Saturday, March 18, 2017

Shelbourne FC 2, Blues 2 (17/3/17, Tolka Park, Dublin)

In the end a drawn game and probably the right result. Shels were first out of the blocks and took an early lead thanks to some very sleepy defending by the Blues. The Blues then took a foothold in the game; equalised just before the break; took the lead on the hour and then conceded an equaliser ten minutes before the end. 2-2 it ended.

David McDaid was the star man for the Blues capping another fine outing with an excellent goal. He had another couple on target and also hit the upright during the second half. Another to catch the eye was Derek Daly who was a constant thorn for the home side to deal with...excellent game. Keeper Ian McLoughlin did well as did Tom Smith and Kenny Brown.

Kenny Browne's goal came from a free kick out wide on the right. He met it with  firm header to find the net. David McDaid's goal came from a mis-kick by Brown following a Daly corner. He hooked it round his shoulder to find the net from a narrow angle.

'Travels' cameraman Peter Clancy in action
The travelling fans numbered around a hundred including the usual contingent from around the capital. They also gave a very fine performance. What a pity it wasn't matched by the performance of some of the stewards who once again showed were less than helpful. Tolka Park is essentially unfit for purpose. It should not be in use still (despite its very fine playing surface) and how Shelbourne got a licence this year is puzzling to say the least. Clearly the FAI does not require much (anything?) by way of facilities for visiting fans when issuing licences. Blues' fans were denied access to hot refreshments and adequate toilets. The toilet facilities for visiting fans are disgusting but nothing ever seems to be done with them. Shelbourne club officials should be ashamed of themselves. Young children could not even access the souvenir shop. All for the safety of the visiting fans!!! Has it occurred to these stewards to deal with the cause of the problem if so - their own home fans. Not too many of them were present - no doubt boycotting the club for some reason. There always seems to be something. The ghosts of the past in Irish soccer must cringe at the state of Tolka Park and the way visiting fans are treated.

This must be only place in the country where approved media personnel have to pay in at the gate...pathetic.

The game was played in good condition if a little wet during the first half. The match officials did reasonably well but it must be said that referee Paula Daly demonstrated shortcomings once again in getting some key decisions wrong....far too lenient on several occasions.

Seven points from four games is not what was expected but Blues' fans will be consoled by the thought that their team has not yet settled into its rhythm. Sometime soon, they will hit the opposition for six. Top spot in Division 1 has been conceded to Cobh who visit the RSC on 7th April. That should sort the boys (Cobh) from the men! In the meantime two games with Wexford, the first one up in the EA Cup away on Tuesday.

C'mon the Blues!

Blues: Ian McLoughlin, Dave Mulcahy, Shane O'Connor, Kenny Browne, Patrick McClean, Kenny McEvoy (Dean O'Halloran '69), Anthony McAlavey (Jake Evans '78), Garry Comerford, Tom Smith, Derek Daly (Mark O'Sullivan '83), David McDaid. Unused subs: Dean Walsh, Matt Connor, Robin Dempsey, Gary Delaney,

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