PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – MAY

And so to May, the final month of the season.

My football watching for the month began with the Irish Cup Final, as Linfield disappointingly lost 2-0 to Glenavon.

The following weekend, I was inside Old Trafford, getting ready to watch Manchester United v Bournemouth, until a forgetful security guard put paid to that.

That meant that it was three weeks until my next game, Northern Ireland v Belarus.

Two days after that, I took advantage of there being a full League Of Ireland fixture list on a Sunday of a Bank Holiday weekend, by heading on a day trip to Dublin, and taking in Bohs v St Patrick’s Athletic, my final game of the 2015-2016 season.

Linfield v Glenavon

Linfield v Glenavon Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Belarus

Northern Ireland v Belarus Photo Album

Bohs v St Patrick’s Athletic

Bohs v St Patrick’s Athletic Photo Album

BOHEMIAN FC 5-1 ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC 29.5.2016

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.

Photo Album

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC 0-0 DROGHEDA UNITED 2.8.2013

As you’ve gathered by my last two blog posts, I was in Dublin last weekend. Usually, when I travel somewhere, I like to take in a game of football, and this was no different.

I had three choices : St Pat’s v Drogheda, Bohemians v UCD or Bray v Shelbourne.

I was leaning towards Bray mainly because I’d never been to their ground (I’d previously been to the other two grounds) and it would be a nice trip to the sea, with easy access back to Dublin.

A week before I headed off, Bray moved their match to the Sunday, which gave me two choices, before I went for the game at Richmond Park.

Getting there was easy enough as I’d been before and knew the bus route. There was one big difference to the ground from the last time I was there, an impressive mural stating “ONCE A SAINT, ALWAYS A SAINT” which had been painted since my last visit, in 2010.

One thing I loved about Richmond Park was the ease of access within the ground for home fans, as once you enter, you have a choice of two stands (one behind the goal) and terracing at the side of the pitch, depending on your mood and the weather.

Always good to have a choice on these things.

St Pat’s were expected to easily beat Drogheda, and had a lot of possession early on, with Drogheda struggling to get out of their half at times, thought it would be them who had the best chance of the first-half, a close range shot being well saved by St Pat’s keeper.

Some games you just know early on it will be 0-0. This, was one of them. No slight on either team, sometimes you just know.

The second-half began with more Pat’s pressure, before Drogheda came into had and had some pressure of their own.

Despite that, they managed to anger the home fans with their time wasting during stoppages. They weren’t even subtle about it. Anything to waste an extra minute.

Needing a goal, Pat’s piled on the pressure towards the end, but the final ball was either too short or too long, or too near the keeper. It was always too something.

It finished 0-0, the other match I could have went to finished 1-3. The match I wanted to go to finished 1-1.

You’ll never guess the score the last time I went to Richmond Park? Yep, 0-0.

They should probably apply for a Banning Order against me.

Photo Album

St Patrick’s Athletic v Sporting Fingal 2010 Photo Album