Date: 8 June 2022
Competition: Nations League (international)
Result: Ireland 0 – 1 Ukraine
Tickets: €20 (adult), €15 (kids) (much higher prices too, I only go when I get in early on the cheap seats, to be honest)
Attendance: circa 40,000
Game Rating: ⭐ ⭐ (five for the positive vibes, though).
The game: Another poor performance from an Irish side in the Nations League with a couple of stand out performances from Ogbene (who looks a real prospect) and Collins (who by all rights should have a lot more caps already). A couple of decent chances in the game at either end, a bit of a dull affair all in.
The goal was a freekick early in the second half that just somehow evaded Kelleher and went in the net. It’ll be forgotten totally in a couple of weeks. The highlight, to be honest, was looking at the atmosphere amongst the Ukranian fans.
The ground: I’ve reviewed the Aviva here before – good views, sometimes not the noisiest (except in really big games), overpriced for food and drink, and best visited when you get the tickets nice and early and go up in the cheap seats (this current Ireland team are rarely worth the higher priced tickets).
A bit special this evening, though, largely because of the Ukrainian crowd, who were invited en masse from within Ireland’s refugee community. They were passionate, covered in blue and yellow and all over the stadium mixed in with the Irish fans. The whole thing had a really positive feel to it, totally lacking the rivalry and aggressiveness that is common at football. You wouldn’t wish the circumstances on anyone, of course, but it would be great if more top-level football was like this.
Extras: A nice programme. Uninspiring and overpriced catering options.
Assorted asides: Nobody really cared about the result as far as I could tell. The Nations League has been dire for Ireland to this point.
My totals for the year so far:
Games: 2. Home wins: 0. Draws: 0 Away wins: 2
Goals: 3. Home goals: 0. Away goals: 4. Goals per game: 2