It is still nice to be getting firsts at my age! Paddy arrived about an hour before the game and we were soon at the ground once we managed to free ourselves from the traffic congestion that for some uncommon reason had mushroomed at that time on a Friday evening.
The day previous I had walked my dog over to the ground, managing to lose my cap on the way, to purchase tickets for the game - for myself and a neighbour plus his two children. Due to some glitch there were none available online. The club had been advertising that there would be tickets on sale at the club house but the land line didn’t work, nobody answered the mobile or replied to text messages. The administrative end of things reflects the disheveled state of the ground referred to last week.
Two things must be said about Shelbourne. Firstly, the team put up a spirited fightback from a 2-0 deficit at half time to emerge winners after a six goal clash. Secondly, it was so heartening to see one of their fans across the pitch continuously wave the Palestinian national flag. We live in a dark international time in which a civilian population is subjected to calculated infanticide and other crimes against humanity by the Israeli Reich. The aeriel and land onslaught includes attacking ambulances, hospitals and refugee camps. It is therefore inspiring to think that there are people who, while going about the course of their own lives, still try to shine a torch on Nazi-like genocide.
Last game of the season for the Drogs produced a disappointing finish. But for Andrew Wogan in goal, it could have been much worse. The home side went ahead with two well taken goals in the first half. Admittedly their good fortune came against the run of play but as they left the pitch for the half time break, they looked to be coasting and the Shels thoroughly rattled and in disarray.
When they came back out it seemed that somebody had slipped sleeping potion into their half-time cuppa. They sleepwalked into defeat. Within minutes of the restart they conceded a soft goal. This was followed by a second yellow card for Luke Heeney. Why defenders on a yellow are not hauled off immediately puzzles me. They are lame ducks and when not they are vulnerable to what happened with Heeney against Shels.
Unlike many teams who simply don’t know what to do when handed a one man advantage, Shelbourne were adroit masters of the situation. They positioned their men well, spread the ball from one side of the park to the other before finally making the decisive pass. A matter of minutes elapsed before the score was level. From then on it was plain sailing - a game of one half – all played in the Drogheda end. The vast bulk of the possession belonged to Damien Duff’s side. They had more shots on goal and more on target. In the end they were worthy winners. How Drogheda collapsed will have been mulled over post-match in the town’s pubs. Coach Kevin Doherty will not have gone to bed without reflecting on what might have been with an infusion of discipline and a bit more concentration.
It would have been nice to win but apart from one or two grumbles on the way from one disgruntled supporter, most fans were happy to see Drogheda bag a brace and play their part in a six goal encounter. A semi professional side they ended the season ahead of two full time sides, finishing 7th on 41 points. And unlike last week’s display in Sligo, this one was action packed.
If goals are what pay for, last night they they got a great bargain.