Shelbourne are a club that I associate on a personal level with music. There’s the inspirational ‘’Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag’’ by Pigbag as the teams come out at Tolka Park [it also gets a blast when a goal is scored]. There’s Fats Domino’s ‘’Red Sails In TheSunset’’ wafting overhead in the night air as the crowd filters out onto Richmond Road at the end of the match. There’s a host of good stuff given an airing in between.
The song that came to mind on Friday last, after Shelbourne’s automatic promotion to the 2020 Premier Division was confirmed with a fine 3-1 away win at United Park, was ‘’Bringing On Back The Good Times’’ by The Love Affair. Perhaps the Tolka Park jukebox will dig it out and give it a spin on Saturday when Limerick visit.
So Ian Morris completes his first season in charge by bringing the good times back. Shelbourne were one of the favourites for the title before a ball was kicked, and have been there or thereabouts all season. A few wobbles along the way but to go up to Drogheda and win such a crucial game was an act worthy of champions.
The First Division wrapped things up a week early, making this week’s matchday 27 a procession of sorts, like the final stage in the Tour de France where everyone just rides up the Champs Elysees in a ceremonial fashion. Shelbourne are champions. Longford, Drogheda and Cabinteely are in the play-offs. Bray will finish in the top half of the table. Wexford will finish rock bottom. Nothing that happens on Saturday can change any of that.
It was fitting too that the lower tier settled everything in a blaze of goals. It has been a high-scoring division. Friday night saw 21 goals in its four games, and adding in Saturday’s three-goal game between Longford and Bray brought the total haul for the season to 364 strikes in 128 games, a ratio of 2.84goals-per-game. Galway’s 7-1 demolition of Cobh was the highest-scoring game of the weekend.
Back to The Love Affair and ‘’Bringing On Back The Good Times’’. The B-side of the single was a track called ‘’Another Day’’ and that’s something that Drogheda, Longford and Cabinteely can look forward to with the play-offs. Another day out, a further chance for glory, a second bite at the cherry. Cabinteely’s progress in securing a play-off spot, holding off the challenge of Bray Wanderers, is particularly impressive. Well done to Pat Devlin, his staff and squad.
No matter where your side finished, as a fan you will be back to support them next season. The relationship between a fan and her or his team is, as the band’s name states, a ‘love affair’; or to quote title of The Love Affair’s biggest hit, everlasting love [‘’Everlasting Love’’ took the band to #1 in 1967, ‘’Bringing On Back The Good Times’’ made it to #9 in 1969].