Originally the plans for the redevelopment of Dalymount Park proposed that Bohemians vacate the stadium at the end of 2017, play the 2018 and 2019 seasons at Tolka Park, then move back [along with Shelbourne] to the new Dalymount Park for the start of the 2020 season. Last year this was pushed out by 2 years and last week the timeframe was pushed out by a further year.
So Bohemians will now be playing in DalymountPark for 2019 and 2020, will vacate it for 2021 and 2022 and come back for 2023 [along with Shelbourne]. The reason for the latest moving of the goalpost, if you’ll excuse the pun, is to allow for any snags and ensure that the clubs don’t have to move in mid-season, which wouldn’t be practical for the clubs or their sponsors.
I’m all in favour of Dalymount being redeveloped and I think the latest plans unveiled for the stadium are achievable, practical and exciting. I’m all in favour Bohemians and Shelbourne ground sharing too. If it’s good enough for AC and Inter Milan, then it can work for Bohs and Shels. It makes economic sense as well as sporting sense that a stadium is utilized to its full potential.
My only issue with the whole thing is that ultimately the demise of Tolka Park will eventually and inevitably happen. 2019 would have been the last season of football there under the original timeframe. This moved out to 2021 and now 2022 will be the last season of football there. Ever.
I suppose the plus side with the change in dates is that there are 4 more seasons left at Tolka. The last 2 of those will have the stadium busier than ever, hosting Bohs and Shels on alternate weeks. It begs the question though, how can we let a stadium go from being in use every week for 2 iconic Dublin clubs to being made redundant? How can we go from football to wrecking ball?
In an ideal world, or in Roy of the Rovers, Tolkawould be saved for 2023 and beyond. It would be redeveloped too, or at least refurbished. It could be turned into a centre of excellence or a location for junior internationals or whatever. It has too much history to be just knocked down to make way for apartments.