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Smyth, a sergeant in the RUC, was married with three children-a boy and two girls. One Saturday afternoon in January at the start of the 1990s, when the sky was a grey lid that threatened to squash the whole town, the policeman’s son, improbably named Paolo (he had been conceived in Italy when his parents were on holiday) attended a match at his grammar school. The match was a draw. This was some feat, given the opposition were an infinitely superior team from Belfast.

There was a bar in the town where underage drinkers, under certain circumstances, were able to…

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