2 April 2007

Me, myself and Bohs... how it came to be

Before moving to Ireland in 2005 I knew very little about football in Ireland. A vague recollection of Aberdeen being embarrassed by an Irish team (Bohemians) in the Uefa Cup around four or five years earlier was about as much as my memory could muster.

Once I had moved over though, I was determined to get to a few games. Getting along to games was one of the things I missed most after moving, so adopting an Irish team was something I was keen to do. Living close to Phibsboro and having a girlfriend who'd lived in the area all her life, Bohemians was the only real option.

I made my first visit to Dalymount Park on September 2nd, 2005. I'd noticed in the newspaper that Bohs were playing Shamrock Rovers that evening so I decided to head down and get my first taste of Eircom League of Ireland action. At the time I had absolutely no idea of the rivalry or indeed the history between the two clubs, however, walking home a couple of hours later, I had a far better idea of what it was all about!

However, when the teams ran out i wondered whether my choice of team had been a wise one. Having been a Celtic fan since i was barely out of nappies, it didn't feel right that i wasn't supporting the team in green and white hoops - Shamrock Rovers.

It was a cracking game. Bohemians took an early lead through a little bald guy up front (I later came to know he was called Tony Grant), before Rovers equalised shortly before half-time. An entertaining first half was enough to persuade me to nip to the club shop and buy a scarf, but it was an incident packed second period that would make me a fan.

Despite the relatively small crowd (compared to what I was used to at Celtic Park), the atmosphere was electric. The tackles were flying in too and not long after the break Rovers were reduced to ten-men when their defender almost took the legs off the Bohs right back Stephen Rice. (Two years on and having gotten to know the players and the game a little better I realise that this might have been no bad thing!!)

My first game as a Bohs fans was to end in disappointment though, as Rovers would go on to score two late goals and snatch all three points.

However, apart from the result, i thoroughly enjoyed my night and had seen more than enough to know that I would be back.

Over the remainder of that season i managed to make it back to two or three more games, although by the time the campaign ended i was yet to witness a Bohemians victory.

At the beginning of the 2006 season I attended most homes games, however, like many other Bohs fans, i became somewhat bewildered by the direction the club was going in under Gareth Farrelly. Like my visits to Dalymount Park, Bohs form over the course of the campaign was somewhat patchy and they would ultimately finish in a lowly ninth position. Farrelly himself was shown the door shortly before the end of the season, much to the relief of despondent Bohs fans.
During the close season which followed, the club underwent much change. A new manager, Sean Connor, was brought in from Sligo Rovers and he wasted no time in making the squad his own, bringing in no less than 11 new faces before the end of February. As the new manager swept in to Dalymount, so too did a little hope into the Bohs faithful. By this point I had signed myself up to an excellent Bohs message board (http://thebohs.com/) and my interest in the club was growing.

And so, as the 2007 campaign approached it appeared certain that an interesting season lay ahead for Bohs and I was determined to see as much of it as I possibly could.

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