Was in the Dublin/Bray area last weekend, so I thought i’d take in a game of football.
There were no games in Dublin, so Bray won by default.
I’d actually planned to visit Bray for a match last year when I was in Dublin, but with a week to go, they rearranged their match from the Friday to the Sunday, meaning I couldn’t go (I went to see St Patrick’s Athletic instead)
I’d never been to a match there, so it’s always good to visit new stadiums. The ground, was literally hard to miss, as it was right beside the DART station. It’s one of the first things you see as you leave the station. I’d imagine it would be a favourable away trip for fans of Dublin clubs.
This match was a key bottom of the table clash, with Drogheda knowing a win would see them overtake Bray as both teams look to get as far away from the relegation play-off place.
“I know we’re bad, but there’s no need to pray” was what greeted my as I entered the stadium, as I leant over to pick up some money i’d dropped when buying a programme.
That said, i’d seen Drogheda three times previously, and they’d never lost, which was ominous for Bray.
There is no segregation as such at the Carlisle Grounds, but there was a sign asking away fans to sit in a designated area, but fans of both clubs were free to mingle.
Away fans were exposed to the elements, unlike their home counterparts. It would be a lovely stadium to watch football in the sunshine. This wasn’t a sunny evening.
As the match was about to kick-off the sound of drums and Drogheda fans singing could be heard outside as quite a few of their support were running late.
Some of them managed to get into the ground in time to see their side take the lead after 3 minutes. For the next 5 minutes, all I could hear behind me was late Drogheda fans asking stewards for confirmation of the score.
It took a while, but Bray eventually got back into the game, missing a free header from a corner, before equalising minutes later from a free-kick just outside the penalty area.
Not suggesting that Bray fans are pessimistic, but fans behind the goal moved to avoid getting hit when the free-kick was lined-up.
However, it would be Drogheda who would lead at half-time, as they would go 2-1 up late in the half.
At half-time, the heavens opened, and the Drogheda fans who were exposed to the elements moved to the stand where Bray fans were for cover, taking their place at the far end of the stand, at the end where Bray were attacking.
Some fans who couldn’t get seats there scattered themselves elsewhere around the stand.
Early in the second-half, came a red card for Bray, which killed the game. Bray didn’t look like scoring, and Drogheda didn’t need to score.
The closest Bray came was when a speculative header from a cross hit the post before going out for a goal kick.
In injury time, Drogheda got a third to secure the game, prompting one fan to jump up off his seat and high five their manager. Job done.