The UEFA Champions League semi-final first-leg was on television. Liverpool against Roma. Salah, Mane, Firmino. Live from a packed and electric Anfield. Happy days. So who would contemplate venturing out from their sitting room to watch a domestic League Cup game likely to be poorly attended and feature squad players? Step forward the members of the Tuesday Night EA Sports Cup Club!
Shamrock Rovers were hosting Longford Town and Shelbourne were hosting Drogheda United, and it’s to TolkaPark that my son Blaise and myself went. We were rewarded for venturing out within 20 minutes, when an absolute bullet of a header from Dave Mulcahy opened the scoring for Shelbourne, or maybe it would be more accurate to say opened the floodgates – Dylan Grimes, Cian Kavanagh and Jamie Doyle also found the net before the interval for the hosts. The PA system at Tolka breaks out a blast of James Brown’s ‘’I Feel Good’’ every time the home side score; perhaps when you’ve put in a fourth a song called ‘’I Feel Really Good’’ or ‘’I Feel Absolutely Fabulous’’ would be more apt!
Goalkeeper Lee Stacey had saved a penalty for the home side just before the interval to put the icing on a stylish first half, and the Tolka Park jukebox stayed with the style theme by giving us The Style Council’s ‘’Shout To The Top’’. Blaise and myself kept the theme going by adding some extra style to our match programme – we got Dave O’Sullivan, on a well-deserved night off from playing duty – to sign it.
Shelbourne added two more through Jamie Doyle and Shane Farrell to lead 6-0 before Drogheda, with nothing to lose, came into the game and got two well-deserved goals. Shelbourne weren’t done though, adding a seventh through Doyle to get his hat-trick and take home the match ball.
As we walked home I checked the night’s other scores. Shamrock Rovers had gone down to Longford. Liverpool had been 5-0 up against Roma [and yes, Salah, Mane and Firminohad all scored!] before Roma did a Drogheda and came into the game with nothing to lose to get two well-deserved goals back. Best news for me was Rochdale’s draw with Plymouth Argyle [Ryan Delaney scored Dale’s equalizer] which lifted them out of the League One drop zone [for the first time in months] with 2 games to go.
Shelbourne and Drogheda go again on Friday night, this time in the League and at United Park. It’s likely to be a closer contest than the one the Tuesday Night EA Sports Cup Club witnessed!