Saturday 12 July 2014


 Date of First Visit: 11th JULY 2009



SHAMROCK ROVERS Reserves/Trialists/Asylum  Seekers  0

NEWCASTLE UNITED 1st Team/Reserves/Juniors  3  (Steve Taylor, Ameobi, Ranger)



Attendance: 5,200 (+ 33 watchin’ from the hotel balcony(eees!) ower the road) 

( 1,500 Toon fans) (1,000 in orange plastic macs!) (the rest of us just got wet!)









This was wor forst game after the ignominy of relegation from the Premier League at Villa Park just seven short weeks beforehand and meesel ,‘The Caped Crusader’, Mal and ‘Big Al’ (no!—not that one!)  had flown ‘ower the waater’ to the emerald isle for this one.


It was much cheaper to fly and stay in Belfast so that’s wot we did as the flight to Dublin was mega bucks alang with a hotel. We let the train take the strain from Belfast to Dublin  on the day of the match and arrived in good time for the morning session before heedin’ for the groond which was in the far south of Dublin. At five to six euros a pint it was’nt cheap as the poond was aboot the same value but we knew that before we left.


Fish and chips were on the menu at a very reasonable FOURTEEN euros so aa decided to ‘starve meesel to death’ instead and ‘feed meesel’ with a few pints of ‘Magners’! (at a very reasonable SIX euros a bottle!)

Soon it was time to heed for the game and let the tram take the strain to Tallaght in ‘the sticks’ of  Dublin, but at an average speed of 5mph it was gannih tek a very lang time, as there were aboot 20 stops to get there. Amongst the stations on route we past ‘Fatima’ and ‘Red Cow’ (aa did’nt realize that fat mackem lasses lived here?)


Aa’m not sayin’ the tram was slow but it was that slow it would have been quicker waalkin’ it! and some 45 mins after leavin’ the city centre we finally arrived at Tallaght which torned oot to be in the middle of ne where!


The anly place to get a ‘gargel’ near the groond was at the hotel ower the road from the main stand aand as yi’d expect it was chocker with Shamrock and Toon fans (plus a few hotel guests!)





Our ‘home’ for this game was a glorified ‘roofless’ ‘golf stand’ which looked like it had been hurriedly erected behind the goal for the game as a big crowd was expected. It looked ready to collapse at anytime as more and more fans piled into the former farmers field which had opened orlier on in the year. Behind this was a rather strange pyramid shaped building (see photo!) which looked remarkableee like the one at Luxor in Egypt!

the Dublin pyramid (spot the Geordie Orangemen!)


Orange plastic macs had been handed to us ‘just in case’ it p****d doon and we were’nt to be ‘disappointed’! (read on!)


The main stand to wor reet did had a roof which pointed skywards and  it held aboot 4,000 or so, mostly Shamrock fans with a few Toon fans scattered amongst them

The yet to be finished stand to wor left was still under construction and was cordoned off to all but baall boys and the far end behind the other goal had ne terracin at aall with just a sprinklin’ of spectators huddled behind a brick waall.  The Dublin Moontains  towered ower this end of the groond in the distance, givin’ that end a very ‘scenic look’ indeed.

The anly problem was that there were huge grey clouds above the mountain peaks and they were heedin’ wor way!


The game kicked off and the Toon kicked towards ‘The Massive Moontain End’ (it just had to be!) but it torned oot to be an ‘up-hill’ struggle (sic!) as we failed to dent the Rovers defence despite the fact that their team was full of reserves and trialists as they’d played a League of Ireland game the neet before and had rested their forst team squad for this ‘prestigious’? game!

(That very fact shows just how far  the ‘Mighty Mags’ had fallen!)


A very forgettable forst half predictably ended goalless and to compensate for this caretaker manager Chris Hughton sent a totally different Toon X1 on for the start of the second period in hope of a better performance. (It was SO forgettable that ‘Big Al’ who was sittin’ beside me had actually nodded off on several occasions!)




The grey clouds above the moontains suddenly torned black and the bad news was that they were heedin’ wor way!   Aa pointed this oot to ‘Big Al’ who had awoken from his slumbers by this time, but he telt me that he could’nt even see the far goal---neva mind the moontains as he’d forgot to bring his specs with him and was as blind as a bat withoot them!


And then the heavens opened as the players ran oot for the restart and even aa could’nt see the moontains now as the thick clouds that enveloped them.  This resulted in aboot half the Toon contingent franticly pullin’ their orange plastic macs on and hears me thinkin’ that the twelth of July orange parades were’nt on til the next day!



This actually did the trick as within 5 mins  of the restart  Steven Taylor rifled a shot past the Shamrock keeper from close range at ‘The Luxor Pyramid End’! (yi just knew it----did’nt yih?) where of course the drenched Toon fans were standin’/sittin’


Not lang after this Shamrock asylum seeker Pavol Jurco hit the post with an open goal in front of him after Tim Krul in the Newcastle goal had missed the baall aaltogether (YES!---it’s hard to believe isn’t it?--- but such was the ‘quality’ of the opposition that they even had f*****’ refugees in their team!)


We doubled wor lead with 8 mins left on the clock when Guthrie picked oot  Shola Ameobi who’s deflected shot sent the keeper the wrang way.

The scorin’ was complete in the last seconds of the game when another Shola effort was blocked by the Shamrock keeper and ’super sub’* Nile Ranger had the simple task of sidefootin’ the baall into an empty net to complete the ‘pyramid’ effect! (that’s THREE goals to ye and me!)

(*Ranger started the 2nd half---was substituted----and then came back on again!)


A few gargles in the hotel to ‘celebrate’ wor win was followed by another torturous tram jorney back to the centre of Dublin where we caught the train back to Belfast.


As we were wanderin’ aimlessly aboot lookin’ for some ale hooses we came across what looked like another ‘pyramid’ in the distance, but on closer inspection it torned oot to be a huge bonfire in readiness for the 12th July celebrations for the next day


The bonfire was at least 60feet high, built with thoosands of wooden pallets in a pyramid shape (just like the one at Tallaght!) with various Sinn Fein MP photos and tricolour flags adornin’ the stack. Pride of place went to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness whose photos adorned various sections of the bonfire!  (who says ‘the troubles’ are ower?) 




the Belfast pyramid! (spot the pallets!)


Next mornin’ we got a taxi to George Best airport from the hotel for wor flight back yem and curiosity got the better of me and aa asked the taxi driver just where they’d got aall the pallets for the bonfire from, that we’d seen the neet before!?


In a thick Irish accent and obviously a protestant, he telt us that six months before the Orange parades start, firms are approached and are asked to ‘lend’ them some pallets for the ‘cause’. Sometimes they are refused but they simply go back and ask them again----and they get their pallets


“But wot happens if they still refuse to give them any pallets?”, aa asked him with baited breath


“They don’t!------they’d end up gettin’ knee capped or their businesess torched!” , he replied, addin’ that the photos are nicked from lamp posts durin’ the election campaigns! 


“There’s even a photo of a UDA minister on the bonfires as well, coz he fiddled his expenses!”  

he added with anger in his voice! (would’nt like to be in his shoes!)


He dropped us off and soon we were back from the ‘madness’ of Belfast to the ‘sanity’ of ‘The Newcastle Arms’ for a few more liquid refreshment before catchin’ the bus yem-------and as it torned oot---wor one and anly ‘European adventure’ was ower for another season at least! (although we did’nt know that at the time as wor planned friendly at Utrect in Holland was cancelled two days later!---but that’s another disaster story to be told!) (watch this space!)


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