Irish football


Groundhopping: St Patrick’s Athletic (v Waterford, Richmond Park)

Competition: League of Ireland Premier Division

Date: 19 April 2024

Result: St Patrick’s Athletic 1 – 1 Waterford

Tickets:  €18 adults, €5 kids

Attendance: 4,376

Game/ Experience Rating:  ☆☆☆

The Game: I must admit I saw less of the action at this game than I’d have liked to – the drawback of bringing a two year old who needs to be watched, and the need to keep her happy by giving her space to run around in the corner of the Camac Stand. From what I saw, it was of modest quality at best, with both sides scrappy in midfield and creating relatively few chances. Waterford led early on from a corner, with Pat’s equalising in the second half and then pushing for a winner that never really particularly looked like coming.

Both seem to lack a bit of patience and control, and I think they’ll be mid table at the end of the season in a League of Ireland that has a couple of quite poor teams this year (and a few other really decent looking ones).

The ground:  I’ve been to Richmond quite a few times and this is the first time I’ve seen it quite as packed as it was tonight, and my first time in several years since moving away from the area – the growth of the league of Ireland continues, and I believe this must have bene very close to a sell out, if not a total sell out, judging by how packed the stands were. So far as I can tell it’s close to impossible to get into the main (Inchicore side) stand this season due to season tickets.

There’s one main covered seated area that has space for home and away fans, another large uncovered seating area behind one goal and the rest is terraced standing. It’s all a bit old school but I’ve always liked that, nice to see so many packed in.

Extras: I liked the almost hidden food stall right at the far end of the Camac. Richmond seems to have decent facilities these days, but with the four kids in tow, I passed on the trip to the club shop or any search for a programme, and ended up buying small heaps of sweets.

Assorted asides: The kids were fascinated with the river running behind the terrace, in particular when a ball was blasted into it and they could watch it float down.

My totals for the year so far:

Games: 4. Home wins: 1 Draws: 2 Away wins: 1

Goals: 13. Home goals: 7. Away goals: 6. Goals per game: 3.25


Groundhopping: Bray Wanderers (v Kerry FC, Carlisle Grounds)

Competition: League of Ireland First Division (tier 2)

Date: 24 February 2023

Result: Bray Wanderers 3 – 1 Kerry FC

Tickets: €15 (adult), free (accompanied under 14)

Attendance: 1500 (approx)

Game/ Experience Rating:  ☆☆☆

The Game: Kerry FC were, at the time of this game, a brand new club out of Tralee playing their second ever League of Ireland game, having lost their first 2-0 to Cobh down in Tralee. They’re surprisingly well followed for a club that formed out of nowhere, and brought perhaps 100-150 fans an eight hour round trip away ot Bray (okay, some might live up here, but still). I understand their home games are selling out.

The new side is what attracted me to this game (they were one of very few League of Ireland teams I’d never seen live, for obvious reason), but Kerry FC are still, unsurprisingly, very much a work in progress, with a few shining moments (including a goal from Leo Gaxha at 2-0 down, which was really nicely worked), but not really a coherent team just yet.

The game was largely balanced overall, and in my view swung on Kerry’s inability to defend corners. Despite having three players who were notably tall (6ft 3 plus), they didn’t seem to be able to get on the end of crosses and Bray took full advantage. Wanderers led 1-0 at half time, and scored again early in the second half, only for Kerry to respond with the next attack (the two lads with me managed to miss both goals by going to buy a can of Coke, as you do).

The Kerry goal was their first ever in a competitive game, which was pretty cool. Bray comfortable winners, though, and at this early stage look a good bed to challenge to go up to the Premier.

Groundhopping: Shamrock Rovers (v Djurgårdens, Tallaght Stadium)

Competition: Europa Conference League Group F

Date: 8 September 2022

Result: Shamrock Rovers 0 – 0 Djurgårdens IF

Tickets: I’ve decided I’m all in for Shamrock Rovers Europa Conference League Group Stage. €75 for the three Shamrock Rovers home games. €30 for kids for the same. There were more expensive tickets, but I don’t need to be in the padded seats!

Attendance: 6,330

Game/ Experience Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐

The Game: Djurgårdens, oddly, are the fourth ranked team in Shamrock Rovers group, with Shamrock Rovers the third. I think its quite a balanced group with little between Molde, Djurgårdens and KAA Gent, though it’d be a stretch for Rovers to qualify.

Still, any kind of porgress is progress, and Djurgårdens looked pretty ordinary in this game, which on a better day Shamrock Rovers could have nicked. They grew into the game, particularly in a dominant period towards half time in which the Irish side were by far the better side. I’ve been hoping to see more of Jack Byrne, who has been struggling for fitness but is one of the best players I’ve seen in the League of Ireland, and when he did make it on, he was good but not outstanding.

Both sides could have won this, but neither really set the place alight. Still, a fairly comfortably point for Shamrock Rovers is great for the famous coefficient, the significant funding on offer for any kind of points in the Europa Conference League. They’ll certainly need to be home wins if they’re going to progress, though, so perhaps a missed opportunity.

The ground: Surprisingly, less are showing up to these group games than the knock out games (less riding on them as inidividual games, and slightly more expensive, perhaps). It’d be nice to see sell outs going forward. Tallaght was the same as always: a good, neat place to watch football but not one of Ireland’s most interesting stadiums.

Extras: This match made the news for a chant about the Queen that was a little bit tasteless. I didn’t hear it, as I was right down the other end of the ground (in fact, where I usually sit in Tallaght, the away fans are easier to hear than the home ones). What I did hear was Rovers fans chanting for Djurgårdens rivals Hammarby, and a vocal response from the away end, which was fairly comic.

Assorted asides: Djurgårdens has the best away fans I’ve seen of any European side in Ireland to date. Which is interesting as I’d rank Norkopping, who I saw play St Patrick’s Athletic a few years ago, second. The Swedes are a bit mad, but likeably so.