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Posts Tagged ‘Airtricity League’

The first Irish national to score in the new Lansdowne Road? Dave Mulcahy. A nice goal against Manchester United, and no doubt a mantlepiece photograph for decades to come.

Saint Patrick’s Athletic played in the last soccer match in Lansdowne before renovation, so how fitting one of our own would be the first Irish player to pop one in. Sure Jonny Evans got one for United (You know, that team everyone was cheering for….) before Mulcahy, but he’s from ‘up there’.

Whatever you make of the poxy Calcio Moderno, or modern game, there is no denying the mess the Football Association of Ireland made of it tonight. Was that fixture designed to promote the Irish domestic game? Did they not consider the fact that before earlier this week, many of these lads have never played together? For the second time in a week, a Dave Mulcahy goal felt more like a victory in itself.

In another pretty meaningless friendly only last month, Bohs managed to beat a strong Aston Villa side at Dalymount Park. Without ringing up Sherlock Holmes, one can presume the fact Bohemian F.C are an actual football team themselves and not a selection of players from the four corners of the country helped in that one. This might have been a pre-season for Manchester United, granted- but League of Ireland fans know only too well we’re more than halfway through a season.

Hopefully one moment of skill or two from a domestic player tonight will lure a family to their local club this weekend. It was quite sad to hear the usual ‘is the League a pile of crap’ debate open up on Adrian Kennedy tonight. Even a small portion of the money that leaves this country weekly at Dublin Airport to travel to football abroad, if directed into the domestic game, would have a huge effect. It’s the financial instability of Irish football more than anything that holds the game back. Why are clubs with mass community support and history like Derry City F.C kicking a football around the First Division? Money my friends, money.

Can the FAI really complain about the Celtic/Manchester United/Sunderland (Or eh…never mind that one) leanings of most of the nation’s youth, when the way to promote the domestic game is to send a mix-match of domestic players out to be slaughtered? There is absolutely nothing wrong with supporting any of those teams, the SPL and EPL are both entertaining, but no doubt tonight should have been about Irish football.

Roll on Friday, when three points are at stake again. I just hope our lads aren’t too tired.

Any ideas on building support for the domestic game? Anyone? Send your postcards to...

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On the fourth of August, a League of Ireland selection will take on Manchester United Football Club in the new stadium at Lansdowne Road. Before we go further, that’s what we call it around here. Lansdowne Road.

The day after this, Shamrock Rovers will take on Juventus on Italian soil, in a crucial competitive match. Juventus and Manchester United, two football giants no doubt. Unlike the Shamrock Rovers side taking on Juventus however, the League of Ireland selection are playing for nothing. They’ve never really trained together before this, they play for a wide variety of teams. They’re not a team themselves, and they’ve been chucked together for a glory friendly. To be frank about things, this isn’t the best time either.

Why? Look at the League table. Bohemians, Saint Patrick’s Athletic, Shamrock Rovers and more besides stand a very realistic chance of lifting the League. So far, it’s been rollercoaster stuff, with nobody running away with it and surprises and upsets coming in thick and fast. In the midst of this, I’ve heard this game referred to in the media on multiple occasions now as a ‘pre-season friendly’. This is not a pre-season friendly for us. This is a match that couldn’t be timed much worse in truth.

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Low lie the fields of Belfield Bowl
Where once we watched the great college play
Evan McMillian is our captain
We have dreams and songs to sing
Of the glory round the fields of Belfield Bowl…

I recently wrote a brief bit on the new UCD noisey fans section (they don’t seem to like the term Ultras), who I noticed down at Richmond Park (Who, to their credit, kept singing at 3 goals down. “3 nil, and you still won’t sing…”, coming from Block B)

“Fair play to the lads behind it, as if you can get something like that off the ground at Belfield, you can probably do it anywhere. That’s not having a go at UCD AFC as a team, but it’s probably fair to say if you’re in UCD and a League of Ireland fan- you went there with a team in your life already. Shels, Bohs, Pats, Rovers and a few more to boot, the city is carved up nicely. If you haven’t fallen for a side by the time you go to college, it’s unlikely you’ll become a diehard out of the blue”

Belfield 2011?

Anyway, The University Observer, the official paper of the UCD student body, has just carried out this fantastic interview with the lads behind the new group.

“It’s a bunch of lads having a bit of craic,” he began, musingly. “We’ve always gone to League of Ireland games but not really to support one team. We just said this year we’re going to take on a team and reckoned UCD would be the team with the least fans. So we decided we’d be their fans.”

Some business savvy individual at UCD AFC sorted the lads out with Season Tickets and since then they’ve been attracting a few new individuals, joining with them on match nights. This really is a success story in my own opinion, bringing a bit of life to the game at Belfield.

My only criticism of the lads? Far too nice. Coming to Inchicore and not going beyond a round of ‘Same old Patricks, always cheating’. Whatever about the ‘junkie’ abuse from other Dublin clubs, or the abuse we return- the game is nothing without it. Get stuck in lads. Tax robbing bastards owe us nothing else.

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