahair Cup.

This is a lively tribute to a Sligo football (soccer) team and club. It has a pleasing rhythm which means it could be sung easily. It follows a common style in that it names all the members of the team in turn and praises each in extravagant terms.

This Sligo Rovers was a forerunner of the current Sligo Rovers club which was founded in 1928. Sligo had a number of soccer teams at this stage taking part in various competitions of which the Dromahair Cup was one. Other competitions included the Sligo and Leitrim Challenge Cup and the "Purity" Cup competition.

Sligo teams involved included Stars, Stripes, Distillery, Transport Union, Bohemians and Rovers. Ballymote and Dromahaire also has soccer teams.

It is interesting to note that all the well-known players cited in comparisons were Scottish and three of the four were Glasgow Celtic players. The exception was James Brownlie (1885–1973) who played for Third Lanark and was a Scottish international footballer. He later became a manager.

The Celtic players mentioned were Jimmy Quinn
(1878–1945) the prolific goalscorer and defenders Alec McNair (1883-1951) and Joe Dodds (1887-1965).

Glasgow Celtic football club had been founded in 1887 by
Brother Walfrid, the religious name of Andrew Kerins, a Marist Brother born in Ballymote, Co. Sligo. Sligo born Sean Fallon (1922-2013) played for Sligo Rovers and Glenavon before being signed by Celtic. He also played for the Republic of Ireland and later served as assistant manager and chief scout for Celtic.

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