Once a year, I like to do a day trip to Dublin, and while there, take in a League Of Ireland game.
Due to an international match being played on the League Of Ireland’s traditional Friday night slot, this round of games were moved to a Sunday afternoon, and on a Bank Holiday Weekend, made this round a no brainer for me.
I had my choice of matches. Shamrock Rovers were at home to Finn Harps. In the First Division, Shelbourne were at home to Limerick, while Cabinteely were at home to Drogheda United.
Shelbourne was tempting, but Tolka Park is relatively close to Croke Park, and with Springsteen in town, getting there and back was potentially problematic.
I’ve never been to Cabinteely, one of two senior football grounds in Dublin I haven’t been to (the other being UCD’s ground) and this was tempting. Unfortunately, I was only doing a day trip and didn’t have time to waste trying to find the ground.
Part of the reason for only doing a day trip, especially being off work on the Monday, was that I faffed about for so long booking a hotel, Springsteen announced a gig that day, and the prices soon drove up.
This match at Dalymount had it’s own special appeal to me. It had been six years since my last visit there, and it might be the last chance I have to visit there in it’s current form ahead of a proposed redevelopment, assuming they don’t take as long faffing about with stadium redevelopments in Republic Of Ireland as they do in Northern Ireland.
My only two visits to Dalymount Park have seen wins for Bohs, and their fans were hoping it would be a hat-trick for me, with their side 10th in a 12 team league, just 4 points clear of the relegation zone, against a St Patrick’s Athletic side not where they wanted to be, on the wrong side of a 4 point gap, as they chase European football.
Bohs went straight on the attack, with the confidence of a team higher up the league, and found themselves 1-0 up after 2 minutes with the ball was pulled back to Roberto Lopes, who scored from close range.
The tannoy blasted out Gold by Spandau Ballet, with the fans singing along, but changing “Gold” to “Bohs”. It was a sound we would hear quite a lot of times through the afternoon.
Just 2 minutes later, St Pat’s gifted the ball to Ishmail Akinade, who made it 2-0. Bohs fans were equally as stunned as the St Pat’s fans, and they were loving it.
St Pat’s were a mess in defence, and were lucky to get a goal kick when their keeper was charged down trying to clear the ball away. Given the start Bohs had made, it was surprising that the ball didn’t end up in the net.
The ball was in the net soon after, when Jake Kelly was played through and finished. It was too easy for Bohs.
St Pat’s actually reacted well to going 3-0 down. They had chances and pressure, usually blocked on the line, or just not getting the bounce.
At both ends of the pitch, everything was going Bohs way.
If you’re 3-0 up, it can’t be all luck, but bad finishing by Bohs and better by Pat’s would have seen the match narrative dramatically changed, that Pat’s had rode their luck earlier on to get a 1-0 lead without playing well.
Just as looked like St Pat’s might be getting a goal back to give them some hope in the second-half, Bohs made it 4-0 when Jake Kelly scored from close range.
The factfile of St Patrick’s Athletic in the match programme, listed the club’s record defeat as a 7-0 defeat at Dalymount Park in 1974. On the basis of the half just witnessed, that being equalled or beaten looked like a realistic possibility.
As the second-half started, it was Bohs who had the best chance when Akinade fired wide after being gifted possession.
St Pat’s had possession, but never looked like scoring.
That was, until Ian Bermingham headed home with just over 10 minutes to go. It was celebrated like a consolation goal rather than the beginning of a dramatic comeback.
If St Pat’s were hoping to launch a late rally, that hope was soon extinguished, when Sean Hoare was sent-off for a professional foul, coming about after Pat’s had again gifted away possession in their defensive third.
From the resulting penalty, Kurtis Byrne made it 5-1.
St Pat’s were able to avoid conceding any more with 10 men on the pitch, the damage was done in the first-half, specifically, the opening 12 minutes.
As the final whistle blew, Bohs fans naturally celebrated the win, cheering their team off the pitch. For me, that was the end of my 2015-2016 season.