Trevor Conway – 18 Yards

ÀTrevor Conway, a Sligoman living in Galway since 2005, writes mainly poetry, fiction and songs. He has recorded an album of his songs, released in 2013. His work has appeared in magazines and anthologies across Ireland, Austria, India, the UK, the US and Mexico, where his poems have been translated into Spanish. These publications include ROPES, Decanto, Read This, Fusion, The Literary Yard, Cuadrivio, Periodico de Poesia, Poetic Expressions and Poetry Salzburg Review.

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18 Yards

Inspired by Stephanie Roche*

No-one can teach instinct.
Only a striker who has it
Can tame an awkward ball
And stretch the net in two seconds.

She knows the meaning
Of subtly spoken body shape,
How to throw a shadow on thoughts,
To trust in skill.

She’ll lie in wait, then strike to kill
Despite the trouble of a tight defence.
You’ll find skill, instinct or confidence
In no manual,
But you’ll see them, sometimes, on a football pitch.
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*I’ve written a few poems about football before (both Gaelic and soccer), but it really takes something special to do so (like memories of Ireland’s success in the 1990 World Cup) or something pretty painful (like that night in Paris in 2009). Stephanie Roche’s goal for Peamount United, nominated for the FIFA Puskas Award, provided one of those moments. I’ve watched it about 20-30 times, and I find the skill mesmerising every time. It’s one of the best pieces of skill I’ve ever seen. Though not quite as good as Maradona’s ballet dance through the English midfield and defence in ’86 (video here), Messi’s effort against Getafe in 2007 (here) or Southampton’s amazing team goal against Liverpool in 1981 (here), Roche’s goal is surely the best goal of the 2013/2014 season, and it would be great to see it get the full recognition it deserves. You can cast your vote here if you agree.

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