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Posts Tagged ‘dalymount park’

Dalymount Park, fresh from getting a pre-season lick of paint in the bars and corridors, got a lick of paint outside this weekend too as it played host to a selection of Dublin’s graffiti artists. Two-Headed Dog, Kevin Bohan, Marca Mix, Debut, Iljin, Tommy Rash, Kin Mx, Panda & Elroy and CJ Macken amongst others were involved in Dalymount’s first ever Spray Jam, with paint provided by http://www.vinnybyrne.com/ . Most are pictured below, a couple didn’t come out right, but I’ll get them again on Friday when Bohs play their first home game of the season.

The front gate and the side of the Jodi are the stand-outs in my opinion, but that’s not to take away from the other superb pieces. A long time patron of Dalymount said of the below, and I can’t but agree: “It’s the first thing a foreign or domestic visitor will see as they enter the Mecca… It’s what we’re all about, it’s a statement of intent and something to be proud about.” I’m not sure who owns what, so I’ll just put them up as I took them. Gratuitous dog shot at the end.

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Tomorrow sees Bohs first home League game of the season, and to coin a phrase, all has changed, changed utterly. We’re lucky to have a team on the pitch, never mind a team who, despite their youth, fight like lions for possession and give it their all as seen over the last couple of weeks in the Setanta Cup and our first League game against Derry. I don’t think anyone can be disappointed with the effort put in so far.

But, to the point. Tomorrow evening, at six o’clock or so, I’ll make the journey up North Circular Road. Coming to Mountjoy Prison or there-abouts, I’ll see the beacons in the distance that are the floodlights of Dalymount Park. And then I’ll start to get the jitters. They signify the start of something, generally a night of beer, shouting my head off, beer, football, camaraderie, beer, shouting my head off again and a sense of ‘home.’ They signify everything I love about this League, a feeling those who follow a foreign team might get if they were to make their yearly trip to Old Trafford or Anfield every week instead. But they don’t, and won’t ever feel it the same way. Its a feeling of pride/ despair/ love/ heartbreak/ joy/ pain. (Insert where appropriate.)

Anyways, the reason for this post. Yesterday, the seventh of March was the fiftieth anniversary of the installation of floodlights at Dalymount Park. One of the most striking features of the Phibsboro and indeed the North Dublin skyline has been around for a full half century. How old they are is anyone’s guess when you think the pylons themselves came from Arsenal second hand, and they were guest opposition on the event of their unveiling. Below is a scan of the programme cover from that night, shame I can’t find the match report.

So, for half a century, the phrase “just follow the floodlights” has been used when directing visitors to Dalymount. For half a century, people have been feeling that same feeling I do when I’m walking up the NCR on a Friday night. I can’t wait for it tomorrow, that feeling never grows old. This isn’t the end, and we told you so. Come on Bohs.

Cheers to Giofóg from thebohs.com messageboard’s Da  for uploading the scan, and Dotsy for the picture above.

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My one true love...

Fair play to you Dotsy, original is available in bloody massive format here… It is unbelievable how much I love spending time in this stand.

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I had a dream last night. It went like this. Its a cold, dark Friday evening;  I am in Dalymount Park, on the steps of Block G in the Jodi Stand. With ten minutes to go in the League of Ireland’s last round of games, Shamrock Rovers are trailing 2 – 1 to Bray in the Carlisle Grounds and Twigg has just been sent off for dissent. Bohemians are drawing 1 – 1 with a scrappy Dundalk team here in the home of Irish Football when Paddy Madden is brought down twenty yards out from goal, right in front of us.  After some pushing and shoving, the wall is brought back the required ten yards. Killian Brennan takes four steps back, makes the run up, before gloriously dipping the ball over the wall and… well, I woke up.

The cruel things life does to you. Waking up mid- dream is one thing, but having a real life dream turn into a nightmare is another. Last week,  Bohs were on the pig’s back, (some might say literally,) needing two wins over an injury struck Galway side (who, despite their lowly position have caused us problems all year) and a Dundalk team we’ve beaten twice already this season (and, well, lost to once.) We all know what happened. Galway won 3 – 2 and dare I say it, the ramifications sent tremors down the spines of League of Ireland fans everywhere. It left Shamrock Rovers in pole position to win their first league title in 6, 066 days precisely. While on Friday’s performance, Bohs don’t deserve to win the League, that isn’t going to stop me wanting them to win it.

Pat Fenlon has chastised his players, saying he doesn’t want to see them until before this Friday’s showdown with Dundalk. Captain, Owen Heary has admitted that the team wasn’t up for the fight. Where were the battling qualities present for the unbeaten run stretching back ten games prior to Friday? Thats the question every Bohs fan is left asking. The possibility of an historic three-in-a-row has likely gone amiss. And yet they were still applauded off the field by the travelling support. Certainly not as a gesture of thanks for their performance over the previous ninety minutes. More a salute to the last three years; a goodbye and a thanks for the memories. They had better remember that this Friday if they’re going to finish this season with their heads held high.

We pray to the Spirit of Hunt to lead us to a miraculous three- in- a- row

I spoke in the build up to the Dublin Derby of 2010’s run- in being a battle of the bottlers, and while it makes for heartbreaking rather than heart racing football, that’s what it has become. Bohemians look set to part with, whether they can miraculously clinch the title or not,  a great period in their history. Three fantastic years, some heartbreaking moments aside, that will stick with me in the bleak times ahead. The squad of players that we have now will leave come season’s end, there’s no doubt about that. And with some of those players reported to be making a move to Tallaght Stadium, it will sicken me to see former players (and one in particular who has grafted for Bohs when others played like they couldn’t be bothered,) turn out in green and white next season.

Two League titles, Setanta Cup Champions (and by default, Champions of Ireland,) a League Cup and an FAI Cup in three years. People say we shouldn’t be looking to the past when the future is scarily unclear. What does it hold? In the short term, Pat Fenlon has said he will honour his contract, which ties him to the club until 2013. And while I would love to see the most successful League of Ireland manager of recent years to stay with the club, at his current rate, we just can’t afford him. He says he’ll field a team of kids next year if he has to, and maybe he’ll get the required out of them, hopefully so.

Pat Fenlon's Bohemians in a pre-season friendly against Drumcondra, 2011.

The days of players chasing big contracts around the League have thankfully come to an end; and while the circumstances that have led to this are unfortunate, at least it might bring some realism back to the LOI. Three years ago, there were players making more at Bohs than some players in the upper echelons of the English Championship. So who knows, a part- time Bohs next year may still be able to field a team, if only because players won’t be able to find a wage elsewhere. Bleak times, preceeded by an amazing past.

A bleak future, preceeded by an amazing past. Bohemian FC of 1907/08, from Storie di Calcio

All this talk of dreams and nightmares and the chance of victory, however remote, is still there. This Friday, come 21:35 or thereabouts will tell whether I’m a visionary, a lunatic for having hope or just an unwavering dreamer. To be honest, I couldn’t care less which if things go our way. Maybe I’m mad for holding onto the vague hope that we can do it. But isn’t it madness that drives most of us to follow this league of ours anyways?

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Full credit to Photopat3 on flickr for a serious of excellent images, link below. Spot the author of this piece!

A great selection of images from last night are to be found here, at Photopat3’s Flickr account.

Some reflections on a one-a-piece clash.

Did we deserve a point? Far from it. Bohs dominated the game for large chunks last night, and our goal at the end was as scraptastic as it comes. Still, what a feeling. An equaliser well into extra-time, when the opposition fans are chanting ‘WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE’, is as sweet as it gets.

The performance of the Saints last night on the pitch left quite a bit to be desired. Why hold back, it was dire. Were Bohs particularly strong? In truth, no. An early (and well-taken) goal had them ahead from 4 minutes in until almost the last kick of the game. We probably had a taxi-load of shots on goal over the whole match, and one of them somehow ended up in the back of the net. Such is football. The quietness of the Jodi, and lack of the usual banners even, indicated Bohs fans are still reeling from what happened in Wales. Why wouldn’t they be? There is a hunger there in the Pats support after years of coming close to success, and even relegation. Bohs fans must feel like they’ve been through it all.

While the display from the Ultras of the Saint Patrick’s Athletic support was a wind-up job unlike any I’ve ever seen before (The Next Shels banner in particular), and the hatred for Mark Quigley (*spits on the ground*) somehow reached a new level from our last meeting, it was clear to both sets of supporters the game was not going to come near the level of our previous clashes this season,and the atmosphere seemed to come and go a bit. Like in Tallaght Stadium during the Setanta defeat, it was encouraging to see lads keep singing even when we were miles behind on the pitch. For the first time in a long time, there seems to be a connection between players and supporters.

This League really is there for the taking now, for a number of teams. My apologies to my visiting Sligo friend for knocking his glasses from his head in the 90somethingoranother minute of this one, but in a moment like that these things happen. Little is fair in football, and now I know how ‘they’ feel in the away section when this happens in reverse at Inchicore, far too frequently too. From Cork to Donegal, I’ve seen teams come to Inchicore and do exactly what we did last night.

Whatever about the chants we encounter about our anti-social ways, that looked like a clean smash and grab job to me. Now, time to step it up a gear.

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Introduction:As a youngster, it was the fanzines I wanted at Richmond Park quicker than the match programme. If you have Dublin League of Ireland fanzines, please get in touch and I’d love to include them on the site. I hope in time we can establish a small online section with examples from each Dublin club, everything from Some Ecstasy to Eccles Is Innocent! All of these fanzines are a credit to the people who took the time to get them out there.

PDF below, best viewed in full screen.

(more…)

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The Champions League; The most-watched sporting event worldwide, with an estimated 100 million viewers every year. To most football fans in Ireland, it means following the progress of an English or a Scottish team; generally one of those same six teams who appear every year with little variation. It means pubs in Dublin City Centre packed with replica jerseys and loud mouthed punters wearing them. It means people with no material allegiance crying meaningless tears for a team they’ve never seen live, and yet who they still refer to with a mythically inclusive “we.” (In my book, “supporting” doesn’t involve buying a jersey in Lifestyle sports and then sitting on your arse watching games on telly.) It means opposition like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, a long run in the competition and a feeling of unwarranted superiority for followers of the winners.

Sure wouldn't it look great in Dalymount Park

For the majority, it doesn’t set the heart racing at the thought of a trip to the town of Oswestery, in Shropshire, to take on a team once monnikered “Total Network Solutions” in the second round of the competition. Well, for those who follow glory with a British team it doesn’t. For me, as a fan of Bohemian FC, it means absolute unbridled joy, hope and living with the feeling that my chest is going to explode until the games, both home and away are over. For Bohs are set to take on Welsh Champions “The New Saints FC” on the 13th and 20th July, and I intend to be at both games. The New Saints, or TNS for short don’t exactly match up to the glamour of the Champions League. They’ve only been in existence for fifty odd years and play in a ground that seats 1,000. Their claim to fame is losing 6-0 on aggregate to Liverpool  in the same round of the competition five years ago, when Irish keeper Gerard Doherty played a blinder and Rafa Benitez claimed he was the best player on the pitch. But, this is still the Champions League, its Europe, and a level that most English Championship clubs, and never mind that, most Premiership clubs will ever again experience with the European monopoly held by a small elite. So for that I respect TNS.

Not exactly the Bernabeu, this is Park Hall, TNS' home

But whilst British teams get back page spreads in Irish papers, the role of League of Ireland teams in the competition is often relegated to bit parts and side columns. And yet there have been famous victories in Europe; Bohemians alone have beaten Rangers, Aberdeen, Kaiserslautern amongst others in various competitions. Games that will be talked about for years, some, like the Rangers game, for ever. But inevitably, with the victory and joy, such as that expressed after moments like Glen Crowes goal below comes defeat and pain. Saddness. Utter dejection and humiliation. It’s all very well for those who say from the outside “Ah well, sure they gave a good account of themselves.” These words do nothing to alleviate the grief.

Last year, Bohemians were seven minutes from knocking out Salzburg, a team bankrolled by Red Bull, who play in an ultra-modern 31,000 all seater stadium and who have International players earning in a week what the average Bohs player takes home in a year. And what follows is the true meaning of joy followed by dejection. Bohs went to Salzburg, and thanks to this save from Brian Murphy, and a cracking goal from Joe Ndo went home with heads held high and an away draw. And while I didn’t make that game, the scenes of adulation in the members bar in Dalymount Park will stay with me for the rest of my life. I’ll be honest and say, yes, I cried.  The following week, Bohemians held on for 85 or so minutes, in which they had a couple of chances to put the game beyond Red Bull but (though some in the media said inevitably, I’d think otherwise) slipped up and a silly back pass meant Red Bull took away a 1-o lead and a passage to the next round. My feelings leaving the ground that night are hard to explain. I hadn’t felt that bad for years and haven’t felt that bad since. Truly heartbroken, in depths of despair, feeling pain, anguish, sorrow.

"That" goal by Salzburg. The author of this piece is just out of shot. Thankfully.

But, as they say, thats football, and hopefully this time around, results and luck might go our way. For winning this tie means at least another four games in Europe- Two in the Champions League third round, and if we fail in that attempt, a crack at the Europa cup in the final qualifiying round where we could be pitted against English or Scottish opposition. Where then will the allegiances of average Irish football fan lie? I’d like to think that a run in Europeans elite competition might do the league wonders but to be honest I’m sceptical. What I would like is for Dalymount to be packed to the rafters on Tuesday, 13th July, and should we pass through to the next round, have the same again. We’ll see.

For ticket details, keep tuned to http://www.bohemians.ie

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