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Why You Should Get To A League Of Ireland Game This Year

Why You Should Get To A League Of Ireland Game This Year
By David Kent Updated

Four long months later - the League of Ireland is back.

Yeah, the President's Cup was last week, but that's a pre-season friendly to most of the fans. They said their prayers to Brian Kerr. They've practiced their chants and booked the days off work. Chances are Cork City fans are already on the road to Donegal for their match against Finn Harps.

It's a great time of year. But if you've never set foot inside a ground for a game, you are seriously missing out. Here's why you should try and get to a League of Ireland game this season.

The chances are you're watching Ireland's next star

That picture above doesn't even feature the likes of Damian Delaney or Kevin Doyle amongst many other former League players that have played for Ireland

As for the future Ireland squads, we're sure that Daryl Horgan and Chris Forrester will appear sooner rather than later. They will be joined by the likes of Sean Maguire, Kevin O'Connor, Sean Hoare, Dylan Connolly and Brandon Miele - all have made plenty of appearances for the underage squads.

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You get to watch the future for less than €15.

The mascots
They raise money for charity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbELvT1wNW0

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Some of them are a bit feisty though...

The atmosphere
When someone like Copa90 comes over to cover your league - twice - you know you've magic on your hand.

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No fan watching through a screen will ever be able to feel how Dundalk fans felt when Ciaran Kilduff scored in Tallaght. When Sean Maguire won the cup for Cork in the last minute of extra time. When BJ Banda sent Finn Harps up.

It makes for some amazing displays too.

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The history

This season is  the last chance that anyone will get to set foot in the original Dalymount Park. The home of the Ireland international team for a while, the ground has seen the likes of Pele, Zinedine Zidane and Liam Brady adorn it's pitch.

If you're a football fan and haven't before take a Friday night in Phibsborough, hop onto a bus and enjoy 'the home of Irish football' while you can.

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The players

You're probably going to see them working in the local supermarket or something similar the day after the game. Gary Rodgers was in Russia with Dundalk on a Thursday and then out fixing someone's electrics on a Saturday. True story. There isn't any fully professional clubs in the country with many working off amateur budgets.

It usually leads to pictures like this one:

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The quality

'Oh, but the League is crap and there's always 0-0's whenever it's on the telly.'

While it is a bit annoying that seemingly every early game on RTÉ tends to be a dull, uninspiring one, that doesn't mean the rest of the league is.

If people judged the Premier League on Red Monday then there'd be far less interest.

Flick through this playlist on YouTube and you'll see the best strikes of last season. All those former league players in the Irish team isn't a fluke.

Competition

Usually a cliché reserved for the Championship, anyone can beat anyone in the League of Ireland. There's no 'easy' game anymore. If you're heading on the road to Eamon Deacy Park or the RSC, you're no longer guaranteed a result.

It's not so good in the last couple of years, with Dundalk and Cork finishing well ahead of the rest at the top of the table. But there's always a scrap to get into the European spots.

With three sides going down automatically this season, expect an absolute dogfight down the bottom between the likes of Galway, Drogheda, Finn Harps and Bohemians.

The European exploits

We all know of Dundalk's exploits, and they have brought plenty of interest into the league after their successful season. But other clubs have grabbed some impressive results. Cork City were knocked out in the third round of the Europa League by Genk (3-1 aggregate) - they're now in the last sixteen of the competition. The Leesiders under 19's gave Roma a serious test in the Youth League.

UCD were only beaten 1-0 in the first leg against Slovak powerhouses Slovan Bratislava. Sligo were narrowly beaten by Rosenborg. Dundalk won away to Hadjuk Split.

Maybe it's the David vs Goliath story, but the league punches well above it's weight in European competition.

It's resulted in an influx of players from England and indeed across Europe into the league for the coming season.

The #GreatestLeagueInTheWorld on Twitter

And those are only from the last couple of months.

Famous fans

Johnny Logan still shows up at Bohs for a sing song on the odd occasion too!

There's not too many better Friday or Saturday nights around for less than €15. The madness begins again in a few hours. The die hards will be there. The families will be there.

We'll let one of the managers sum it up:

It's back.

SEE ALSO: Dave Barry Reveals Unlikely Career Highlight Involving Jack Charlton's Comical Attitude Towards LOI

 


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