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Any Dream Will Do


I closed my eyes
Drew back the curtain to see for certain
What I thought I knew
Far Far away
Someone was weeping
But the world was sleeping
Any Dream Will Do


I wore my coat
With golden lining
Bright colors shining
Wonderful and New
And in the East
The Dawn was breaking
And the world was waking
Any Dream Will Do


May I return

To the beginning

The light is thinning

An the dream is too

The World and I

We are still waiting

And hesitating

Any Dream Will Do

(From “Any Dream Will Do” By Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice)




Friday 10th July 2015

Airtricity League of Ireland Division 1 k.o:- 7.45pm

Cabinteely                                         0

Shelbourne                                         1

James English 55 mins

Referee:- Paula Brady            Attendance:- 620


The great adventure to The Shamrock Isle! It was a 3.00am rise and a 4.00am departure for East Midlands Airport on a mild Friday morning. The airport was completely over-run with parents of Leicestershire school children (Leicestershire traditionally begin their summer vacation rather earlier than other local authorities and these families were taking the opportunity of a quick getaway before the school holiday hike in package prices)! The terminal was awash with mewling, spewling mini-humanity and at one stage I began to have serious doubts as to whether I would get to the departure gate in time!  All was well, however and Chris was there to meet and greet at Dublin Airport, where I collected a pretty insipid Renault Fluence for the duration of the trip. The other two cars were a Ford Mondeo driven by Martin and a Skoda Octavia driven by Jack. There were thirteen of us and as the first match wasn’t until the evening, Chris had arranged a tour of Croke Park, the headquarters of The GAA (Gaelic Athletics Association).


We already knew that the final match of our tour had been postponed because UCD had got through to the next round of The Europa League knock-out stages and discussion ranged around what might replace this fixture. There were two options. Firstly, there was the opportunity of a Gaelic Football match at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon. The second option was a long trip to Mayo – but at least there was a football match at the end of it! I was, frankly, a tad surprised that only four of us chose the long trek to a football match whilst the rest chose to stay inDublin and watch a mixture of rugby and football between two teams so mismatched that the bookies had put odds of 500-1 on the home side, Dublin to win the match! That, however, is only my opinion and, obviously, it was a minority one!


We drove in convoy down to Stradbrook Road in the Blackrock area of south Dublin to find the home of The League of Ireland’s newest club: Cabinteely. There had been other League of Ireland clubs from this area of Dublin in the past, but they had all flattered to deceive and perished after brief stints of success. The latest Phoenix from the ashes has no direct connection with any past incarnations and nobody seemed quite sure where they came from. They fill the void left by the outgoing Shamrock Rovers ‘B’ team and they play their matches at Blackrock RFC’s facility, and, considering that they are at the second tier of Irish football, the stadium was, to say the least, a disappointment! There was NO cover, there was no seating (although a temporary seated stand with no roof was at the ground, it was sealed off from spectators) and the best place to view the match was from the wooden terracing along one side of the ground. They did have newly installed floodlighting. They are, however, an ambitious club and run, apparently, some sixty teams from eight years old to eighteen. This season was to be their first foray into The Airtricity League of Ireland.


This was to be a big week for the club. hosting three games in five days (see above) and producing one glossy programme for all three matches. They also produced team sheets – individual sheets, one for each team, with somewhat scribbled hieroglyphics which frequently needed reference to the programme to check for spellings! There was a large, comfortable bar and several other rooms  – and offices – in the clubhouse behind the goal.


The match itself was nothing to shout about. In a game of few chances, which the visitors, noisily roared on by their large travelling contingent, dominated for long periods. The only goal came after 55 minutes but it was enough to consign the hosts to their eleventh defeat out of seventeen league matches and keep them firmly rooted in seventh place in the table (out of eight), whilst the visitors cemented fourth place but are never going to challenge for promotion this season!


Airtricity League of Ireland Division 1 (to 9th July 2015)

.       .       .       .       .        P   W   D   L      GD   Pts

1. Wexford Youths             16   11   0   4     20   33

2. Finn Harps                     16     9   4   5      8   31

3. UCD                              16     7   6   3     16   27

4. Shelbourne                   16     7   3   6      -2   24

5. Athlone Town                16     6   3   7      -1   21

6. Cobh Ramblers             16     5   5   6      -7   20

7. Cabinteely                    16     3   3   10  -19   12

8. Waterford United          16     2   4  10   -15   10

Saturday  11th July 2015

Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division k.o.:- 6.30pm

Limerick                              2

Vinny Flaherty 33,

Ian Turner 82 (pen),

Galway United                   4

Colm Horgan 14,

Jake Keegan 62, 74,

Gary Shanahan 81,

Referee:-  Graham Kelly            Attendance:- 650


The second match of the tour was on the West Coast of Ireland at Limerick and over one hundred miles from Dublin. In fact, we drove some thirty or forty kilometres beyond Limerick to Foynes, for a visit to The Flying boat Museum. Suffice it to say that it was an excellent visit, but the highlight was being invited by our guide to assist her in preparing an Irish coffee, which, they say, was invented at Foynes in The Flying Boat era. I was even awarded a medal and scroll for my sterling efforts! Sadly, I couldn’t drink the concoction because I was driving!


We also spent some time in King John’s Castle in the centre of the city. It was again a very informative and interesting visit, although some statements (such as “Ireland was a beacon of learning throughout Europe during The Dark Ages”), made one’s eyes water in disbelief!


It was no surprise, then, that when we eventually arrived at a hostelry just outside Limerick FC’s Markets Field Stadium, that my head nodded off for a few seconds! What was a surprise was the underhand way I was dastardly taken advantage of! my photo appeared several times on Facebook and it really appeared to me as if it had gone viral. Even my sister in Lancashire sent me a text to ask me what I was doing and a brother in Spain let me know that he had seen it too! Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me!


After my short nap, it was but a short walk across the road to Markets Field, the home of Limerick FC. It may be their home, and it has always been their spiritual home, but they only returned there on 5th July 2015 and promptly lost 1-2 to Drogheda United! In fact they haven’t won all season and are adrift in bottom place with a mere five points. The ground, however, belongs to LEDP (Limerick Enterprise Development Partnership) which purchased the stadium in 2012 with a generous donation from the JP McManus Foundation. The idea being that it would be fully developed as an 8,000 all seated stadium for the club. There was lots of evidence of ‘development’ in progress, but it might take a while to achieve its full potential and in the meantime, the club may be back in Division 1. Above is the view from the main stand and the bleak, dour edifice opposite is not a prison, as I thought, but The Limerick School of Music!


Teamsheets were reasonably accessible from the press box area which is at the top and on the right of the stand pictured below.




There was a temporary stand behind the far goal and you can just about make out two sets of fans occupying each side of the stand. They were OPPOSING fans and yet, not a steward of member of The Gardai in sight. They spent the match singing to each other and exchanging pleasantries, but at no point was there any sign of trouble!


It was a pretty good match. Galway United, although some one hundred miles away, could be considered as a local derby, but Limerick without a win all season must have been classed as underdogs. The visitors took an early lead, but at this stage did not seem comfortable and it was no surprise when the hosts equalised just after the half-hour mark. In the second half, Galway increased the pressure and struck three times in twenty minutes to gain a 4-1 advantage. Back came Limerick, immediately after Galway’s fourth strike, they gained a penalty which, truth be told, did little more than add respectability to the scoreline!


Towards the end of the match, the tannoy officer, who had never stopped squawking all through the game, announced that the official attendance was 650. Well, I was somewhat flabbergasted! The main stand (see above) holds around 2,000 spectators and it was at least half full and then there were the people in the stand behind the goal and the many others dotted around the stadium! It maybe a ruse to avoid paying the percentage of gate money to The Airtricity League of Ireland, but it was also an insult to the intelligence to suggest a figure so low that it could be so easily disbelieved!

It was a long drive back to DCU (Dublin City University), but we made it by 10.15pm and in time for a small night cap!



Sunday 12th July 2015

Mayo League – Super League

Manulla                                 0

Castlebar Celtic                    1

Gerard O’Boyer 62,

Referee:- Mike Halligan           Attendance:- 57


As so we came to what was undoubtedly the best visit of the weekend. Before we left Dublin, we had a trip to The Aviva Stadium, the home of Irish Football and Rugby. Then we left for the two hundred or so mile trip to County Mayo, thirty or forty miles north and west of Galway. I cranked up The Renault Effluence, but even so, it took us half an hour to get out of Dublin. By this time, Laurence’s sat-nav was projecting an arrival time just as the teams would be kicking off. The Effluence eventually managed to crawl up to 150 kph and we made good progress on the M4 and M6, but The N84 from Galway was an altogether a different matter with tractors and annoying small towns and villages like Tuam and Ballindine with 50 or 60 kph speed restrictions and long lines of cars determined not to exceed it!


All was well, however, we arrived a good half hour before kick-off and sat-nav did an excellent job. When we turned off the main road onto what was little more than a single track road, where grass verges required assaulting if cars approached from the opposite direction, and grass grew down the middle of the road, I did wonder if we were stepping into ‘Brigadoon’ territory! There was no sign of a football ground until the very last moment when we turned a corner and there was a little gem displayed in all its majesty!


There was a two hundred seat stand, a fully railed football pitch and, behind the stand, another full sized pitch with floodlights. The clubhouse had several changing rooms downstairs and upstairs, there was a board room. a club shop and a meeting room, which only needed a bar to complete the social atmosphere!


This very substantial sporting facility had been funded by state grant some twenty-five years earlier and had been carefully nurtured ever since. Apparently, up to five players in the first team actually live in England and return each weekend to play for the club. The rest are drawn from the wide catchment area whose centre is the village of Manulla.


The motto on the crest can be roughly translated as “May his seed be blessed”, which was apparently a remark bestowed on a local worthy by St Patrick many centuries ago. Whilst there is no overt influence cast by St Patrick on the thriving football club of Manulla, the great man does appear to be heavily associated with the club!


The Club House


The history of Manulla and Manulla FC


You can see behind the main stand, the floodlights of the second pitch. Perhaps, clubs in The Mayo League have no need of floodlights – the league is played in the Summer – but they could be used for training during the winter! Castlebar Celtic were, not surprisingly, in the green and white hoops, whilst the home side played in royal blue!


Today’s match was something of a local ‘Derby’. Castlebar is no more than five miles down the road and its football club is very superior, boasting terracing and floodlights and a substantial club house (in fact, although ‘Caramole’, the home of Manulla FC, is by comparison, so much less impressive than Castlebar Celtic, it is still so much MORE impressive than Cabinteely!). There was plenty of discussion over the weekend about a pyramid system in Ireland and how the football clubs could be arranged geographically. Castlebar Celtic with their luxurious ground, have no intention of joining the national league. There is no incentive. But what could be used as an incentive?


Manulla were several places above Castlebar Celtic in the league, but today, after a bright start, they were pegged back by their visitors. Neither team seemed to have much goalscoring potential and it was only after an hour that Celtic broke the deadlock when left winger, Gerard O’Boyer, found himself in acres of space at the far post and tapped the loose ball into the net. That may have been the decisive goal, but there should have been others for the visiting side who missed opportunities that my grandson would not have scorned! At the final whistle, however, they deservedly took the spoils!

Somehow, the journey back to Dublin didn’t seem to take as long!  The following morning saw another early start to return The Effluence back to the rental stable from whence it had come and to catch the red eye back to ‘Blighty’!


It had been a thoroughly interesting and enjoyable weekend. Chris had put a lot of work into it and even when things didn’t go well, he always managed to provide alternative back-up. The accommodation was excellent and – even though he knows what a maverick I am – I hope I didn’t give him too much angst!

Many Thanks, Chris, and here’s to the next time!



The Intrepid Travellers! Picture courtesy of ‘Jack’ Warner (far left above)


This season –                              Games:-  4                      New Grounds:-    4

Total –                                         Games:- 3,211                New Grounds:-   1,101

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