Friday 5th October 2018 19.45
Airtricity Irish League Premier
Bohemian 1 Waterford 3 HT: 1-2 Att: c2000
Mageruson 15 : Puri 20, Aborah p 24, Hunt 56
from Dalymount Park
After a great trip, last season, to North Ireland to do the double of Glenavon and Cliftonville, I was tempted back. This time I mixed it up even more with a flight from Liverpool to Dublin to watch Bohemian and then the early morning train from Dublin to Belfast to watch the much vaunted Glentoran.
After booking everything, Glentoran’s fixture changed to a Monday for television, probably because it was a Belfast derby v Linfield. I was not happy but at least there were many other options, with NI being small.
I chose Bohemian (also referred to as Bohemians or Bohs) as they are the oldest continuously surviving club in the League of Ireland, like Cliftonville in Northern Ireland. They were established in 1890 and are the fourth most successful club in the division, behind Shamrock Rovers, Dundalk and Shelbourne. They have won the LoI 11 times and the FAI Cup seven times. They also had some notable successes in Europe. They were the first Irish team to beat a British club away from home when they came from behind late to beat Aberdeen 2-1 at Pittodrie in 2000, in the UEFA cup. They have also beaten Rangers and Kaiserslautern.
Their ground is also one of the oldest in Ireland, opening on 7th September 1901. It was known as the ‘Home of Irish Football’, holding many internationals and FAI Cup Finals. The ground was built on land called Pisser Dignam’s Field. In its heyday it had attendances of circa 40,000. They installed floodlights in 1962, shipping them from Highbury, Arsenal and their first floodlit game was a 3-8 defeat to them.
Their bitter rivals are Shamrock Rovers, also from Dublin. Their ground lies near the centre of Dublin, just a bit north in Broadstone. It is a very built up area and Dalymount lies amongst a sea of terraced houses. Approaching the ground along town centre streets, spying the fllodlights you get that real old-fashioned sense of going to the game, that is missing a little bit from modern out of town venues.
The ground is a mixture of old and new. In the eighties Lansdowne Road became the preferred venue for internationals, and Dalymount started to fall into disrepair. A safety review reduced its capacity to 22,000. However, some of the ground has since been redeveloped. Its main 90 year old wooden stand was replaced in 1999 by a modern 2,742 seater.
The old shed end now has 1,485 seats and is commonly used as an away end.
It was a little disappointing that only two sides were open. Despite the other long side having 3,720 seats, it has no roof and was closed due for health and safety reasons in 2011. The crumbly terrace behind the other goal has grass and mosses poking through and is now sadly home to flags only.
For some reason Irish and Northern Irish fixtures never have attendances, but I would guess there were at least 2,000 in for the fixture tonight against Waterford. The main stand was pretty full and buzzing. The atmosphere outside the ground was good too and the murals and graffiti gave it a real character.
It was a full-blooded good game with Bohemian making a great start when Mageruson side footed a fierce cross into the net to send the crowd wild. This proved to be a false dawn, though, as Waterford quickly showed that they had slightly more class about them. A equaliser resulted from a terrible defensive mix-up just five minutes later and then a penalty five minutes after that, turned the game round. Boh’s struggled to find an equaliser and Waterford turned the screw on 56 to make it 1-3.