Tag Archives: football

Zürich, Swiss football away days 5.

My next Swiss football trip brought me to the city of Zürich in the canton of Zürich…..

Zürich, the largest city in Switzerland with just over 400,000 people, is located in the centre of Switzerland on the northwestern shore of Lake Zürich. The city stretches on both sides of the River Limmat, which flows out from the Lake.

A German speaking city, Zürich was founded by the Romans in 15 BC. However, early settlements have been found dating back more than 6400 years ago. The Romans founded the city as a tax collecting point for goods trafficked on the Limmat river. 

Zurich is a city that always rates very highly in “Quality of Life Surveys” carried out here and there by various agencies. With its wealth, general safety, cleanliness, and a wide selection of interesting sights and places to visit, top class universities, fiscally attractive with a lowish tax base: yes it is certainly a lovely city to visit, and even to settle down in. 

Zürich, Swiss football away daysThe city also has a rich cultural tradition with many high-quality museums and art galleries, but for someone who is into more modern pursuits, the city holds one of the largest and most popular dance music festivals in the world, a techno “street parade” around August every year that attracts about a million ravers and the like dancing alongside the lake Zurich. 

Zürich is a major hub for railways, roads, and air traffic for Switzerland and for Europe. Both Zürich Airport and railway station are the largest and busiest in the country, and the city has an extensive local train, bus and city wide tram network. The network also includes boats on the lake and river, funicular railways and even a cable car between Adliswil and Felsenegg. Zürich train station is the world’s most frequently served railway station, with 2915 trains every day, and has high speed trains coming from France, Germany and Austria passing through, and it is also directly connected with Zürich Airport which is less than 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) away. 

I like Zürich, its a lovely city, looking very nice at night, people mulling about, a good atmosphere in the city air. The old town looks great, albeit a bit too posh and stylish for me but a nice city to walk around all the same.

Oh by the way, before I forget The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), otherwise known as the corrupt bastards running, our ruining, the beautiful game, have their headquarters in the city!

Pub watch 

Kennedy’s Irish Pub

Address: Freischuetzgasse 14, Zurich 8004

http://www.kennedys.ch/

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Zürich, Swiss football away daysA large Irish pub not too far off from the train station. Was my first stop of the day, and ventured in to the quiet bar with a small midday crowd. 

Have a good selection of Irish and English beers so went with my old favourite Smithwicks as I was curious to see how it travels. Friendly bar lady pulled a good pint that tasted perfectly fine. 

Zürich, Swiss football away daysWas in this bar before, so it can get very busy and lively on a weekend night. It is a fun place to be for sure, but the prices of the beers are something to behold. Not going to be doing a large drinking session in a bar like this unless you are very flush with the cash! But this is Zurich one of the most expensive cities in Europe so its par for the course here. 

Its a good place to meet mates for a few pints and to watch a game on the box, as they cater for the football barstoolers. Can also get good food here as they serve meals all day long, apparently they do a Guinness pie which sounds very interesting! They also on occasion have good live Irish music on show. So it ticks all the boxes for a decent Irish boozer…….

Whilst the exterior could look a bit better, its a little dull, the interior of the bar is inviting and in a traditional Irish style, all wooden floors with many knick knacks dotted around the place. It is very big inside, has a nice relaxed ambiance, and was not a bad place to have the first pint of the day. 

Strauss bar (Hürlimann) 

Address: Langstrasse 132
8004 Zurich

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Zürich, Swiss football away daysThe Strauss bar is a small dive bar located on the crossing of the Langstrasse. Looked like an interesting place so I ventured in. 

Had a few customers for what was still early in the day, in a nicely lit bar where probably not too many outsiders frequent.

Zürich, Swiss football away daysI ordered a pint of Hürlimann. I actually thought the bar was called Hürlimann since they had it in big lettering over the front of the bar’s entrance, but no it is in fact a local lager. The first thing I noticed was the huge price differential compared to the Smithwicks I had just up at Kennedy’s Irish Pub. The beer I ordered was virtually half the price!

Was a nice quiet bar to sit down and relax in, the service was friendly, and the pint was fine. I liked this bar, a bit rough and ready, not pretentious and looked like a place where the locals hang out.  Especially when you compare to some of the hipstery wanker pubs I had passed in the old town of Zurich, jeez!! This place was good. Recommended. 

 

Oliver Twist Pub (Mr. Pickwick Pub)

Address: Rindermarkt 6
8001 Zürich

https://www.pickwick.ch/en/our-pub/zuerich/home/index.php

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Zürich, Swiss football away daysFinal pub before I got the train home. Decided to head to this bar as I was told it is infact the oldest bar in the city. Located in the Old Town with its nice cobbled streets. 

A little disappointed to see it was another Mr. Pickwick pub, a chain here in Switzerland, as I was hoping for something a little more authentic, but to be fair Pickwick pubs are decent bars. 

Zürich, Swiss football away daysHas the usual look of the chain, wooden interior, nice and comfy setting, English beer on tap, British food on the menu, darts to play, the Premiership on the box, and an English style setting. 

There was a decent enough atmosphere in the bar. I was at the front bar which is a bit small, but they had more room out the back which seemed to be busy. 

I always get excited when I see Fullers on tap, so I ordered that. As I was at the bar I was a little worried at the way it was pulled, too fast and not with much care. So of course I got a pint with no head that tasted rotten. What a pity. The two bar workers who were there at the time both looked quite young as well, very young, they looked like they were on some job experience scheme. I do hope they learn how to pull a good pint in the future. Service fine and friendly but the beer was a downer. Sorry to say. 

 

FC Red Star Zürich 

Zürich, Swiss football away days

Arena/Stadium: Sportplatz Allmend Brunau

Location: Allmendstrasse 10, 8002 Zürich

Capacity: 2,000

Manager: Gargiulo, Giovanni

Founded: 1905

League: 1. Liga Classic 

Club home page 

info@redstar.ch

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Had the opportunity to do two games in Zurich, so when an opportunity presents itself like that you’d be a fool to pass it. Red Star sounded like a good team to see, and with kick off at 4, it gave me plenty of time to see Grasshoppers at 7 in the evening, a quick turnaround but nothing to worry as the transport in Switzerland is always reliable. 

Zürich, Swiss football away daysPlaying in green, white and red, Red Star are a small club based in Zurich, playing in the 1. Liga Classic, the fourth tier of the Swiss football league system. Founded in 1905 by Charles Seiler and Alfred Merk. The idea for the name they found in a newspaper article of that time, which reported on the steamship line “Red Star Line”, and nothing to do with communist ideology or socialist principles, they were in fact originally attached to the local Catholic youth club, later becoming an independent club. 

Although independent, they still keep some of their old catholic ethos, in that there is a clear view on developing youth football in the club. Over 300 young people play in various teams of all ages, who participate in regional and national championships with their teams. With over 20 top rate coaches, the technical and athletic education of all players are well looked after and fairness, camaraderie and teamwork are promoted. This has resulted in many youth trophies for the team.

As for the first team, there best achievement was reaching the last 4 of Switzerland, getting to the cup semi’s in the Swiss Cup in the season 1998/1999, going out to Grasshoppers 7-0!

To the game

FC Red Star Zürich 0 – 0 Mendrisio 

04.11.2017  • Sportplatz Allmend Brunau, Zürich

Attendance: 510

Zürich, Swiss football away daysEven though the game was nil all, it was pretty entertaining. Both teams had chances to score, and the level of quality on show wasn’t too bad. 

Decent sized crowd at the game, with Mendrisio bringing a few noisy supporters up for the game. 

Had a burger and a beer, and fuck me the burger was fantastic, one of the best I have had in a long, long time. Excellent. 

Grasshopper Club Zürich

Zürich, Swiss football away days

Arena/Stadium: Letzigrund

Location: Badenerstrasse 500, 8048 Zurich

Capacity: 26,104

Manager: Murat Yakin

Founded: 1886

League: Swiss Super League

Club home page 

info@gcz.ch

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Grasshopper Club Zürich commonly referred to as simply GC, GCZ, or Grasshoppers is a football club based in Zürich.

It is the most successful club in Swiss football,  27 championship titles and 19 Swiss Cups. But they haven’t had much recent success as the last title was in the 2002–03 season, and the cup was last won in 2013. 

Zürich, Swiss football away daysGrasshoppers were founded on the 1st of September 1886 by Tom E. Griffith, an English student, who set up a team made up mostly of a group of students who were originally from Manchester and were studying in Zurich at the time.

Where they got that crazy name “Grasshoppers” is not exactly known but some have said it was due to early players crazy celebrations and there lightning speed on the field of play. 

By 1905 they had won the Swiss championships four times, their first in the 1897–98 season in the very first Swiss Championship. After withdrawing from the league for a number of years owing to not having a ground, their next championship title took a while to come, in 1921. But with top Hungarian manager Izidor “Dori” Kürschner, Grasshoppers won the championship three times (in 1927,1928 and 1931) and also the the Swiss Cup in 1926, 1927, 1932 and 1934.  

More success came, when Austrian coach Karl Rappan took over the team. Under his tutelage more Swiss Championships came, in 1937, 1939, 1942, 1943 and 1945.  They also won the Swiss Cup in 1937,1938, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1946. This was the golden era for the team, with Rappen’s 12 titles and cups some achievement that probably will never be beaten by any manager in Switzerland, ever!

Zürich, Swiss football away daysIn the 1950’s they won two more league titles and two more cups, but the 1956 win in the Swiss Championship was to be their last silverware for quite a while, 15 years in fact, winning nothing in the ’60s. The long wait was over in 1971 when they beat FC Basel in the last game of the championship, in extra time, to clinch their 16th title.  The 17th came in 1978. 

The ’80s were good to the club. In the years 1982, 1983 and 1984, Grasshoppers won the championship three times in a row, and winning the cup in 1983, 1988, 1989 and 1990. Legendary German manager Ottmar Hitzfeld at the helm for those last two cup wins. A notable success in European competitions came in the 1980–81 season when in the UEFA Cup Grasshoppers reached the quarter-finals, but were eliminated narrowly by French side Sochaux.

As for other European competition success, they did memorably defeat the mighty Real Madrid 2-0 at home, and thus knocking them out of the European Cup in the 1978–79 season, and were eventually knocked out in the last eight by eventual winners Nottingham Forest . But their best European adventure was in the 1977–78 UEFA Cup where after overcoming four knockout rounds they reached the semi-final against French side Bastia. After a 3–2 win at home, they traveled to Corsica for the second leg but unluckily lost 0–1 and were thus eliminated on away goals. I doubt they will ever come so close to a European final again. 

Zürich, Swiss football away daysThe 90’s were good times too, winning the league five times in the decade which wasn’t a bad achievement, and the cup twice. But just the two titles the decade after, in the 2000/01 and 2002/03 season, 2003 proving to be their last Championship. Apart from a Cup win in 2013 , which ended a ten year trophy drought, the club has gone through a mostly barren period with little to show in many recent years of football.

The club play in blue and white, the city colours and, since September 2007, they have played all of their home matches in the Letzigrund stadium which is also the regular home ground of FC Zürich. From 1929 to 2007, Grasshoppers used to play in the Hardturm stadium, before it became surplus to requirements, with a new proposed stadium Stadion Zürich planned on the ashes of the old ground, but as of yet the project has been stalled (2021 the newest date of completion!), making Grasshoppers essentially homeless and ground sharing with their city rivals, not an ideal situation to be in for the club.  

Zürich, Swiss football away daysThe Letzigrund stadium is some stadium though, wide and expansive, at night with the floodlights on it is a sight to see. An athletics stadium first and foremost but owned by the city of Zurich (buying it off FC Zurich who were in debt at the time), with the popular IAAF Diamond League taking place here every year, it also has held some pretty big music concerts down through the years (both the old and updated version of the stadium) from U2, Bon Jovi, Madonna, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Rihanna, Beyoncé, the Rolling Stones right up to today with Ed Sheeran playing booked to play this summer 2018. The current capacity is 25,000, for football events, 30,000, for athletics and 50,000, for concerts

Great managers that have managed the club include Ottmar Hitzfeld (as we have seen), ex England boss Roy Hodgson, managerial journeyman Leo BeenhakkerChristian Gross where his two Swiss titles got him his big move to Spurs, up to the present man in charge Murat Yakin.

To the game

Grasshopper 2 – 0 Lausanne Sport

04.11.2017  • Stadion Letzigrund, Zürich

J. Suárez 68′
M. Basic (Pen) 90’+3

Attendance: 5100

Even though the first half was nil nil, you definitely had the sense that Grasshoppers would win this game, since they made virtually all of the play, had a few chances and were much better on the ball. Lausanne were really not up to much and seemed to be at a lower level of class. 

Zürich, Swiss football away daysThat goal did eventually come, in the 68th minute when J. Suárez scored a nice goal, scoring from a loose ball just outside the box slotting it home with the goalkeeper no chance. A very well taken goal. By this stage Grasshoppers were piling on the pressure, and they got a second when M. Basic scored from a penalty after Pusic was taken down in the box. 

Grasshopper well deserved the win, as they played nice football and were always in control of the game. Their wingers, both sides, were causing all sorts of damage to the Lausanne defence who at times looked clueless. Nice game to watch, good atmosphere from the Grasshopper fans as well. 

Enjoyed my first time seeing Grasshoppers, and the Letzigrund is some stadium. Even though it has an athletics track around the pitch it still is a good place to watch football, as most seats are elevated and you can get a decent view of the pitch.  It was nowhere full, not even close, but then the Swiss football league is like that, but the Grasshopper fans that were there gave a good effort and were chanting throughout the game creating a decent atmosphere.  Beer and burger was good and I was happy with my time in the Letzigrund 

Goal of the game here.

Overall

Two games of football, a good few beers, some burgers, and a nice walk around the city at night, yeah I enjoyed my day out in Zurich. It isnt a bad old spot.

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Brian from the supporters group, the Maroon Army

Interview

Short chat with Brian from the supporters group, the Maroon Army

My name is Brian and I am involved with the maroon army and we are around for the last couple of seasons now, basically we are just trying to improve the atmosphere at games, trying to have displays, but most of all its just try to get a better atmosphere at the games, and try, including away games as well, try to get more support going to away games and we have seen an increase in away games as well.Galway United, football away days, Eamonn Deacy Park, Galway city,

What would you say is the size of the group, is it getting bigger all the time?  

It’s getting bigger all the time, it depends on the home game, but for the last couple of games, at home and towards the end of last season there was certainly a big group I’d say maybe 150, 200 ,and it’s always increasing, especially for away games as well

What got you into supporting Galway united, because a lot of young fellas don’t think of the LOI?

Well I’m a supporter now for 15 odd years, or more, it was actually when I was at school the manager at the time Don O’Riordan came to the school and they were handing out free tickets for the next home game and I went along and I was hooked. And I supported a bit of English football as well but to be honest I had more affiliation with my home team and just more passion and because I am from Galway, and Galway city, it means just a lot more to me

I was going to ask what’s the best season in those years, but of course this is a new Galway team!!

It is a new Galway team but it still is for the majority of the supporters it still always been Galway United, we fought to keep it there, the name change, obviously they were gone for a few years, but we always treated it as Galway united, and the name was still there and eventually it just came back in. so to be honest for most supporters it’s always been there, and a lot of people have worked to keep the name there.

Did you get worried that those 1 or 2 or 3 years that it looked like there would be no team…

Yeah there was definitely a lot of concern, certainly there was a few local teams like Mervue and Salthill that participated in the LOi , but for a lot of people because they are just suburbs of Galway city , I am not from Mervue or Salthill so they have nothing to do with me really, so yeah there was definitely concern that they wouldn’t come back but there was a lot of hard work from people behind the scenes that kept it going.

So its good to be back

Oh it’s great to be back

In those years that you have been following, what has been the highlight for you?

Mm I mean…..

Not a lot of success…

There is not a lot of success, there certainly hasn’t been many trophies in my time. I just came onto the fold just after they won the league cup in 1997, which was our last trophy. We had a couple of good games like where we had relegation play offs, and things like that

I suppose one that lives in the memory was when we played away to UCd and we beat them 1-0 and it kept us up for the season

That’s online, the video

Online yeah, and Jeff Kenna was in charge, there was just a real good feel around the club at that time we had about 700 or 800 travel up from Galway for that game

 

Were you at that game?

I was

The atmosphere at that game looks amazing

Yeah it was really amazing, just around at that time things seemed like they were picking up but Jeff Kenna left then so….

He didn’t really go anywhere but that moment in time it certainly felt that there was a lot there to work on

But you are getting off to a good start this season

 Yeah we look very strong this season I have to say, strongest squad in a few years I think we will be top 5 or 6 this season I reckon, we look at lot stronger and fitter and he has brought in more players and more bodies

Overall there is a good squad there, and if we are missing a couple of players I don’t think we will be stuck, we have a good depth in the squad

And 1 or 2 players to look out for?

Yeah John Sullivan came from Bray, he looks very, very good, real strong holding midfielder, which I think we were missing last season, and

Bray miss him this season

Yeah Bray are missing him by the look of things as well,

Stephen Folan returns to Galway, he hasn’t played for Galway united before, but he is a good Galway city man, and he looks very, very strong at the back

There is a good spine to the team

And if you are looking for a younger player Pauric Cunningham, striker from Hedford, scored a hat trick there against Mayo League in the league cup during the week, and he looks like a guy with a lot of potential, I think he possibly could start today against Bohs, and I wouldn’t bet against him scoring against them either.

So what about today’s game then?

Galway United, football away days, Eamonn Deacy Park, Galway city, I think we will beat Bohs, I think it will be tough, Bohs have had a poor start, they won during the week, in the league cup though, so they probably have a little more confidence though, and they have couple of players back, I know Anto Murphy is back for them, he is a strong player for them, I think it will be tight but I think  Galway united will be good enough tonight

What’s your prediction for tonight?

I reckon 2-1

What would you consider rivals to Galway United?

Sligo Rovers would be the biggest rivals I suppose, I mean the Connaught derby for us is a big game, Athlone used to be, whenever we play them, it’s because they are, I think they probably are the nearest club, to us, nearer than Sligo or limerick

Even with Longford there is a bit of a rivalry there, even though they are a bit away

You have to say that, poor old Longford!

Who would you consider Cult hero?

For me Billy Cleary would be my cult hero, he is from the Claddagh, a good Galway man, he was a just gun-ho kind of solid defender, no one would get past him really, he had a bit of a reputation for been in refs ears and stuff like that but he was always a solid player

And if you had something to say to people that are in Galway who are not quite sure about hoping upto Terry land what would you say to them?

I’d say if you are anyway interested in football you should be making your way upto Eamon Deasy Park at the moment

So they changed the name?

Yes it used to be Terryland park, its Eamon Deasy Park now, because Eamonn Deasy I don’t know if you have heard of him would have been a Galway united legend, he played for Aston Villa, he passed away a couple of years ago, so they changed the name of the park a few years ago

They deserve their support, there is a good solid structure up there now, good team, good manager, and as well as that there is a good atmosphere, it’s a bit of banter even if you’re not enjoying the football, there is a bit of crack to be had,  you know Friday evenings what else would you be at you know!

It’s a good place to be, a good atmosphere and you get to know a lot of people from different backgrounds, with different politics ,different you know,  I think you go will go up there I think you will learn something more than anything

What will I learn today?

Today you will learn that Galway United could possible win the league this year, ha!

Really

You never know, you never know

Ok thanks Brian

 

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Galway United, football away days

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Thomas from the “Cobh Ramblers Supporters Trust”

Interview with Thomas from the “Cobh Ramblers Supporters Trust”

Website

Cobh Ramblers, Roy Keane, cobh, titanic, football away days, league of ireland, drogheda fc, corkSo my name is Thomas and I’m nineteen years of age and I’m a member of

Cobh Ramblers supporters trust, so they were set up the end of last season to help the club off the field and we all pitch in a tenner a month just to help out the club

So for the last 3 or 4 years I have been involved in the club, before that I was a fan since I was about 7 or 8 and so that’s basically it!

What got you into Cobh ramblers, why did you get into the LOI, cause a lot of people don’t really follow the LOI?

Yeah, I don’t know cause I always liked football, English football, or playing myself, I don’t know something just clicked. I liked the idea of representing Cobh on the national scale and it was something different, like not every town has a league of Ireland team and I thought its something you should be proud off

And you get involved with the people, there are very nice people involved with the LOI

There hasn’t been a lot of success for Cobh!

No it hasn’t been great the last couple of years, I mean there has been a few small things, like the under 19’s won the cup, the national cup, so things like that give you hope for the future that the club is going in the right direction, but I think this season will be different

(Two very curious young lads) What’s your name?

Jake

What’s your name?

Nathan

And why do you like Cobh Ramblers?

Because I have been following them since I was three

And what about you?

My dad used to be living in Cobh Ramblers (sic)

How do you think 2016 will go?

I think they will win the league

Really, are you sure?

I think they will win the league too!

Who is your favourite player?

Adam O ’Sullivan and Jimmy Griffin

Jimmy Giffin! (sic)

Why is he so good?

Because Jimmy Griffin is my dad’s friend and Adam O ’Sullivan is my favourite player for the summer camp

And he is so cool!

(Back to Thomas) And what about yourself then, 2016?

Yeah I definitely think it will be a good season. Based on the first game anyway, based on the Shels game. I wasn’t at it but I heard good things, and with the players signed they definitely can compete in the division this year I think

You got off to a good start against Shelbourne (won away, 0-1)

Yeah Shelbourne are a handy side now and to get a win against them its not an easy game, could be a good start.

And what about tonight’s game, what do you think, against Drogheda?

They only beat Waterford 2-1 last week and no disrespect to Waterford but they are not the best team around so they are there for the taking to be honest,

Even when Cobh were not having the best times, this place isn’t easy to get 3 points

Of course Cork City must be your rivals I guess

Yeah they would be, but we don’t really play them other than friendlies so there is not much of a rivalry there

So the First division then who would you consider…

Probably Waterford, now we have Limerick in the league this year, but Waterford would be more of a Derby

And for this season players to look out for

Eh, I think the two Galvin Twins that come over from England, Evan and Cory

Twins?

Yeah they are twins, they are very good so far, so I’d definitely keep an eye on them, they’d be moving on from here I’d say, going onto bigger things, the two of them, definitely.

And what would be considered a success this season?

I think play offs are a kind of a minimum and that’s what Hendo has set for the players, that’s his aim, Top 3, and if they get promotion that’s unbelievable. I think play offs are something steady to build on.

And what’s this Roy Keane, Cobh connection, explain that….

Actually he didn’t start his career here, he started his career with Rockmount up in the city and then, obviously he wanted to further his career, so he signed for Cobh to play league of Ireland

He was only down here a season, a season and a half, before he was spotted by Nottingham Forest

Yeah he still comes down, he was down here just a couple of weeks ago for one of the friendlies so he keeps in touch

Well who is a real legend of the team?

I suppose a lot of the 2007 team like of John Meade, Kevin Murray, Davon O’Neill, they are players that are fairly historic

And have you travelled to Dublin to support Cobh, have you travelled far and wide?

Oh I have been to Salthill, Waterford, Athlone, Dublin, yeah I have been all over the place, really

What was the best place you have been to?

Athlone was good, yeah Athlone back in 2013, a few weeks back into the season, it was brilliant, yeah

What can I expect tonight, my first experience to see Ramblers play?

It’s a good place, it’s a nice club, it’s a nice atmosphere, everyone gets on well

It’s a nice club, its great to be part of it and I think you will enjoy it

That’s great, thanks.

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Cobh Ramblers, football away days

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Kieran from “Section O”, Longford Supporters Group

Interview with Kieran from “Section O”, Longford Supporters Group, and who also runs his own brilliant blog “Between the Stripes” on all things Longford Town FC, well worth checking out……

Section O Facebook

Between the Stripes Facebook

Longford Town FC, Longford, St mels, section O, football away days, football groundhopping, league of ireland

 

So what’s your name?

Kieran Burke

And Section o?

Yes, Section o, we are going for our 15th year now, since 2001 the group was set up, I haven’t always been over to that side of the ground myself but 15 years overall now so…

And why Longford Town, why the LOI?

Kind of strange actually cause I was born in England myself, but I am Irish, my family is Irish, so we moved here in 2003 and Jesus I thought when moved here I thought it was fantastic that the local area had its own football team and I thought Jesus this is something I can really get behind. Went to my first game in 2003, think it was a league game at home against cork city, I think we lost but, ever since then I have always been passionate about the town and heavily involved with it the last few years

What got you into section o, what was the setting up of that?

Well section o kind of went away for a few years, there was always a few lads that stuck loyal to it but when we were in the first division they were dark days, the attendances were poor, and there wasn’t many sticking to it but then for I think it was for 2013 or even 2012 when we were making a push for the first division title one of the lads said maybe we can get this going again and made a big push to get as many people over to that side of the ground as possible, ever since then I have been hooked, I just love the whole atmosphere to it.

Since you have been following them, what has been the best season, the highlight for you?

It has to be 2014 winning the first division, three days in a row out celebrating after that it was absolutely fantastic. It’s hard to know whether anything like that will be matched again but even if we got relegated and people say it would be great if we went down and won it again, but it would never be the same again, seven years in the first division struggling to get back and finally doing it, so that definitely

What do you think of tonight’s game anyway, it was a 1 all draw with Bray?

Am I allowed to swear on this?

Yeah of course, ha, it’s a drinking website you can say whatever you want to say!

My eyes are bleeding after that game, that was absolutely SHITE

It was pretty even though?

Pretty even because both teams were absolute dross. I have never seen so much long ball played in my life…I don’t know what type of shape the team is playing in …. It’s going to be a long season I think…

So what do you think about 2016 then, what would be considered a good season?

Oh anything about 10th place I will be celebrating like a league title because I don’t think compared to last year’s squad….I don’t think it’s there at all

So what players….I know its 4 games in, but what players should we look out for Longford anyway?

Kevin O’Connor definitely, he is getting on a bit now, but he still is only 30, still young enough in LOI terms but he is just a fantastic midfield player, so good on the ball, he wasn’t great tonight, but I don’t think he is fully fit, injured last week, so maybe not fully back at it, Josh O’Hanlon is on loan from England, from Bournemouth, so he should pick up as the season goes on and then Jamie Mulhall is a very talented player

So just a question. Rivals, it must be Athlone town

Athlone town, yeah that’s a big rivalry, a lot of people don’t think it when they talk about LOI rivalries, they talk of Shelbourne, or they talk about Bohs-Rovers …but when the two teams are going well, which isn’t that often,  but when the two teams are going well and when a derby game comes up ..there isn’t an atmosphere like it, its unbelievable…

Is it hard to get people out to the Town,

Yeah its very hard

Ye guys I thought were pretty impressive tonight, you made an effort

We made an effort, I suppose the numbers weren’t great, but we did make a lot of noise, you can probably tell from my voice but we are trying again to get another big push on this year and try to get people out to games but it really isn’t easy especially when the team isn’t as going as well as people might have hoped …..its not easy so….

 

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Longford Town, football away days

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Stephen from UCD AFC supporters club.

Interview

Short chat with Stephen from the supporters group, UCD AFC supporters club.

My name is Stephen and I’m secretary with the UCD AFC supporters club and we were created in 2010 just to give a bit of a structure and direction for UCD fans going to matches.

UCD AFC football away daysAnd did you attend UCD yourself as a student!

I never did, no, in my teenage years I looked at the league of Ireland senior division table, it was only one long list at the time and I thought ok well I am got to have to start supporting a Dublin team here and Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers were at the top and I thought no they were too successful for me so I looked right down and it was all names of country towns, Drogheda, Athlone, and Dundalk, and right down at the bottom was UCD and Shelbourne, and Shelbourne I thought, just in case Shelbourne are really, really bad, I better just support the team ahead of them, that’s UCD. So I started supporting UCD.

Ok, and how long ago was that?

That was in ’83, I was watching them from the paper let’s say and from radio, and I started going to matches in ’87, 1987

And what kind of crowds do you get to support UCD? Do you get any students? Do they actually bother coming down, do you get them out of the bars?

Well yeah, it can be tricky, especially on Fridays nights. First of all supporters do come, from the campus to support players who are studying in their own faculty so you will have little groups of 2’s and 3’s and that, all the time coming down, and then occasionally especially when the pressure of exams are off you’ll get more groups coming down and maybe a singing section as well, coming through in the summer.

And I want to ask about the team, is it semi-professional or is there a few professionals or is there some students or what, what is the structure?

In the recent past it’s been mostly students and then the odd players who are especially returnees who had a connection with a club and the university before so we would say we are kind of part time graduates, students and then graduates, we even have leaving cert students in our squad as well

Ok that’s pretty cool. And all those years, the best season?

Well it probably would be a premier division season, there has been little good spells, I think I’m going to say a period of time, we were 9 years in the premier division from 85 to 94 and so that was my best time supporting UCD, and I’d like to go back there. Now we do consider ourselves a premier division team even though we are in the first division this year because we spent I think only three seasons in the first division in the last 21 years, so we do consider ourselves definitely premier division, but yeah that spell of matches, there was one year in 99/2000 where we finished fourth and qualified for the InterToto cup and then we played in Bulgaria, and then the following June, that early, so June 2000 was a good time.

And the European adventure last season?

That was amazing, that’s was 4 matches in July, was incredible, especially we were granted access to the Uefa cup very late, in March through Uefa’s own fair play calculations so Ireland got a place and that was given to UCD, and just the preparations and the amount of work that the club had to put in to prepare for that, because we held two home games here at the UCD bowl and that was very special for us that people would say no, no outside of UCD and the LOI they would insist it would have to be moved but we showed we can hold them here

You did the league proud I think, for a small club really…

I agree with you, there was a bit of negativity saying why should they, they are only first division, and its UCD and they are going to embarrass us, but we won our first game against a Luxembourg team here and then we travelled away a week later and it was just an incredible emotional match in Luxembourg because the players were out on their feet by the end of it but we went through into the next round.

And what about this season so far, how do you think its panning out?

It’s slow at the moment, Limerick have set their stall out, they have won six games out of six , and they look like they will completely dominate the league, so it’s for the lesser places, 2nd of third or play off places so we will really be fighting for that but it’s not over yet for the first place but we have Limerick next week, but at the moment the signs are they will dominate the league, but we will look to get off into the play off places again and hopefully we will get up through that.

And just one or two players to look out for, we should note?

 We have a centre back Maxi Kouogun, and it’s his second season here

He is very strong!

He is strong at the back, and he is scoring up front, he is our leading scorer at the minute with 4 goals and they have all come from headers from corners from Kieran Marty Waters, so Maxi as a centre back, and maybe a new player for us is Georgie Kelly, he came to us from Derry City, and he always looks lively, and hopefully he will be a good player for us this year, he is a new player.

How did you manage to get Kieran Marty Waters?

Well he would be one of the lets say part time professionals if you like rather than just graduates, I think we just gave him traction

Because he came from Shamrock Rovers, didn’t he?

He did come from Shamrock Rovers, he was having a quiet time there and he wasn’t getting much off a game, I think there was a few people ahead of him, so we just obviously gave him a package, and invited him to say what we are doing here and he was attracted to it.

So why do you think people should pop along to their LOI team?

Cause its local, you are going to meet people that you probably didn’t know, went to games from other circles in your life, you are supporting players who are playing at the top league in the country, and this is the best that is available, there is great friendliness and hospitality at ALL LOI grounds, I mean you go anywhere, and yet there is still a kind of a solidarity as well between us as well because we feel we are up against it with even other sports in the country as well as football in neighbouring countries as well.  We fell there is a lot of emphasis on other football but not Irish football, so we have a solidarity there between ourselves and also then at the matches themselves you have small groups singing and chanting right through the game and there is a lot of colour and you can be part of the noise or you can sit and watch the noise.

I mean the package is ok too, I mean tonight’s game, it was good I thought, a good game

Yeah we had 4 goals in the first half

A lot of chances as well

Exactly, yeah Drogheda equalised twice, and we are a bit disappointed about that, but that’s how tough the first division is, there is about 4 teams that are all about similar standard and they are looking for two play off places.

Ok thanks, that’s grand

Ok thank you

 

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UCD AFC football away days

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Sean from the supporters group, Forza Rovers

Interview

Short chat with Sean from the supporters group, Forza Rovers, Sligo Rovers most fervent supporters who one can see in the small Jinks Avenue StandSligo Rovers Football Away Days

Sean for Forza Rovers

Group’s going now 9 years. Next year will be our tenth year

It was going great for our first you know 5 or 6 years

The last few years it kind of died down a bit

A lot of lads getting old, Emigration you know, things like that

But actually our group was nearly Coming to an end at one stage there last year

And we were kind of saying, you know….the numbers weren’t really justified calling ourselves an ultras group so

So we started kind of recruiting a few young lads again and…..

Things are on the pick up again so………..

 

But you have a very impressive social media, I have to say…the website and on Facebook

Yeah but that was part of the drive of getting young lads, more young lads involved

We kind of kept to ourselves a lot of the time, it was kind of a very close, very close knit group but we kind of opened up things a lot more the last while

 

Sligo has always been a soccer town, I mean what’s the history about that, why….. I mean even in the rough times you do have a general good support in the town

I suppose traditionally it is a garrison town going back…………….and football has been played in Sligo since the 1880s you know so….. Gaelic never really took off here, you know it’s kind of more seen out in the county more so than in the town itself.

So that’s probably why

 

And how far is that reach from the town, does it go into the country. The county of Sligo, or?

Oh yeah, yeah, like myself, I’m not from Sligo town myself you know, So like a lot of lads

We got fans from you know like all over the north west really

I know a lot of fans from Leitrim, mayo, all over sligo

Like there’s North Sligo, it’s like a massive community

Course because Summerhill school used to be a boarding school, years ago, so you got a lot of lads coming in from Roscommon, Mayo, staying there, that’s kind of how it took off

 

And what about yourself then, how long have you been supporting the rovers?

Mid 90s my dad started bringing me, the early mid 90’s

Then, the first time we used to stand on the terrace kind of beside the shed

And then when I kind of got old enough I was allowed into the shed!

Some crazy nights there as a young lad

So its kind of a progression then is it?

Ah yeah, yeah it was like that, it was good, you know it was good

 

So what about the best season all those years you followed them then?

Oh it has to be when we won the league you cant beat that you know

In fairness, like I know the last two years people are saying things have gone downhill a bit but still when we were in the first division, and struggling and you know and 600 people in the ground, you are looking round the place and no atmosphere, the place was dead

I still think its good now you know

We won the cup in 94, that was when I started getting involved following rovers, and my dad started bringing me back then

 

What about your cult heroes then, what are the cult heroes of the club?

Of the club in total? There’s plenty

but at the moment

Raf is the cult hero at the moment, local lad

Is has been here a long time hasn’t he? I cant seem to believe he is still playing!

Ah no he is something else raf is

Probably score tonight

Hopefully anyway yeah

But no we have plenty of cult heroes down through the years

Ndo was unreal there

Myself I always kind of have something for local players, it’s the main thing to kind of support

 

The guy that won you the league, was it right to sack him? It’s like Leicester a little bit!

Barraclough. A lot of people weren’t happy with his tactics, his signings and blah, blah, blah. Personally I think he deserved to see out the end of the season and his contract

It left an awful lot of instability there

When he left we had caretaker managers and this that and the other

I think we are still suffering from that time but hopefully things will improve now

This season, what the hell is happening this season, Jesus!

Yeah, a look it….its a bit soon to call for a managers head and all that but…….

It was 6 games last year before we got a win so it was a struggle

Look, we will see how it goes….

 

The LOI is a small place but are Sligo too big to go down!?

No, there’s nothing like that. Look, we have been down before and we have been up and down…..a ten team league so its really going to be tight this year. It;s not looking good at the moment but hopefully…

Are there any players that perhaps people wouldn’t know coming in from the outside, any young players we should look out for or any up and coming talent?

 

Ah I don’t know, we don’t really have anyone at the moment. Maybe it’s the way the manager is playing the side…..there is no one really that I could see. There are a few lads there but there is no one really that I can see that’s going to…..….

 

Is it difficult to get people into the showgrounds?

No…..last week weekend against st pats the crowd was down, think it was down 1300,  cause it was Friday night football.

But if a game is on Saturday and we dont get our games moved by television or FAI poor fixture listing, no but a Saturday night traditionally great support and it’s always the way

 

So what should  I expect tonight, in terms of atmosphere, going into the ground?

Bray isn’t ….is not a crowd puller, never will be

They are never going to be a crowd puller, you know there’s no rivalry with Bray. they are doing alright this year and they will do well but Its not going to be a massive crowd puller

Hopefully with st Patricks weekend there should be a big crowd down
Atmosphere? We will see how it goes?

Just a few more questions

Rivals? I guess its Derry and Galway

No no Shams, fucking shams, fucking hate them

That was my next question, the other rovers, are they not rovers?

Shams for us!

Whats the copyright for that!

Well if you are in town, everyone likes to say rovers because if you say Sligo they presume you were at the Gaelic game

So rovers are rovers and shams are shams

When they come to town then is it……everybody’s a bit on edge

Yes it can get a bit heated at times alright

Yeah everyone is fired up for playing shams obviously you know

They probably see us as country bumpkins, come down act the bollix, but …fuck them!

 

So in terms of the season we have at the moment what’s your expectations, at this early stage it’s just avoid relegation

Yeah definitely, if you had asked me when last season had ended, players signed up early and it was looking good, I was saying we could push for a top four but now survival at the moment, and we take each game as it comes

 

Time for pints, come on lets go! Thanks man

Ok lets go

Anyway, here is my day out in video form!

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Sligo Rovers, football away days

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Daniel Lambert, Bohemian Football Club Limited

Interview

Short chat with Daniel Lambert, a Strategic Planner with Bohemian Football Club Limited (and also co-owner of the Bang Bang Cafe)

email: daniel@bohemians.ieBohemians, football away days

Daniel Lambert is my name and I look after a lot of the strategic planning for bohemian football club.

They call Bohemians, I see on the advertisement, the peoples club, can you explain that please?

Yeah, basically I suppose soccer has been, in recent years, football or soccer has been associated with owners, individuals, corporations and Bohs is the complete opposite of that. For 127 nearly 128 years we have been owned by a couple of hundred ordinary men and women, in Dublin, so it’s the peoples club in the true sense. Someone like Everton used the phrase when it actually doesn’t hold true, the club is literally owned by ordinary people, and its ran for their enjoyment and to be passed onto another group of people.

And what ways have the club reached out to the ordinary people?

Oh we do a whole litany of things, you may have seen earlier this week we were selected, 12 LOI clubs applied for youth funding in a project called More than a Club and that’s a reflection on how good clubs are integrating into the local community. Ourselves and cork were selected, yesterday is was announced
We do walk in football with mentally challenged people, walk in football with older people, we do a programme in Mountjoy prison to try and help people refrain from reoffending when they emerge from prison, there is actually a group, our club president, is over a prison in the Netherlands right now, tonight, a group of ex-prisoners in Mountjoy are playing with a group of bohs players over there
We do a whole range of things, we have a project for school completion and….

So what about yourself, how long have you been supporting Bohs….?

I was brought since I was a baby….so 30 years.

so you had no choice then

No, no choice at all!

Best season all those years?

For me actually the best season was probably last season! As a fan I suppose I was unusual in that I was on the board for a lot of the years, we had severe trouble and I actually realised in retrospect that the Fenlon years and the other years where we won a lot of trophies behind the scenes were the worst years the club had ever had. And id hand them all back if I could and not have almost destroyed the club.
I think that last year there really was a sense of togetherness, Dalymount was saved, we had a group of honest players on the pitch and we didn’t win anything but for me the feeling around the club is better than its ever been.

So was that serious then, really?

Absolutely. The club blew a serious amount of money in a very short space of time for trophies that really don’t mean anything if you talk about preserving your club that was passed down, that was put in severe jeopardy for trophies over a very short space of time.

then I guess the general consensus is that Keith Long is doing a good job?

Amazing job, yeah, in fairness, Keith’s done a great job and I suppose for Keith he has come to Bohs at a time everyone is fully aware of the situation and what we are trying to do and he has been giving an awful lot of leeway that perhaps other managers weren’t in the past and that’s a good thing. People are realistic about where we are, what our budget is and they know we are not going to win the league, and when you put a group of players on the pitch like Keith has who just have effort and honesty about them, it’s hard not to applaud them
(so this season so far, your more or less mid table, your safe aren’t you?)
Yes, I think we are more or less safe. It would be nice to win tonight, you know Pats were one of the clubs that wanted to go for the ten team league, so id love to see pats go down, and we weren’t in favour of it obviously, yeah so I hope we win tonight and I think we will finish mid table.

your cult hero of the club, all those years?

Tony O’Connell

 
for what reason then?

Well he built the Jodi stand, he is the honorary life president, played for the club, and he stuck around. Tony will be here tonight, and Tony, in those years we were stuck for money, the first person up to write a check or to try to get people together was Tony. And that’s a man in his late seventies. So fair play to him.

so tonight’s game then, st pats, shud be a good game, their real pressing teams

Id say both teams to score

a draw maybe

I think so, one all, or two all either way, pats usually come to Dalymount looking to not concede first so they can’t do that tonight, and our home form has been atrocious, so I think both teams will score and then 2-1, two all or one all.

any players to look out for tonight that maybe general fans wouldn’t know about, under the radar

For us, Fuad, I mean Fuad will be going to England by the looks of things, he is a phenomenon player, he came from Pats under 19’s

definitely then going to score tonight so!

I think he is our best player

its worth a fiver

And of course, wardy after the hat trick up in Drogheda.

and the atmosphere tonight, what should we expect?

The atmosphere will be good. Dalymount is difficult in that , you know we are fully aware that the ground has two sides realistically, so you are creating noise on two sides which isn’t ideal, but Bohs n Pats its one of the better atmospheres, I think you will be pleasantly surprised, obviously us and rovers isn’t comparable to any other game we play, so this ranks up there with one of the better atmospheres

is it difficult to get punters in all the time?

Not anymore no, we turned a huge corner, that the perception of bohs, and its something we have worked on very hard, the perception of bohs has changed massively, when you go in there tonight, you will see there will be quite a lot of tourists, quite a lot of girls, and the kind of demographic at bohs games has shifted quite a lot in the last few years. we haven’t lost anyone, we have just added on a new group of people.

I see you are linking up with other teams as well, you have FC United…

Fc United, we have good links with st pauli in hamburg

really, wow

yeah its something we have really tried to press home

will there be a sparkling of German and……

yeah you will see it here, there will be german, French, Spanish, they will be drinking the bohs craft ale, there will be hipsters everywhere

you have three bars

So The one in the middle is the members bar, generally older demographic in there, mainly bohs members, the bar on the far left is the phoenix walking in that’s generally our singing section, there is a jukebox in there, lots of pictures of past gigs in Dalymount, the one on the far right isn’t open to the public that’s our sponsors bar, it opens up after the game.

will I see Johnny Logan tonight?

You might!

brush shiels?

You will see brush shiels,
You will see, who else will be here….
James Kavanagh is coming tonight, im picking james up in the jeep, you know james kavanagh, the snap chat celebrity

No, sorry

John Kavanaghs brother, McGregor’s coach. So james is coming to tonight and he is snapchatting the whole night

im just after realising the name of the bar (café)…..bang bang , you were in the news recently…

Yeah we got a gravestone made for bang bang, on rte news

bang bang?

Used to shoot a key around Dublin

it was only recently, what 2 or 3 weeks

2 weeks ago
I know you cant see this now obviously as we are speaking, but the idea behind this and its something we have tried to say to other clubs, happening more and more is with this picture obviously its red and black but beside that its everything you wouldn’t expect to see on a football poster, no crest, no footballer, and there is a woman in it and that’s done on purpose as very often the FAI try to market the league and they miss the point, they put up a player in a jersey and a kit, that only appeals to existing fans….
But you see this, first of all you are thinking what’s it about……..but it kind of draws you in….

Bohemians, football away daysquestions, questions

Yeah and that’s something we have tried to bring across all our engagements with the public…

so what about shamrock rovers then? Ha ha 

In what way

you get excited when they come this side of the city

yeah both of us do, like…..there are some good things going on about shamrock rovers, I think they miss the point in that we try to celebrate the fact that what they did in terms of a club is getting themselves a ground and coming out from that period of absolute madness that they were in, should be commended as a club. Id have nothing against them as a football club
When we play them I want to beat them, do I like them…..no I don’t.
But I do think for us, been able to stay in Dalymount is massive.
Tallaght is a nice stadium, but there is no soul to it, it’s a sterile place, its on the periphery of the city

(its very windy, jesus right up the middle

I don’t like it. I met a guy here recently and he was a Spanish fella and he had come over, and he came to see us and rover in Dalymount, and he arrived on the Thursday and he got a Dublin bike and cycled out to Tallaght stadium to see it, and he said “I had left the city”

so what’s this place you have going on here the, it seems like a pretty cool place

It… what do we do,,,, we do food, records and clothes and coffee and

are you long open here?

Nearly two years

yeah, seems pretty busy, buzzing in there

A lot of it is football stuff. Me and my sister did it, her rule at the start was no politics, no football, so ….its full of bohs stuff…. And I climbed on top of that building last week and put a Palestinian flag on top last week

Bohemians, football away days
So that’s pretty much it, thanks very much …..and a prediction for tonight 

Id go 2-1 bohs

And who is going to score the last goal

Dinny, to score

Dinny Corcoran, thanks very much

Anyway, here is my day out in video form

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Bohemians, football away days

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Interview with a FootGolf expert

Interview with an expert

Some questions that I posted to Ro at FOOTEE TALLAGHT about the burgeoning foot-golf scene in Ireland

1: Where did the idea come from, to bring footgolf to Tallaght and to Ireland?

I returned to education in 2012, embarking on a postgrad in Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Enterprise at the Innovation Academy, UCD. One of my deliverables for the course was to bring a viable new business proposition to the Irish market. I had seen FootGolf a coupe of years previously and loved the concept, believed it would be very popular in Ireland with our keen interest in sport, and the timing was just right as golf courses were facing closure around the country in the midst of recession.

2:Can it grow as a sport in Ireland/World wide? What are the participation levels so far in the game? 

Since I opened the first course in Ireland in 2013, there are now 30+ courses dotted throughout the country, some excellent, and some incredibly poor representations of the concept. From a leisure point of view, the sport is thriving in Ireland as one of the leading birthday party/stag activities. The Irish FootGolf Association (which I founded in 2014) estimates that over 80,000 people play FootGolf annually.

In terms of FootGolf as a sport worldwide, it’s getting there (albeit slowly). Participation on a competitive level is increasing in some countries (UK, France in particular), but unfortunately here in Ireland it has been a real slow burner. We average only between 20 – 25 players in domestic tournaments this year. Our flagship event – The FootGolf Irish Open – has always faired way better with over 130 participants at each of our last two events.

3: I found footgolf has its own unique challenges (not thinking to kick as a straight football pass, for example)……how can a novice get better, any tips on how to improve my game…..

Just like golf, putting is key. Anyone with even a passing interest in FootGolf tends to be able to strike a ball well, but it really comes down to short approach shots and getting the ball in the hole. Best tip I can give to any budding FootGolfer would be to practice all types of putts from within 10 yards. If you can master those tricky, missable short putts, you’re off to a good start.

4: Reaction from the golfing fraternity? (as footgolf does sometimes share greens, courses)

Generally negative, as golfers don’t like sharing their fairways or clubhouses with the “hooligans”, lol. Shameful reactions at some courses trying out FootGolf to help boost revenues, where the golfers have got their way in the end and forced clubs to reconsider. 

5: The future of the game? Tournaments? Professional players? World cups? TV?

All of the above. It won’t happen overnight but steps have already been taken to have FootGolf recognised as an official sport by the World Sport Accord.

FOOTEE TALLAGHT is Ireland’s Original & Best FootGolf Course! Situated in Tallaght just off the M50, footee is for people of all ages and fitness levels, males and females, young and old. Don’t worry about bringing your own football as you can always rent one for €2.

Get Outdoors. Get Active. Get Your Kicks.

www.footee.ie

Full article here

ThisDrinkingLife’s Guide to FootGolf

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Bohemians, football away days

Bohemians, football away days

So off on another League of Ireland ground-hop, into Dublin this time to see Bohemians in Phibsboro, and make it 7 out of the 20 completed, to tick off on the LOI list! 

Phibsborough, or Phibsboro, is a mixed commercial and residential neighbourhood in North Dublin hugging the The Royal Canal. A typical red-brick terrace area, with the odd Victorian style looking pub and the always busy Doyle’s Corner thoroughfare.

Bohemians, football away daysA good key land mark is St Peter’s Church, a nice church that dates back to 1862, the National Botanic Gardens are situated in nearby Glasnevin, and the vast Phoenix park with Dublin zoo not far off too. And if you fancy some Gaelic sports, then Croke Park is also within walking distance.

The area is a nice mix of locals, people working in the city, and students who attend the DIT or are training in the Mater Hospital. As a result the area is well built up, has all the amenities you would expect from a smallish town, and is served by a good supply of decent pubs. 

Notable residents include actor Michael Gambon, of Harry Potter fame or Shakespearean thespian, depends on your age I guess, Éamon de Valera, former Taoiseach and President of Ireland and also James Joyce spent a while here in his early formative years.

Easily reachable by a whole swathe of Dublin Buses, the area will also soon be linked to the city centre via the Luas Cross City Line network, of course one could walk from O Connell Street which could take you about 30 minutes or less.

 

Pub watch (and Cafe’s!)

Seventy Four Talbot bar

Address: 74 Talbot St, Dublin 1

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Bohemians, football away daysBohemians, football away daysFirst bar of the day, just off the train and thirsty, hopped in to Seventy Four Talbot Bar, on ……surprise surprise….Talbot Street. Up until very recently this used to be Mother Kellys bar, a decent bar that was always quite popular and always busy, so I was interested to see what the new guys had done. They have done a good refurbishment, and it looks the part alright, but I wonder does it have any character as now it looks like an identikit Dublin bar with all the wooden floors and polished furniture. As it was still early there weren’t many customers, ordered a Smithwicks, which went down well, then quickly left as I went off to get my hair cut, as I so often do when I’m home (its really expensive to do in Switzerland!) 

Pint was decent, staff friendly, place looks smart, clean and good. Will return when busier to get a better feel for the new place, but looks promising. 

 

The Confession Box 

Address: 88 Marlborough Street, Dublin, 

http://c11407968.wixsite.com/ryan

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Bohemians, football away daysNext up was the Confession Box, a pub that the brother recommended, and is considered one of the best pubs in the Northside.  A lovely looking frontage, while inside it had a pretty decent early afternoon crowd in, a bit packed in a smallish intimate bar, I guess that’s why they call it the confession box, that and also cause its not too far from St. Mary’s Pro- Cathedral! Horse racing on, boisterous enough crowd, pints a flowing, doing some good trade. 

Bohemians, football away daysApparently it was Irish revolutionary, Micheal Collins, favourite watering hole. And this also ties in with the name, as many of Collins men during the War of Independence would receive confession here from the priests of “The Pro”, after some of their heroic deeds in the fight for independence, but I do wonder was Collins much of a drinker. I am a drinker and so ordered a Smithwicks, but I probably should have ordered a Guinness as I read later they do one of the best pints in Dublin, but truth be told I wasn’t in the mood for the black stuff on the day. 

Established in 1795, as it says on one of its doors, it is an old pub with a variety of different names and owners since then. The bar is quite tiny, and we were lucky we got seats, but there is an upstairs as well. 

Bohemians, football away daysThere is a great deal of memorabilia and old photos adorning the walls of the pub featuring a lot from the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence, and Dublin in the rare old times, amongst other stuff. They do sell T Shirts and key rings, which to be honest is a little naff and don’t look worth getting, I mean its an ordinary pub at the end of the day, not Disneyland!

I liked this bar, was small and comfy. The pub had a nice mix of locals and tourists, and I am sure if we had stayed longer we would have got into conversation with some of its clientele. The service was fine, and the pint good. Will be back for sure and hopefully next time will try to catch some of the live music that they are renowned for putting on, all for my sins!

Fusciardi’s Cafe 

Address: 27 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1

Bohemians, football away daysBohemians, football away daysWas pretty hungry at this stage as we had skipped breakfast so we decided to have some fish n chips in Fusciardi’s Cafe just up the road from the Confession Box. 

An Italian chipper where you can sit down, they serve food fast and the place is well known for serving great food, especially the fish n chips, for over 80 years now to Dubs and people hoping to get a quick bite as they head up to catch their bus/train home to the country! It has a very relaxed setting and people eat away minding to their own business.

Was busy enough, service friendly, the fish n chips were fine as expected, got well fed, stomach lined and ready for more beer. Like most Irish people, we LOVE our little Italian chippers. Result.

 

The Metro Bar 

Address: 155 Parnell St, Dublin D1

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Bohemians, football away daysPopped in to the Metro for a pint, and it was a very fast pint, as I had to start making a move on to Dalymount. Nice interior, ordered a Tennent’s Lager which was fine. 

Is a sports bar so had a lot of sporting memorabilia dotted around the place.

Small midday crowd, good service, decent pint and that was that. 

 

Bang Bang Cafe

Address: 59A Leinster St North,
Phibsborough,Dublin 7

http://bangbang.ie/

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Bohemians, football away daysI was due to meet Daniel who is a Strategic Planner for Bohemians, and meet him at his place of work which was his Bang Bang Cafe and Delicatessen not too far off from Dalymount itself. 

After a few twists and turns we eventually found it tucked away at the end of a side street. We were surprised to see such a cafe hidden away from the main street in a quiet residential area.

Daniel set up the place with his sister in 2015, looking to open something new in an off street location where people could come and go, enjoy their coffee and food with chill out tunes and friendly vibes all in a relaxing environment. Also important was that any products on sale should be, if possible, local. 

Bohemians, football away daysBang Bang Cafe takes its name from a well known Dublin character. During the 1950’s and 60’s, Thomas Dudley, acted out the life of a cowboy on the streets of Dublin. “Bang Bang” he went at bus and tram passengers, playing with his gun, ie a big church key that he used to carry round with him. It was all fun and games as many used to actively participate in the high jinks and return fire and play dead on the city streets. What great craic it must have been to see a whole street turned into the Wild West all due to the imagination and humour of one eccentric, Bang Bang.

He was immortalised in The Dubliner’s song The Mero which included the line “Bang Bang shoots the buses with his golden key”.

Despite given so much joy to ordinary Dubs, Bang Bang himself had not the best start in life. Both parents died when he was young so he spent a lot of his early life in an orphanage. 

He passed away in 1981, aged 74, in a Home for the Blind run by the Rosminian Fathers in Drumcondra and was buried in an unmarked grave in the grounds of St Joseph’s Cemetery.

The fact he was buried in an unmarked grave troubled Daniel, so much so that he decided to set up a GoFundMe account to get a decent burial place for one of Dublin’s characters. With the help of the cafe, over a hundred ordinary Dubliners donated to the cause and raised enough money to erect a plaque at the grave of Bang Bang. On the 28th of August 2017, the plaque was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mícheál Mac Donncha, on the site of Bang Bang’s unmarked grave. A fitting tribute to Thomas Dudley and hats off to the Bang Bang Cafe for the lovely gesture and for keeping the story alive.

Bohemians, football away days(on a side note: wonder do people remember the Diceman who entertained my generation on the streets of Dublin, wonder has he got a memorial?)

Was great to chat to Daniel about Bohs, and his cafe. Only had a coffee but can definitely say that the place was buzzing and I must say it had a better atmosphere going on than a lot of the bars I had visited that day, excellent.There are also many books on art, politics and football available to have a gander, and they also sell retro clothes and all sorts of nick nacks.

Will definitely like to check it out again, even if I am not a big coffee drinker, but I must try their Brunch Burgers as I have read that they are legendary, and I do like me burgers! 

 

Long Island Bar (Joxer Daly’s)

Address: 103 Dorset Street Upper, Dublin 1

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Bohemians, football away daysBohemians, football away daysVentured up to Dorset street to check out two pubs, Glynns and the Long Island Bar.

Not a bad crowd in, nice enough bar, settled down to try a new beer, ordered a Dublin Blue Lager from the Beer Factory, who ever they are. Bar man did a great job on the pint and it looked fantastic. Good news is it also tasted great, definitely a beer to check out again in the future. They should do a Mayo version just for the laugh!  

Good pub, good service, and nice pints. Simples. 

 

Glynns pub (The Wellington House)

Address: 100 Dorset Street, Dublin 1

http://glynnswellingtonhouse.com/

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Bohemians, football away daysAt the corner we went into Glynns and this time I went back to the old reliable, a pint of Smithwicks. This bar had a good friendly and relaxed atmosphere going on, also interesting to watch some Polish fellas play pool very badly, and the pints were great and served well.  

Lovely decor inside with a lot of famous pictures and photos of Irish musicians of the present and the past.  Another good pub to add to the long list of decent Dublin boozers. 

 

The Hut (Mohan’s)

Address: 159 Phibsborough Road, Dublin 7

http://www.thehutbar.ie/

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Bohemians, football away daysBohemians, football away daysWe decided to have one last pint in a new pub for us, just before we headed into the ground. Having already been in Doyles before, on the corner, which is a great pre match boozer, we decided to try somewhere new, so to The Hut with its inviting exterior. The Hut is a family owned traditional Victorian bar on Dublin’s North side.

Also decided to try for the first time the Hop House 13 Lager which wasn’t anything extraordinary from Guinness.

Apparently The Hut got its name from the hut-style dwellings the locals lived in when the bar opened its doors way back about 150 years ago. Not sure about that but what I do know is that it is a nice pub, with a lovely traditional interior, has good service and decent pints, all well and good…

 

The Members Bar/the Phoenix Bar 

Address: Bohemians F.C, Dalymount Park, Phibsborough,
Dublin 7

http://bohemianfc.com/?page_id=83

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Bohemians, football away daysThe beauty of Dalymount is that it has not one, not two, but three bars for supporters to wet their whistle, the Members’ Bar, the Phoenix Bar and the Jackie Jameson Bar. Not a lot of LOI clubs can even manage the one so thats a great venture for the club to offer fans on matchdays, top notch stuff there! 

Bohemians, away daysThe main bar – the Members’ Bar – is open every Friday and Saturday evening, as well as every Sunday from 12pm. It also open early on Bohs match-nights and for other televised sporting events.
The Phoenix Bar and Jackie Jameson Bar are open on match-nights and available to hire as function rooms.

Even though its called a Members bar it seems anyone can walk between it and the Phoenix bar with ease. Not much difference between the two, as they were both packed to the rafters with supporters having the beer and the craic. Good atmosphere brewing in both bars for the game.

Bohemians, football away daysDidn’t get into the Jackie Jameson bar but then I am not that important as it is mainly for VIP’s and Guests of Honour. 

Ordered the Bohemian craft beer, which was rank, disgusting. But then went for the Five Lamps Dublin Lager which was excellent, a nice find. The Five lamps was so good I will definitely be checking it on next time I am home. 

Tickets into the ground cost €15.00, and that includes the game, least you dont manage to actually leave the goddamn bar!!! 

 

Bohemians

Bohemians, football away days

Arena/Stadium: Dalymount Park

Location: Phibsborough,
Dublin 7

Capacity: 4,300

Manager: Keith Long

Founded: 1890

Leagues: League of Ireland Premier Division

Honours
• League of Ireland/Premier Division: 11 (Last 2009)
• FAI Cup: 7 (Last 2008)

Club home page 

lynn@bohemians.ie

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Nicknames: Bohs, The Gypsies, The People’s Club

Bohemian Football Club, the Bohs, is a professional football club from the Northside of Dublin. They were founded by a bunch of students, way back in 1890 at the Phoenix Park Gate Lodge beside the North Circular Road entrance. 

One of the founding members of the League of Ireland in 1921, Bohemians are the oldest League of Ireland club in continuous existence, and are also only one of two clubs (St Pats) that have never been relegated from the top flight.Bohemians, football away days

It didn’t take long for the club to win its first title, winning its first league title in 1924. And more early success followed as the club won four more titles and two FAI cups by the 1930’s. But that was in the good old days of amateur football, and so with the advent of professionalism and the club unable to sign players as an amateur club, they went 34 seasons without anything at all. They finally went professional in 1969, and broke their barren spell in 1975 winning their sixth title, and another one in 1978 with two FAI Cup wins thrown in for good measure. Another trophy-less spell came until the noughties when they won four league titles and two more FAI Cups, making Bohs the third most successful club in League of Ireland football history, having won the League of Ireland title 11 times and the FAI Cup 7 times.

European wise they have had not much success, but they did eliminate Aberdeen from the UEFA Cup in August 2000. In the next round they came up against Kaiserslautern of Germany and although they lost the tie, they did beat their more illustrious opponent away. Its not often that a LOI team can beat both a German and British team in one season. They also beat Rangers 3-2 at home in 1984 in the Uefa Cup, in a very bad tempered game both on and off the pitch.  Of course they also got a 4-0 away hammering from the mighty Total Network Solutions to lose the tie 4-1, which was pretty embarrassing at the time. A game I was at, and am still in shock about.  

Bohemians, football away daysBohemians played their first games in the Phoenix Park’s Polo Grounds, after that they played in numerous different locations, in Jones Road, Old Belvedere, Glasnevin, but it wasnt until 1901 that they decided on Dalymount Park, in the neighbourhood of Phibsborough, where they have stayed ever since. It has been said that this is how they got their name….Bohemians and the nickname of the “Gypsies”….with all the wandering around looking for a ground to call home. 

A lot of Irish international games were played there before the national team moved to Landsdowne Road in the early 1990’s. Many memorable Irish games were played out to a packed Dalymount, 45,000 people cheering on. A 3-0 thrashing of the Soviet Union in 1974 one famous night where “The Dalymount Roar” was in full effect. Pelé, Beckenbauer, Zidane, Van Basten, Charlton and Best, all the greats have lined out here in what many people call the “spiritual home of Irish football”

Bohemians, football away daysDodgy land deals done during the era of the Celtic Tiger put the club in debt and on the brink of collapse, with its members selling the ground not once but twice to developers but with nothing to show for it. But in March 2015 Dublin City Council announced that it would purchase Dalymount park for €3.8 million, thus wiping out the clubs debt.The Council plans to demolish and rebuild the old ground on a phased basis at a cost of €20 million, into a new modern ground with a total capacity of about 8000, and to groundshare it with local rivals Shelbourne. This all comes at a good time as the stadium, loved by the Irish footballing community and all, is in terrible disrepair at the moment, as on big match days only two of the stands are used, making a lot of the ground look bare. The Jodi Stand is the main stand in Dalymount, and this is where the Bohs singing section are located at the far left of the stand.

Their club colours are red and black, which they adopted at the 4th AGM in October 1893.

As Bohs’ fan base is mainly drawn from the northside of Dublin their supporters share a bitter rivalry with Southside club, Shamrock Rovers.

 

To the game

Bohemians, football away daysBohemians 3-2 St Pats   

22.09.2017  Dalymount

 2 ‘Ismahil Akinade (Bohs)
3’ Christy Fagan (Pats)
16’Daniel Corcoran (Bohs)
52 ‘Daniel Corcoran (Bohs)
65’ Conan Byrne (Pats)

Attendance: 2,543

Barely had time to settle in my seat when Bohs went one nil up,  In just the second minute,  Paddy Kavanagh down the left, passed across to Ismahil Akinade who headed home at the back post. A well worked goal and a great start to the game.

Bohemians, football away daysBut if you thought that was quick, then the equaliser was even quicker, Pats were right back in the contest, just one minute later when a long ball from Barker on the right was latched onto by Christy Fagan who with great effort slid the ball under the Bohs keeper to equalise. 

Fagan was getting a lot of luck down the right, in the first half especially, while at the other end Akinade was causing the Pats defence all sorts of problems what with his lanky frame and decent ball control for a tall fella! 

Bohemians, football away daysThe game turned on its head when in the 15 minute Gavin Peers got tangled up with Akinade’s big legs and gave away a penalty. Was it a penalty? I am not so sure but Dinny Corcoran  converted to give the home side a deserving 2-1 lead. And to makes matters worse for Pats, Peers was also sent off with a straight red card. A huge amount of excitement in a jam packed first twenty minutes, scintillating stuff.

Keith Ward was a lively wire too who went close on a number of occasions, a nice free just over from 25 yards out, and long rage effort that was oh so close but for a finger tip save from the Pats keeper. 

Not long into the second half, Dinny Corcoran scored again. This time he slotted home from a loose ball to give the Bohs a two goal lead. It was a pity I missed it as I was still making my way from the bar, damn it.

On the 65 minute Conan Byrne got himself some space on the right (where it was happening all the time for Pats), cut inside and scored a decent goal, to give pats some hope. 

Bohemians, football away daysPats had one more chance when Conan Byrne, that man again, had a great chance to get an equaliser when his stretching shot came off the crossbar, unlucky, but I don’t think Bohs deserved to lose this game.

Was impressed, very impressed, with Keith Ward who was pretty awesome in the central of midfield, creating opportunities any chance he had and also linking up well with the front two. he was also very unlucky not to score with some fantastic shots that were close. Along side him in midfield, Fuad Sule also caught the eye. A really small compact player who can pass well, and gets himself about the park, excellent. I really hope Bohs keep onto these two for next season, as with the front two of Dinny Corcoran and Ismahil Akinade they have the making of a serious team. I guess that’s what Keith Long is doing. He is a manager I have rated in the past and I guess it is taking him time to get things to gel with Bohs. But he would really want to push on for next season, now that he is in his third and a bit season…..but I expect good things for next season……roll on 2018!

As for Pats, well they are a two person team, Conan Byrne and Christy Fagan, and that’s about it for them.

Interview

Short chat with Daniel Lambert, a Strategic Planner with Bohemian Football Club Limited (and also co-owner of the Bang Bang Cafe)

email: daniel@bohemians.ieBohemians, football away days

Daniel Lambert is my name and I look after a lot of the strategic planning for bohemian football club.

They call Bohemians, I see on the advertisement, the peoples club, can you explain that please?

Yeah, basically I suppose soccer has been, in recent years, football or soccer has been associated with owners, individuals, corporations and Bohs is the complete opposite of that. For 127 nearly 128 years we have been owned by a couple of hundred ordinary men and women, in Dublin, so it’s the peoples club in the true sense. Someone like Everton used the phrase when it actually doesn’t hold true, the club is literally owned by ordinary people, and its ran for their enjoyment and to be passed onto another group of people.

And what ways have the club reached out to the ordinary people?

Oh we do a whole litany of things, you may have seen earlier this week we were selected, 12 LOI clubs applied for youth funding in a project called More than a Club and that’s a reflection on how good clubs are integrating into the local community. Ourselves and cork were selected, yesterday is was announced
We do walk in football with mentally challenged people, walk in football with older people, we do a programme in Mountjoy prison to try and help people refrain from reoffending when they emerge from prison, there is actually a group, our club president, is over a prison in the Netherlands right now, tonight, a group of ex-prisoners in Mountjoy are playing with a group of bohs players over there
We do a whole range of things, we have a project for school completion and….

So what about yourself, how long have you been supporting Bohs….?

I was brought since I was a baby….so 30 years.

so you had no choice then

No, no choice at all!

Best season all those years?

For me actually the best season was probably last season! As a fan I suppose I was unusual in that I was on the board for a lot of the years, we had severe trouble and I actually realised in retrospect that the Fenlon years and the other years where we won a lot of trophies behind the scenes were the worst years the club had ever had. And id hand them all back if I could and not have almost destroyed the club.
I think that last year there really was a sense of togetherness, Dalymount was saved, we had a group of honest players on the pitch and we didn’t win anything but for me the feeling around the club is better than its ever been.

So was that serious then, really?

Absolutely. The club blew a serious amount of money in a very short space of time for trophies that really don’t mean anything if you talk about preserving your club that was passed down, that was put in severe jeopardy for trophies over a very short space of time.

then I guess the general consensus is that Keith Long is doing a good job?

Amazing job, yeah, in fairness, Keith’s done a great job and I suppose for Keith he has come to Bohs at a time everyone is fully aware of the situation and what we are trying to do and he has been giving an awful lot of leeway that perhaps other managers weren’t in the past and that’s a good thing. People are realistic about where we are, what our budget is and they know we are not going to win the league, and when you put a group of players on the pitch like Keith has who just have effort and honesty about them, it’s hard not to applaud them
(so this season so far, your more or less mid table, your safe aren’t you?)
Yes, I think we are more or less safe. It would be nice to win tonight, you know Pats were one of the clubs that wanted to go for the ten team league, so id love to see pats go down, and we weren’t in favour of it obviously, yeah so I hope we win tonight and I think we will finish mid table.

your cult hero of the club, all those years?

Tony O’Connell

 
for what reason then?

Well he built the Jodi stand, he is the honorary life president, played for the club, and he stuck around. Tony will be here tonight, and Tony, in those years we were stuck for money, the first person up to write a check or to try to get people together was Tony. And that’s a man in his late seventies. So fair play to him.

so tonight’s game then, st pats, shud be a good game, their real pressing teams

Id say both teams to score

a draw maybe

I think so, one all, or two all either way, pats usually come to Dalymount looking to not concede first so they can’t do that tonight, and our home form has been atrocious, so I think both teams will score and then 2-1, two all or one all.

any players to look out for tonight that maybe general fans wouldn’t know about, under the radar

For us, Fuad, I mean Fuad will be going to England by the looks of things, he is a phenomenon player, he came from Pats under 19’s

definitely then going to score tonight so!

I think he is our best player

its worth a fiver

And of course, wardy after the hat trick up in Drogheda.

and the atmosphere tonight, what should we expect?

The atmosphere will be good. Dalymount is difficult in that , you know we are fully aware that the ground has two sides realistically, so you are creating noise on two sides which isn’t ideal, but Bohs n Pats its one of the better atmospheres, I think you will be pleasantly surprised, obviously us and rovers isn’t comparable to any other game we play, so this ranks up there with one of the better atmospheres

is it difficult to get punters in all the time?

Not anymore no, we turned a huge corner, that the perception of bohs, and its something we have worked on very hard, the perception of bohs has changed massively, when you go in there tonight, you will see there will be quite a lot of tourists, quite a lot of girls, and the kind of demographic at bohs games has shifted quite a lot in the last few years. we haven’t lost anyone, we have just added on a new group of people.

I see you are linking up with other teams as well, you have FC United…

Fc United, we have good links with st pauli in hamburg

really, wow

yeah its something we have really tried to press home

will there be a sparkling of German and……

yeah you will see it here, there will be german, French, Spanish, they will be drinking the bohs craft ale, there will be hipsters everywhere

you have three bars

So The one in the middle is the members bar, generally older demographic in there, mainly bohs members, the bar on the far left is the phoenix walking in that’s generally our singing section, there is a jukebox in there, lots of pictures of past gigs in Dalymount, the one on the far right isn’t open to the public that’s our sponsors bar, it opens up after the game.

will I see Johnny Logan tonight?

You might!

brush shiels?

You will see brush shiels,
You will see, who else will be here….
James Kavanagh is coming tonight, im picking james up in the jeep, you know james kavanagh, the snap chat celebrity

No, sorry

John Kavanaghs brother, McGregor’s coach. So james is coming to tonight and he is snapchatting the whole night

im just after realising the name of the bar (café)…..bang bang , you were in the news recently…

Yeah we got a gravestone made for bang bang, on rte news

bang bang?

Used to shoot a key around Dublin

it was only recently, what 2 or 3 weeks

2 weeks ago
I know you cant see this now obviously as we are speaking, but the idea behind this and its something we have tried to say to other clubs, happening more and more is with this picture obviously its red and black but beside that its everything you wouldn’t expect to see on a football poster, no crest, no footballer, and there is a woman in it and that’s done on purpose as very often the FAI try to market the league and they miss the point, they put up a player in a jersey and a kit, that only appeals to existing fans….
But you see this, first of all you are thinking what’s it about……..but it kind of draws you in….

Bohemians, football away daysquestions, questions

Yeah and that’s something we have tried to bring across all our engagements with the public…

so what about shamrock rovers then? Ha ha 

In what way

you get excited when they come this side of the city

yeah both of us do, like…..there are some good things going on about shamrock rovers, I think they miss the point in that we try to celebrate the fact that what they did in terms of a club is getting themselves a ground and coming out from that period of absolute madness that they were in, should be commended as a club. Id have nothing against them as a football club
When we play them I want to beat them, do I like them…..no I don’t.
But I do think for us, been able to stay in Dalymount is massive.
Tallaght is a nice stadium, but there is no soul to it, it’s a sterile place, its on the periphery of the city

(its very windy, jesus right up the middle

I don’t like it. I met a guy here recently and he was a Spanish fella and he had come over, and he came to see us and rover in Dalymount, and he arrived on the Thursday and he got a Dublin bike and cycled out to Tallaght stadium to see it, and he said “I had left the city”

so what’s this place you have going on here the, it seems like a pretty cool place

It… what do we do,,,, we do food, records and clothes and coffee and

are you long open here?

Nearly two years

yeah, seems pretty busy, buzzing in there

A lot of it is football stuff. Me and my sister did it, her rule at the start was no politics, no football, so ….its full of bohs stuff…. And I climbed on top of that building last week and put a Palestinian flag on top last week

Bohemians, football away days
So that’s pretty much it, thanks very much …..and a prediction for tonight 

Id go 2-1 bohs

And who is going to score the last goal

Dinny, to score

Dinny Corcoran, thanks very much

 

Overall

Overall, enjoyed my visit to Dalymount, as I always do. Its a smashing old style ground that can create a special kind of atmosphere in the Dublin air. 

Was great to meet Daniel and get the low down on the club. He was right about Fuad, he is some player alright.

Enjoyed the bars in and around Phibsboro, was good to find some new decent boozers and some new beers to try out next time i am back in Dublin…..Five Lamps n Dublin Blue….

Dublin still the place for the craic….good pubs, great beers, football and the Liffey!!

Anyway, here is my day out in video form

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Thun, Swiss football away days

Thun, Swiss football away days 4.

My next Swiss football trip brought me to the small town of Thun in the canton of Bern. The German speaking city of just over 40,000 inhabitants is situated where the Aare flows out of Lake Thun (Thunersee), 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of Bern.

Be careful and dont get too rowdy at night as this is a garrison town, the largest in the country. That, the armaments industry, tourism, and the food industry are what makes this town. 

Thun, Swiss football away daysIt has had people living on the shores of the lake going back millennia since the Neolithic age but like a lot of towns and cities, it wasn’t until the Romans arrived that things started to progress quickly. The Celts had called the town “Dunum”, meaning “fortified town”, and in 58 BC it fell to the Romans who at that time had conquered most of what we know today as Switzerland, soon making Thun one of the main centres of Roman administration in the region.

Next it was the Romans turn to get booted out. This time by the Burgundians. The who? They were a large East Germanic or Vandal tribe, or group of tribes, who lived in central/east Europe. The Romans viewed them as barbarians and (I am guessing here!) vandals. Vandals or not, they got rid of the Romans from not only Thun but also the whole of Switzerland around 400 AD.

In the 12th Century, the Burgundy Duke, Bertold V of Zähringen, built Thun castle and expanded the town. The castle, in the centre of the town, overlooks the whole town and is a major draw for tourists to the area. 

Thun, Swiss football away daysBut it is not only Thun Castle, with its museum, that’s an attraction, the area is surrounded by stunning views of the Bernese Alps, which include the Eiger and Jungfrau peaks, and also Lake Thun, which is popular for cruises. The town itself has kept some of its old medieval architecture and the old town has a rather unusual style, where the buildings balcony all have lovely greenery and flowers overhanging and you dont know whether to look at street level or above. Behind the old town is the Aare River which boasts numerous restaurants, cafés, and bars.

Getting the train to Thun is no problem as it has a direct line from both Basel and Bern, and Zurich (via Bern)

 

Thun Castle/Schloss Thun

Thun, Swiss football away daysOpening hours:

April through to October: daily 10 am – 5 pm 

 November to January: every Sunday from 1 pm – 4 pm 
(open daily over Christmas and end of the year festivities)

 February and March: daily 1 pm – 4 pm 

Address: Thun Castle, Schlossberg 1, 3600 Thun

Website

info@schlossthun.ch

Thun Castle (German: Schloss Thun) with its four towers, built in the 12th century, today houses the Thun Castle museum, and is a Swiss heritage site of national significance.

Thun, Swiss football away daysThe medieval castle was built as an administrative castle and so was the seat of the local court and since at least the 17th century there was a prison on the castle grounds. As early as 1888, the museum opened in the castle and for a brief time the jailer was also the ticket seller and guard for the museum!

The castle’s five floors contains the Knights’ Hall, one of the few surviving halls of its type from the Middle Ages, and cultural and historic displays showing the development of the region over some 4,000 years. 

The corner towers of Thun Castle provide a breathtaking view over the city of Thun, Lake Thun and of the far off mountains.

If that all gets a bit too much for you, then you can relax in the onsite restaurant or perhaps stay the night at the adjacent hotel!

Loved the castle, it is very well preserved, and it was good to climb up to the top and get a great view of the city and its surroundings. You really get a killer view from up at the top, out from the turrets. Also it has a lot of very informative displays, interesting coats of armours to look at, and if you have kids with you they would love it as they can dress up as knights and ladies and play with small wooden swords and reenact the life of the middle ages. It was excellent value for CHF10, and a good start to the day. 

 

Pub watch 

 

Bistro-Bar Ratsstübli

Thun, Swiss football away days

                                             Address: Rathausplatz 6 , Thun 3600

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Thun, Swiss football away daysFirst pub of the day, in the centre of the towns square, the Bistro bar. Nice frontage, in keeping with the traditional style of the city. As it was morning, few customers, ordered a beer I tried before and enjoyed in Thun, a Valaisanne Biere de Cave which was a Zwickel beer (typically a cloudy beer), but which I didn’t particularly like this time. Service was friendly and the bar looked decent inside. Was nice to rest my legs after going up and down the castle in the morning. Decent place.

 

McArthurs Pub Thun

Thun, Swiss football away daysAddress: Marktgasse 12, Thun 3600

http://thun.mcarthurspub.ch/

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Next up was the Irish/Celtic style pub, McArthurs, situated in the Old Town of the city. Decent frontage and what you expect from a traditional Irish style pub, and also had a very good selection of Irish beers and ciders, Guinness, Smithwicks, Kilkenny and Bulmers on tap, which was excellent to see. But I went for another Valaisanne Biere de Cave, cause I really liked it in Thun and this time it was fine. Perhaps it was a different beer I had in the Bistro bar?

Thun, Swiss football away daysBarman was very friendly and chatty and since I was enjoying myself, I decided to order some food. Did notice on the menu that they did a British Breakfast Buffet, so it isn’t an Irish or Celtic bar then, bit annoying that, but I guess the locals wouldn’t twig that! Ordered the veggie burger with chips.  Food looked good and tasted fantastic, was well done and I really loved the carrots in the burger, was a new taste for me but it was bloody good. Hats off to the chef on that. 

Liked this bar, good service, friendly, nice decor and great food…….and the pint was decent too! I will even forgive it for been a plastic Oirish pub!!!

 

El Camino 

Thun, Swiss football away daysAddress: Obere Hauptgasse 32, 3600 Thun

https://www.elcamino.ch/

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Dropped in for a quick beer. Place was nice and cool, and empty inside, as most were sitting outside. I decided to relax inside and catch my bearings. Ordered a Feldschlössen Hopfenperle, which I had enjoyed before in a can,  which was lovely and cold straight from the tap, which tasted just fine on the hot day that it was, top job bar lady! 

Fancy enough bar, nice interior, had some decent beers on tap, good for my quick refreshment break. Nice.

 

Café Zentral Bar

Thun, Swiss football away daysAddress: Obere Hauptgasse 42
3600 Thun

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Thun, Swiss football away daysLast bar before I decided to head to the game, was Cafe Zentral Bar, with its perfect location on the banks of the river with excellent views. Was more like a local bar as it had a lot of, shall we say, older clientele. Bar lady was very friendly and I ordered an Eichof BrauGold. Relaxed and enjoyed my lovely beer as tourists and visitors walked by in the midday sun. Great for people watching! 

Good beer, friendly service, in a very relaxed setting. If I was any more relaxed I’d be comatose. 

 

FC Thun

Thun, Swiss football away days

Arena/Stadium: Stockhorn Arena, Thun

Location: Weststrasse 12, 3604 Thun

Capacity: 10,000

Manager: Mauro Lustrinelli

Founded: 1898

League: Swiss Super League

Club home page 

info@fcwohlen.ch

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Thun, Swiss football away daysOn the first of May, 1898, FC Thun was founded by a small group of football fans in the “Zum Sternen” restaurant on the corner Schwäbisstrasse / Marktgasse.

The club currently play in the Swiss Super League, the top division. Their home ground is the Stockhorn Arena which has a maximium capacity of 10,000. The club’s colours are red and white, representing the city’s coat of arms.  

It has played in the Swiss second division for most of its history but from 2002–2008 it played in the top division, later to be relegated, but they quickly bounced back and in the 2009–10 they won promotion back again to where they have remained ever since, the Swiss Super League.

Thun have never won a Swiss football championship, but they have featured in European club football on a few occasions. 

Perhaps the greatest moment in the clubs history was in the 2005/2006 season as FC Thun qualified for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, a stage they reached after Thun, Swiss football away daysknocking out Dynamo Kiev and Malmo in the two previous rounds. They were drawn in Group B alongside Arsenal, Ajax and Sparta Prague. Despite losing to both Arsenal and Ajax home and away, by beating Prague at home, Thun managed to extend their European adventure by qualifying for the Europa league as a third place finisher in the group.  Unfortunately the run ended when they were narrowly beaten 2-1 on aggregate to Hamburg. But as European debuts go, it was not bad, 12 games, with 5 wins and a few narrow loses against some pretty tough opposition. They have had three other seasons of European football, always getting by a few rounds and knocking out a relatively big name…..Palermo, Partizan Belgrade….. 

One good thing to see is that Thun’s squad is, bar 3 players, made up of mostly Swiss players, which is a bit unusual in the modern game. If you look at a lot of the other Swiss squads, you get an assortment of international players in squad lists. perhaps the club does a lot with underage development, or maybe they are tight with their money?

 

To the game

FC Thun 0 – 1 FC Sion

23.07.2017  • Stockhorn Arena, Thun

28 ‘Moussa Konaté (Sion)

Attendance: 5617

Thun, Swiss football away days

The goal came on the 28th minute, against the run of play I must add. A quick break from midfield resulted in Kévin Constant playing a lovely swerving forward pass that beat two defenders and was placed perfectly for the Senegalese striker Moussa Konaté to rifle home. Except he didn’t as the last defender put in a great block, only for Konaté to get the rebound to make it one nil to Sion. Unlucky. 

Thun, Swiss football away daysMoussa Konaté had a golden opportunity to put the game to bed for Sion in the second half, when he had the time to place it, but put it just wide of the post from outside the box. Should have at least got it on target.

Thun’s Central midfielder Dennis Hediger was sent off for a rather soft challenge on Joaquim Adao, who went down like a tonne of bricks. Bit harsh me thinks from the referee there.

Thun huffed and puffed and had a good few half chances and also hit the post late on, but that was that.

Have to say, despite losing, I was impressed with Thun as they are a team set up to attack and play half decent football (unlike Sion, from what I saw), and I can see what the manager is trying to do. Just hope they give him time as I am sure Thun will turn out to be a good team in the near future. Watch this space! 

Goal of the game here

 

Overall

Thun, Swiss football away daysThun was a lovely town to visit, a lot of history and I liked the set up of the traditional street with its balconies full of flowers and beautiful shrubs. Also the walk along Lake Thun was nice and the river that goes through the town, albeit it was packed with tourists and day visitors along the river banks. It was also very interesting to see people surfing along the river, something I didn’t expect to see near the centre of Thun!!

Of course the castle is a must see, that goes without saying. And I would like to return to the city someday.

Thun, Swiss football away daysAs for FC Thun, found the ground a little soulless. Ok their ultras did give it a good go, but its one of those stadiums on the edge of town near no bars or pubs and that is such an effort to get to that its a pain in the hole. It was really tough to get to, the bus was direct but little info on where to get it from the bus station, so I ended up with the Sion fans on their bus to the ground. Also was a bit annoyed that a plastic bottle of water was taking off me as I entered the ground. FFS, that’s a first for me, fucking water, and me having brought a six pack into Wembley before, lol! Silly.  Also frustrating was that the club shop was closed, yes fucking closed, as I went round to have a look. I always like to buy a scarf or momento of my day at the club, but no chance here. What the fuck FC Thun!! The only redeeming feature, apart from the ultras who were decent and created some good atmosphere, was that the team were generally enjoyable to watch (at least for me anyway).  

Anyway onto the next ground-hop in Switzerland.

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