FOLLOWING the recent plethora of articles (including one on this site last month) concerning the fascinating 1867 encounter at Dublin docks between Celtic founding father Patrick Welsh and Willie Maley’s father, then a sergeant in the British army, we decided to give the story the trademark 25thMay1967 treatment.
The significance of that curious affair to the early and subsequent course of the history of Celtic Football Club should not be underestimated:
The pigeon fort loomed sentry
o’er ould Liffey’s Dublin quay –
rebellion needed quelling …
those who’d rip their country free
of England’s iron fist,
Britannia’s cruel, oppressive reign.
They’d tried before, were trying still
and surely would again.
Young volunteer’s escape cut off;
a sergeant spiked his plan –
his head was in the noose,
his passage booked to convict-land.
But something touched the soldier’s heart –
what, none may ever know:
shared blood? … regrets? … compassion?
– well, he let his prisoner go.
Such treason begs the question,
could a pact like that end well?
Depends on how you view it –
made in Heaven or in Hell.
Could be my freedom fighter
is a terrorist to you …
vice-versa, too, admittedly –
was truism e’er so true?
To Scotia’s shore young Pat Welsh fled
and prospered at the cloth –
in time their paths would cross again,
to launch a behemoth.
At Walfrid’s call, the tailor
brought his influence to bear
on sergeant Maley’s offspring,
sworn to Celtic’s cause foursquare.
Thus history unfolded – yet how
different things might be
had that curious encounter
not transpired on a Dublin quay.
Had that sergeant and that tailor
not been who they were and when,
could the Celtic, as we know it,
have evolved the same, my friend?