With the Carlisle Grounds and Tolka Park on a week off [Bray lost away in Tallaght Stadium on Saturday night and Shelbourne beat Athlone Town away on Friday night] Blaise and myself had a choice of venues to take in a game as neutrals on the Friday night. The choice was to stay on the northside and attend the Bohemians versus Derry City game, or head across the Liffey and go to either Stradbrook for Cabinteely versus Longford or Belfield for UCD versus Drogheda.
I was pushing for a trip to Belfield, not having been to a game there for a few years. I even wore my UCD jersey on Friday to try to influence the decision, but Blaise was having none of it. We were going to Dalymount. One of the first games I brought him to was when Bray played there in 2016. Now he was making his first trip back as a seasoned League of Ireland veteran at seven years old.
Being a neutral we didn’t know what the protocol was as to where to sit in Dalymount. In the end we decided to sit in the away end, as that’s where we would naturally sit if we came with Bray. But the Derry fans were giving me funny looks, as if they smelt an intruder. I eventually realised it was because of the UCD jersey, which I hadn’t bothered to change out of.
We weren’t the only intruders though – there were two Cork legends down that end too. One was ‘Cork Tom’, League of Ireland fan extraordinaire, the other was City’s manager John Caulfield, making use of Cork not playing that night to run an eye over Bohemians, next week’s visitors to Cork.
If I was having a jersey malfunction, then Blaise felt the teams that came onto the pitch were. ‘’Dad, Bohemians are wearing Mr. Green and Derry are playing in green’’. A look through the programme, which is always an excellent read at Dalymount, informed me that Mr. Green is an online casino and not anything to do with recycling. You learn something new every day. Shows how green I am at all things gambling.
The atmosphere in the ground was great and the game was a good one to watch as a neutral. Ronan Hale and Rory Patterson scored a quick-fire double for Derry relatively early and that put it up to Bohemians. They responded to the challenge quite well but couldn’t get a goal back before half time, or after the restart despite a bright start to the second period. In the end it JJ Lunney’s late goal proved to be nothing more than a consolation, something to put a better gloss on the scoreline.
The result kept Derry in the hunt for the European places, and left Bohemians hovering above the relegation play-off spot. The long trip home to Derry would be a happy one for their fans, but the short trip home for the Bohemians faithful would be disappointing. For the neutral, it was a good Friday night’s entertainment.