Leinster Senior League


Groundhopping: Rush Athletic (v Finglas United, St Catherine’s Park)

Competition: Leinster Senior League Sunday Senior Division 1B

Date: 16 April 2023

Result: Rush Athletic 2 -0 Finglas United

Tickets: free, walk up

Attendance: circa 150

Game/ Experience Rating:  ☆☆☆

The Game: My local side, Rush Athletic, are pushing for promotion to the 3rd tier of the Leinster Senior League (which is, in practise, the 5th tier of Irish football). Three teams go up, and four are in serious contention, including today’s opponents Fingas United, who arrived with a remarkable 11 game consecutive winning streak, having started the season poorly. All four sides are now as near as makes no difference level, and whoever misses out on going up in a few weekends time will have been seriously unfortunate.

In this game, Finglas started well, with Rush clinging on a bit in the early stages of what turned out to be quite a bitty contest. The game reached 0-0 at half time, and I felt Finglas were the more likely scorers

Early in the second half, the Rush goalkeeper was sent off for a challenge on their winger, a bit of a borderline call I felt, but if anything it pushed Rush on and they dominated from then on, stiffling Finglas going forward and scoring two on the break. It’s a vital win from a promotion perspective, though a couple more are probably necessary to firm things up. It’d be really cool to have a fifth tier team in Rush next year, with teams like Cherry Orchard and St Kevin’s, both iconic Dublin amateur sides, likely to be in the same division, so fingers crossed they pull it off.

The ground:  I think I’ve said all there is to say about St Catherine’s: it’s a quaint sea-view pitch with standing room around the edges, but there’s little more to it than that. Except when the coffee van turns up and creates a kind of snack terrace. Still a lovely place to watch football.

Extras: No coffee van today, I was genuinely disappointed.

Assorted asides: I posted about what I felt was quite unsportmanlike behaviour from one side on Twitter after going to this game. I got half a dozen replies, which, as you can see above, is about 4-5% of the people at the game. They all disagreed with me, but then they would, they were all connected to the side I was calling out. I deleted it in the end because arguing about football at a park level just strikes me as a bit ridiculous. The whole thing was bizarre. Just goes to show you never know who’s watching on the internet.

My totals for the year so far:

Games: 9. Home wins: 5 Draws: 3 Away wins: 1

Goals: 23. Home goals: 15. Away goals: 8. Goals per game: 2.56


Groundhopping: Portmarnock AFC (v Tolka Rovers, Paddy’s Hill)

Date: 8 August 2021

Competition: Leinster Senior League Sunday 1 Division (Irish fourth tier)

Result: Portmarnock AFC 0 – 3 Tolka Rovers

Tickets: free

Attendance: 50

The game: We arrived just in time for kick off at this one, and almost immediately saw Tolka go ahead, with a rapid-fire free kick that cannoned off the crossbar and arguably over the line – it didn’t matter, ultimately, as the rebound was headed in anyway. Portmarnock strugged to cope with Tolka throughout and only really came to life at 3-0, in phases in the second half.

Both teams were lower mid table in the Senior 1 division going into the game, and on this showing Tolka look by far the more accomplished – they were clinical in taking the three goals that had the game won early on, and could have added more after that. A Portmarnock player got a serious injury in the second half – a leg break of some sort, by the looks of it – and there was briefly talk of calling the game off altogether. It petered out a bit after that, perhaps inevitably.

Groundhopping: Maynooth University Town (vs Malahide United, Rathcoffey Road)

Date: 5 August, 2020

Competition: Leinster Senior League, Sunday Senior Division

Result: Maynooth University Town 1, Malahide United 1

Tickets: No entry fee.

Attendance: circa 70

The game: A defence vs counter-attack contest in the main after Malahide United had a man sent off for a fairly vicious late slide tackle in midfield midway through the first half. Malahide United took the lead totally against the run of play with 70 minutes on the clock, after Maynooth pressure left them short at the back and Malahide took advantage on the break. Maynooth equalised with a cross/ shot from their right back that flew in from about 40 yards – I’m not sure he meant it – about five minutes later.

These two are first and fourth in the LSL Sunday Senior, which is historically high for both of them. Judging on the one game alone – always dangerous – Malahide are an extremely solid defensive unit and look really difficult to break down, while Maynooth pass the ball out nicely from the back but lack a bit of cutting edge (something to do with that Malahide defence, perhaps). That Malahide have conceded only 17 in 20 games seems to back this up. I’d expect both to finish below where they are now, as there are a huge number of games in hand for some sides below them, with St Mochta’s, currently in second, looking heavy odds on to take the title.

The ground: A nice open field with a couple of pitches next to the main road between Dublin and Galway (you’ll have to go round the houses a little to get there – it’s not next to one of the junctions). Very much a ‘stand around the pitch’ job, with a metal barrier and no stands; both ends are not really suited to spectators.