There he is the little man. On the shoulders of his father between the fanatic supporters of The Bohs. His clenched fists proudly in the air. This is pure love for football, love for the club. He is tought the joys properly. His club just scored a last munite equalizer against the arch rival. It feels like a victory. Welcome in Dublin!
The next day, I am sitting in an Irish pub watching the Champions League final. Overpayed football players whose ego’s are bigger than the team and the club. Especially those playing in white. The match itself is aweful to watch. Simply bad football. I see litteraly just ten seconds of amazing skills when Bale scores beautifully with an overhead kick. Karius has no chance. But to be honest, I don’t give a f**k. I go back to the night before.
Last Friday it was time again for the Dublin Derby. Although three of the four Dublin clubs play in the top league, it is al about two of them: Bohemian FC and Shamrock Rovers. The arch rivals from North and South Dublin. Regardless the position on the ranking, it is hatred all along. This rivalry did not emerge until the 1970s, when top club Drumcondra from Northern Dublin went bankrupt. Bohemian FC became the substitute.
Shamrock is still the most succesful club in Ireland. The question is how long it will last. Especially Dundalk is now the top team in Ireland, dominating the league. Only Cork City was able to beat them last season. But Dundalk already passed Bohemian FC in the last couple of years looking at winning league titles. It is just a mather of time to pass Shamrock as well. The rivals from Dublin played an anonymous role in the league recent years. Shamrocks’ last title is from 2011, Bohemian FC last championship is from 2009.
I take a seat at the concrete steps of Tramway End. Left and right are the red and black crush barriers, brightened up by some colorful flora. The setting sun is shining in my face. Several balls fly over this magnificent standing stand. The Shamrock players have difficulties hitting the target. A stafmember has to work hard to find all the balls again. Looking up I see one of the beautiful floodlights, which came from the old Highbury stadium of Arsenal in 1962.
“Dalymount Park, The Home of Irish Football” says one of the signs of Connaught Terrace. The stand on the right of Tramway End. Both are closed due to safety issues. Mother Nature is slowly but surely taking over this part of the stadium. These are the last signs of life of this wonderful piece of football history.
The stadium will be replaced for a completely new Dalymount Park. The buils was nominated for 2018, but The Dalymount Roar can be heard for another two years. At the end of 2019 Bohemian FC will temporarily move to Tolka Park, so that in two years time the new stadium can be built. This 8,000-seater, modern accommodation will be shared with Shelbourne and must bring The Bohs back on top.
Bad football, great rivalry
I get called by a steward. The derby has started and I need to leave Tramway End. I understand and I am very happy to be able to experience this great piece of football history by Archibald Leitch. I find a place on the top row of the Jodi stand next to the fanatics. They stand on the far left, close to the away section. It is completely full. People who want to enter that section as well, are told to find another place.
Opposite, behind the goal, are the supporters of The Hoops. There are hundreds of them filling the entire section. Irish football is comparable with the Dutch 3rd Divison. Hardly no shots on goal in the first half. The supporters do not care. They are busier with challenging each other than looking at the match. Continuously middle fingers are raised and “wank” gestures are made.
During halftime, a suprise was planned. In front of the whole crowd a woman asked her boyfriend to marry her (pay attention ladies!). With a big smile on his face the guy gave a resounding yes. Undoubtedly it will give beautiful anecdotes later on. Do you remmber it darling? Of course!
The Devil is in the details
In the second half I am able to sit with my friends. A step closer in experiencing the rivalry. When a player of Rovers reaches the sideline, some of the supporters fly towards the boarding. The scolding doesn’t hurt him. As the second half progresses, the home team starts to press. The opponent is put under pressure, but it does not come to real big chances yet.
Suddenly Rovers take the lead just ten minutes before the end of the match. On of the strikers is completely left free and gives the keeper no chance. The away section goes crazy. The home crowd is down for a moment. But it is only for a short time. Their support becomes louder, pushing the team forward. The away section gets overpowered again.
And then…a free kick. A beautiful cross into the box. A massive header smashes into the net leaving the keeper helpless. Complete madness on the stands. The equalizer is there just a minute before stoppage time. Flares are lighted, people fall over each other while cheering. The stunned away section gets a verbal beating. I cheer just as hard, if only because of the authentic football passion. No Champions League final can beat that!
Shamrock Rovers taking the lead
Equalizer of Bohemian FC
And this old chap…