Competition: League of Ireland Premier Division
Date: 21 April 2023
Result: Shelbourne Rovers 1 – 1 Dundalk
Tickets: €17 (adult), €6 (kids)
Attendance: circa 4,000
Game/ Experience Rating: ☆☆☆
The Game: A last minute shout, this one, to catch what is really a mid-table clash in the League of Ireland top tier. Dundalk are not going well this year, but started strongly in this game, in particular when they won a penalty early on, and a Shelbourne defender reacted by hitting an opponent and promptly got sent off with just 12 minutes on the clock. The penalty was saved, but Dundalk dominated from there on, with Shelbourne occasionally getting free on the break but largely forced to defend.
Unfortunately for Dundalk, they are not great at breaking sides down, and for a lot of the time, didn’t look like doing much. Rayhaan Tulloch, who won the early penalty, conceded one to allow Shelbourne to go in front around a hour in, against the run of play. Tulloch then equalised, which meant almost every relevant action in the game involved him in one way or the other. He’s on loan from West Brom.
Overall, this was like a win to Shelbourne, given the amount of opportunity Dundalk had to take advantage of them being down to ten men. It kind of petered out in the end.
The ground: I’ve been trying to follow the Tolka Park (knock it down or keep it) saga, and I understand it’s currently back under ownership that makes it likely it will be around a bit longer. I love the place. It’s unpopular with some fans, but it’s a proper old-world football stadium, one that has entire sections that have to be roped off, but feels like watching football 30 years ago.
I actually thought the peripheral facilities were decent today, too.
Extras: A decent sized club shop, several food stalls, and there seems to be a bar under the main stand (I didn’t go in). I didn’t see a programme, but there was an unoffocial supporters zine on sale outside, which I thought was quite cool – you don’t often see that at League of Ireland level.
Assorted asides: I learnt that Shels fans sing that Lily Allen song about… erm… sexual satisfaction as part of their chants. “It’s not fair and I think you’re really mean” might be one of the funniest things I’ve heard sung in a football stadium.
My totals for the year so far:
Games: 10. Home wins: 5 Draws: 4 Away wins: 1
Goals: 25. Home goals: 16. Away goals: 9. Goals per game: 2.50