I had not ventured to Dalymount Park in Dublin for many years. I used to watch Bohemians in 1967/78 and remember some great occasions when Ireland played internationals in front of a packed crowd. I had been once I think since the new Jodi stand was erected. On Friday night (15th October) I found myself queueing to get into the ground, a bit like the old days. I thought I would end up with Bohs supporters in the “shed” behind the goalmouth. In fact this is the territory of away fans, in this case Sligo Rovers. I joined hundreds of them singing and applauding their team in an FAI Ford Cup semi-final. The atmosphere was great and the Red and White Army did everything they could to boost the players as they attacked into the goal they stood behind in the first half. Sligo had a couple of chances but it was scoreless at half-time.
As the RTÉ Sport report described it (new window) http://tinyurl.com/27j2mg5 Rovers went very close to opening the scoring on 11 minutes when Romauld Boco shrugged off Powell to get on the end of Matthew Blinkhorn’s excellent cross. Boco chipped the advancing Murphy but sent his effort over the bar. Boco got a shot on target on 14 minutes but Murphy dived to his right and saved well. In the second half Rovers enjoyed a superb spell of pressure with twenty minutes remaining, with excellent passing football and creativity. They were rewarded for their effort with the winning goal on 75 minutes when Gavin Peers got his head to Richie Ryan’s corner and sent the ball into the net. So the westerners secured their place in this year’s final at the Aviva stadium next month. Their opponents will not be known for another few days as Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic drew 2-2 in the other semi-final. The Sligo fans went away happy and on this display their team will probably be considered favourites in the final. I thought Friday night’s game was a great advertisement for Irish soccer. I also hope Dalymount will continue to witness many many more years of football. But it will require more money to be spent on the stadium to update the facilities around the ground.