Not nearly the samePosted: April 14, 2011
It was nearly two weeks ago now since Bohemians visited Richmond Park to take on St. Pats in Bohs’ first Dublin Derby of the season. The game was thought of as being the new-look Bohemians’ first “real test” of the season, with a relatively easy opening set of fixtures behind them beforehand. Some might argue that the Dundalk game was the first real test, however The Lilywhites were missing a few key players.
RTÉ showed the match live on television too, and this is where what I really wanted to talk about in this post comes in. Had anybody watched that match on TV they’d have seen an absolutely dire affair, with poor football from both teams lacking a lot of excitement barring the final few minutes.
A boring nil nil is what the spectators were ‘treated’ to. Had any Bohs fans out there decided to watch the match in the bar with a few pints, they’d probably have been glad that they gave this trip a miss. I myself was one of the fans who couldn’t be doing with watching the match from a screen. And if anybody asks me how the match was, I’ll reply with anything along the lines of “it was brilliant, one of the best games ever to have been at.” Those last few words, “to have been at,” are the most important that I include in my answer. And I genuinely do think that that ‘dull’, ‘unexciting’ match was one of the best I’ve experienced.
How is that even possible though? Quite simply – the crowd and the atmosphere created in the shed end in Richmond Park. Hearts were sung out nonstop for the entire game. Everyone acting out “Sit down/Shoes off for the Bohs” created joyous laughter, and not to mention all of the anti-St. Patrick’s Athletic songs that were chanted are always great craic. The noise and the buzz that was going around the whole of the stadium was just amazing.
You’d never be able to experience the atmosphere of the away end in Richmond Park on any television; 2D, HD or 3D, watching any match; a Dublin Derby or El Gran Clásico. After revising the game that I attended by watching parts of it on the RTÉ player, I noticed that the noise generated by both sets of fans didn’t come across too greatly on your television sets. At the game, I also only noticed one microphone pitchside anywhere near the Bohs fans. And even then, it was at the opposite end of the stand that the Bohs faithful were loudest at. If RTÉ wanted to show off how great either crowd were that night, they could have done themselves a huge favour and done a lot better.
My final conclusion from the whole St. Pat’s v Bohemians match is being at a football game really surpasses watching one on television in every way possible. Of course, I knew that before. But the particular difference of atmosphere and the enjoyment of it was especially highlighted so clearly to me at this game. I texted a few of my friends who weren’t at the match that night telling them I was actually sorry that they missed such a great night. You can watch all the Man U vs Liverpool, Madrid vs Barcelona or Celtic vs Rangers matches on Sky that you want, but it really doesn’t compete with being in the stands at a Dublin Derby.
And anyone that knows the first thing about League of Ireland football knows about Bohemians vs Shamrock Rovers. The fiercest of rivalries that this country has to offer. A Northside vs southside encounter that is perhaps the crown jewel of the League of Ireland fixtures, no disrespect to any other clubs. Tomorrow, Friday April 15th, will see the first of these games of this season, in Dalymount Park and you can probably guess what I’m about to say – the atmosphere will be special.