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Posts Tagged ‘Football Articles’

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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The view here is perfect.

Those annoying pillars in the stand can see to it that for 45 minutes, you’re relying on the eyes of the person beside you to see what exactly is going on out there on the pitch. You’d want to arrive a little early (or join the veterans on the Camac) to see the game comfortably.

7.35 kick off is unusual, obviously done ‘for the telly’. Arriving at 7.45, you’d be forgiven for thinking for once you’d made kick off. Alas, you haven’t. Best just grab the first seats you spot. Straight into the first block.

Family stand. This is Monster Munch stuff. In many ways, while the youngest kids in the ground- to them this is always a big night. It’s here the half-time yoof are to be found. Lourdes and Swords Celtic as far as I recall, loads of tiny lads bracing themselves for half-time and their time on the pitch. They’re here for Saint Patricks Athletic and Sporting Fingal of course,(well eh…I don’t think anyone is here for Sporting Fingal) but they’re also here for their own bit of time. Why not? This is how you get youngsters interested of course, and how you keep kids in the game.

Paddy The Panther frowns on your vulgarity

Anyway, the ball goes out about fifteen minutes in. Oh look! It’s yer man who was playing for us last year!

OI! YOU’RE A *starts with f*ING *starts with w*KER!

Yells the brother, brilliant.

GET OFF THE PITCH YOU *starts with f*ING CLOWN!

I’m in on it now too. This is great. This is probably what I missed most about football when I got stuck working Friday nights last year. Let the steam off and all that. It might as well be Sean Fitzpatrick out there.

Then it dawns on us, this is the family stand. This is where the most hot-dogs are sold, where the most ketchup is spilled, where the most bored mammies are to be found, where the smallest of the small people go. Scarleh. A quick telling to from the father and we have to watch our mouths from here on in.

Things are different in this stand alright. It’s been years since the main stand rocked too hard (bar European nights) but up the front there are a handful of youngsters giving it loads. ‘RED ARMY!’ ‘RED ARMY!’ Parents look on in a sort of ‘awwwwh, bless’ way, but only a decade ago they wouldn’t have been alone, and it’s great to see them get into it. Granted, there are more Manchester United and Liverpool shirts in this small section than Saint Patricks Athletic ones, but once they get the bug they’ll be hooked. The idea of the family stand is a great one then.

Well into the second half, and the player me and the brother were abusing earlier is taken off.

‘BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO’ rings out from the youngsters in the block, they’re learning quick. Some day, they’ll be bringing their kids here- and much like me, they’ll be mortified by a slip of the tongue no doubt. I’ll be back with the foul-mouthed oldies next week.

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A trip to Saint Patricks Athletic F.C (Inchicore) versus Galway United F.C, as League of Ireland football returns to Dublin for a new season

Every second week before the Euro

Nice to be back really.

I remember as a child being taken to see Saint Patricks Athletic in a stadium you could only describe as electric. The camac standing area directly opposite the stand would be a red, white and yellow explosion of colour, and a flare in the shed and deafening roar awaited that first goal in that game. The 90s were brilliant times for the domestic game, not just in Inchicore but on the Northside too, were local football could draw in considerable crowds and at least a handful of your classmates got it. Unlike the ‘Who are yis’ in the class we had chosen our teams purely on the grounds of geography and as such were all (literally) singing from the one sheet. We, quite literally, meant we. Us and our next door neighbours.

Still, a hard rain fell on the League of Ireland. A really hard rain. A flood even. The old man would still take us to home matches and car trips to Drogheda, north of the liffey and suburbs of Wicklow, but the religious nature of going stopped. You go from missing a few games to missing half a season. I’m incredibly grateful there’s a younger Fallon to catch the bug and get us back down.

Anyway, to say Saint Patricks Athletic had a woeful season last year would be an understatement on par with ‘the economy is looking a bit shakey’.

Back from under the stairs for a new season

Getting into the ground a bit late I hear the sound of a trumpet. A fucking trumpet. A quick glance and it’s coming from the Galway United away supporters. A small but loyal band of followers, and mainly youngsters, you can take it some of these lads left the schoolyard a bit early to travel up, just as some of the young lads down the far end of the crowd would for a trip to Cork or Belfast. There’s a passion there that doesn’t come across well on the telly.

“United, we love you, we love you…
and where you go we’ll follow, we’ll follow, we’ll follow….”

I’m too busy looking at the one man trumpet show to see the build up to the goal that puts Pats in the lead. Then it happens. The home support lights up.

I spot four good sized large tifo flags, a flare in the middle of it, and a few hundred fans going mad like Pats had won the league, not just scored the first goal of their first League match.

It’s not until half-time rolls around that you realise what a community thing the league is in Ireland. I’ve heard and seen the same at Dalymount, Turners Cross, that kip in Drumcondra and other stadiums. Your man who is emigrating to America next Monday (“No sorry folks, it’s Tuesday. He’s leaving on Tuesday. Good luck to him”) gets a mention over the P.A, the Palmerstown and Clondalkin under 12s come on the pitch and have a kick around, a bucket goes around for the local old folks and whatever else. The club is at the heart of the community, and the youngsters scoffing the (bloody awful) hotdogs into themselves now will hopefully be the ones bringing their kids here down the line.

Coming soon to a Dublin shed near you.

When the whistle goes, and Pats take the 2 goals and 3 points away from this one, the shed (where the away support are based) erupts into one last defiant chant: “United! United!”

They’ve travelled across the country for this. When the matches fall that way, a similar sized band will do the same in reverse. I feel terrible for falling out of the habit, but after tonight- I reckon I’m hooked again. The odd trip down last year isn’t good enough, you’d wonder why you’d miss a game….

Bohemian F .C (Phibsboro) fans make a point about corporate football to Red Bull Salzburg

Will the game grow in this city? I don’t know to be honest. There’s no way I can see a return to the glory days, but at the same time shenanigans on the otherside of the pond have shown British football up as the emotional wasteland that it is.

You can Love United, Hate Glazer as much as you want, but you’ll never love United in the way that lad on the trumpet loves United.

The United he shares a home with.

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Sorry Lads, I'm off to Glasgow.

While we might see a Carrolls or two close its doors in Dublin after Ireland failed to qualify for the World Cup (Every cloud and all that…) there is now plenty of excitement building over the planned friendly with Brazil in March.

Dublin won’t see a cent however, as todays Irish Independent states that Celtic Park is now one of the most likely venues for the friendly.

London (Emirates Stadium), Glasgow (Parkhead) and Manchester (Old Trafford or City of Manchester Stadium) are the more likely venues.

Arsenal’s ground is a front runner due to the fact that Brazil have played there before and also the FAI’s links to Arsenal through Liam Brady.

But there is a complication as the English FA have confirmed that England will play Egypt in a friendly in Wembley on Wednesday March 3rd.

Police would not be keen to allow two internationals go ahead in the same city on the same night so that would rule out the Emirates for Wednesday.

The same problem arises with Parkhead for that date as Scotland host the Czech Republic at Hampden on March 3rd, so if Parkhead is chosen for the Brazil game, it would have to go ahead on the Tuesday night.

The ‘Green Army’ will get to spend a few of the pennies in the South African jar then. With League of Ireland season tickets going for buttons by comparison, lets hope a few season ticket books find their way into the hands of broken hearted Ole Oles.

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