Monday, January 04, 2016

Burscough FC

Burscough 0 Spennymoor Town 2 - Northern Premier League, Division One North

Burscough is a large village and civil parish within West Lancashire, to the north of both Ormskirk and Skelmersdale. The parish also includes the hamlet of Tarlscough and the Martin Mere (a large wildfowl reserve and visitor attraction on the edge of Burscough and is owned by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust). Burscough developed originally as two small farming villages (Burscough and Burscough Bridge) on a low ridge above the West Lancashire Coastal Plain, and has Viking roots. Following constant development of new housing estates and apartments, Burscough's population has recently rapidly grown and the two communities have long since merged together. Burscough has two main railway stations: Burscough Junction, on the Liverpool to Preston line, was opened by the East Lancashire Railway on 2 April 1849, though the line now terminates at Ormskirk. Burscough Bridge, on the Southport to Manchester line, was opened by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway on 9 April 1855. The presence of two stations is a sign of the two previous villages and their differing landowners. 

Following World War II the present Burscough Football Club was founded in 1946, starting life in the Liverpool County Combination. In their second season, 1947–48, they achieved a treble, winning the Lancashire Junior Cup, George Mahon Cup and the Liverpool Challenge Cup. Two years later they again claimed the Junior Cup and also won the County Combination title for the first time. In 1952 they won the Liverpool Challenge Cup for a second time. In 1981 the club became founder members of the North West Counties League, and had the distinction of becoming the league's first ever champions under Bryan Griffiths. A new grandstand seating 250 was built in 1986 to replace the old wooden stand, which had stood for 60 years. The club appointed Shaun Teale as player/manager in May 2002 and the ex-Aston Villa defender went on to lead the club to its greatest-ever achievement as Burscough became the smallest club to win the FA Trophy following a 2–1 victory over Tamworth at Villa Park on 18 May 2003. Played in front of a crowd of 14,296, it was the Linnet's twelfth game in the competition. Despite the win, Teale was sacked six weeks later. 

A late morning arrival in Liverpool provided an opportunity to check the internet to ascertain whether my chosen match at Burscough would go ahead. The adverse weather conditions sweeping the country had meant that a number of matches had been postponed. Once given the green light I made my way to Wigan to catch an onward connection to Burscough Bridge. On alighting at the station it is possible to see the floodlights of Victoria Park, which is located immediately behind Tesco. Having walked over to the ground for further confirmation, it was time for some liquid refreshment. The Hop Vine public house on the main street is only a few minutes walk away. The bonus for me was that this establishment has a brewery on site. This Pieman opted for a pint of Hop Vine bitter (3.8%). This is a "golden session ale with a light body and moderate bitterness. The initial sweet, hoppy finish gives way to a fragrant citrus aroma with hints of pine and lemon". The pub was also doing a good trade in meals with reservations in place for later in the day. 

Once admitted to the ground, there was an opportunity to wander around taking photographs. There is a covered seated stand along one side of the pitch. Opposite this is a covered terraced area. Another covered terraced area is situated behind one of the goals, whereas the other end of the ground, where the turnstiles are situated, also houses the club shop. In one corner of the ground is a wonderful refreshment room which echoes the past. In another corner is Barons Sports and Social Club (licensed bar and function room). 

The match saw 5th place Burscough take on 7th placed Spennymoor Town in what promised to be an evenly contested encounter. The first half certainly accorded with this, but after the break the visitors gradually asserted themselves as they sensed the points were there for the taking. Shane Henry made the initial breakthrough with a curling shot from the edge of the box in the 52nd minute. The points were secured for Spennymoor when Liam Henderson added a second in the 71st minute. The match was well refereed on a difficult playing surface. 

Burscough FC has submitted a planning application to build a new stadium. The new venue will be located 100 yards from the current site which does look to be in need of some tender loving care. That said Victoria Park is a classic old ground with quirky charm. The refreshment room has an aura about it that can never be replicated. There are good financial reasons why the club has to move to the new venue. This Pieman is grateful to have visited Victoria Park whilst the opportunity exists.

Attendance: 205
Admission: £4:00
Programme: £2:00 (40 pages)
Tea: £1:00
Steak Pie: £1:50

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Qarabağ FK

Qarabağ FK 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1 - UEFA Europa League, Group Stage

Baku is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. Baku is located 92 feet below sea level, which makes it the lowest lying national capital in the world and also the largest city in the world located below sea level. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. On 28 April 1920, the 11th Red Army invaded Baku and reinstalled the Bolsheviks, making Baku the capital of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. The city underwent many major changes. As a result, Baku played a great role in many branches of the Soviet life. Since about 1921, the city was headed by the Baku City Executive Committee, commonly known in Russian as Bakgorispolkom. Together with the Baku Party Committee (known as the Baksovet), it developed the economic significance of the Caspian metropolis. From 1922 to 1930, Baku was the venue for one of the major Trade fairs of the Soviet Union, serving as a commercial bridgehead to Iran and the Middle East. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Baku embarked on a process of restructuring on a scale unseen in its history. Thousands of buildings from the Soviet period were demolished to make way for a green belt on its shores; parks and gardens were built on the land reclaimed by filling up the beaches of the Baku Bay. Baku's largest industry is petroleum, and its petroleum exports make it a large contributor to Azerbaijan's balance of payments.

Qarabağ Futbol Klubu, is an Azerbaijani football club from Aghdam, but based in Baku since 1993 due to the Nagorno-Karabakh war, playing in the Azerbaijan Premier League. Qarabağ were founding members of the Azerbaijan Premier League in 1992. A season later they won their first league championship, becoming the first non-Baku based club to win the Azerbaijan Premier League title. The crest on the club emblem is the symbol of the Karabakh. It is based on the Karabakh horse. The horse stems from the club's nickname The Horsemen. 

The Tofiq Bahramov Stadium was built in 1951. Its construction started before World War II in 1939, but was suspended. When its construction resumed, it was finished by German prisoners of war. Initially the stadium was named after Joseph Stalin. After the 20th denunciation of Stalin, it was renamed after Vladimir Lenin. In 1993, the stadium was named after the famous football referee Tofiq Bahramov who died in the same year. In the 1966 World Cup Final, with the score at 2–2 and after 11 minutes of the first period of extra time, Geoff Hurst of England fired a shot on goal which bounced off the crossbar sharply downwards, hit the ground, and then spun backwards away from the goal. There were some moments of indecision by the referee before he noticed that Bahramov, who was the linesman at that end of the ground, was signalling to him. Eventually, a goal was awarded to England, who went on to win the game 4–2. In 2011, the Presidential Reserve Fund of the State Budget of Azerbaijan for 2011 allocated $10 million for capital repairs and reconstruction of the stadium as it could be used as potential venue for Eurovision Song Contest 2012. The stadium was renovated and reopened on 16 August 2012. The stadium was also one of the venues for the group stages of the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.

My journey involved flying to Baku via Istanbul. Leaving Gatwick mid-afternoon and with an eventual time difference of four hours, it was around 6:00am when I arrived at my hotel. After some limited sleep to top up that available on the flights, it was time to explore Baku. The first point of call was the stadium. Our taxi driver had convinced himself that we were part of an official party and drove us through security into the main stadium complex. We arrive pitch side just as a UEFA delegation were being given what appeared to be a routine match day tour to inspect the facilities.

Having used this opportunity to take an abundance of daylight photographs and purchase an additional match ticket (cost the equivalent of around £1:30 - the 75p tickets had sold out!) we used the metro (150 yards from the stadium) to head back to the old town area of Baku. At the Four Seasons hotel (the team were staying at this rather grand establishment) Mauricio Pochettino was briefing representatives of the English press. After this session he graciously spent time with my eager companions, having a photograph taken with them. He also asked about Adam Carne's replica 1953 (West Brom style) Spurs shirt. Fair play to Spurs chairman Daniel Levy who also obliged with photographs.

Adam is a much traveled football supporter and has attended 4 World Cup Finals and 17 European Cup Finals. He said that of all the places he has visited, Baku (he had previously been there to watch England) was the most transformed between visits. This I can believe as certain areas have clearly benefited from investment from oil money. The local beer is relatively cheap but reasonably high in quality and there were a few opportunities to sample this product.

Prior to entering the stadium, we wandered around outside and the previously stated West Brom shirt was attracting the attention of vast numbers of the home support. The stadium is similar to many encountered on previous European jaunts. An athletics track surrounded by a bowl of seating. The view, even from the cheaper areas is good and unhindered. The weather was kind and throughout the 90 minutes Tottenham Hotspur were never really troubled by the home side. Qarabağ actually were more of a threat to Spurs in the corresponding match at White Hart Lane. On this occasion, Harry Kane's strike was enough for Spurs to claim the three points and confirm progress to the knockout stages of the competition. The following morning saw the commencement of my return journey, again via Istanbul. I eventually arrived back at Gatwick mid-afternoon

Adam Carne's shirt





Attendance: 28,000
Admission: Free (courtesy of Tottenham Hotspur)
Programme: Free (16 pages - not widely distributed) 

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Tottenham Hotspur FC

Tottenham Hotspur U18 2 West Ham United U18 1 - U18 Premier League

There has been a settlement at Tottenham for over a thousand years. It grew up along the old Roman road, Ermine Street (some of which is part of the present A10 road), and between High Cross and Tottenham Hale, the present Monument Way. When the Domesday Book was compiled in 1086, about 70 families lived within the area of the manor, mostly labourers working for the Lord of the Manor. A humorous poem entitled the Tournament of Tottenham, written around 1400, describes a mock-battle between peasants vying for the reeve's daughter. The River Lea was the eastern boundary between the Municipal Boroughs of Tottenham and Walthamstow. It is the ancient boundary between Middlesex and Essex and also formed the western boundary of the Viking controlled Danelaw. Today it is the boundary between the London Boroughs of Haringey and Waltham Forest. A major tributary of the Lea, the River Moselle, also crosses the borough from west to east, and often caused serious flooding until it was mostly covered in the 19th century. Tottenham cake is a sponge cake baked in large metal trays, covered either in pink icing or jam (and occasionally decorated with shredded desiccated coconut). Tottenham Cake "was originally sold by the baker Henry Chalkley, who was a Quaker, at the price of one old penny, with smaller mis-shaped pieces sold for half an old penny." The pink colouring was derived from mulberries found growing at the Tottenham Friends burial ground.

The football club was formed in 1882, as Hotspur FC and played in the Southern League from 1896 until 1908, when they were elected into the Football League Second Division. Before this promotion Tottenham had won the FA Cup in 1901, making them the only non-League club to (or likely to) do so since the formation of the Football League. Since then, Tottenham have won the FA Cup a further seven times, the Football League twice, the Football League Cup four times, the UEFA Cup twice and also the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. The Cup Winners' Cup victory in 1963 made Tottenham the first English team to win a UEFA competition. In 1960–61 they became the first team to complete The Double in the 20th century.

Hotspur Way in Enfield, Tottenham Hotspur’s new state of the art training complex was opened in late 2012, and is widely recognised as one of the best training facilities of its type in Europe. Built on 77 acres, the new Training Centre has been designed with environmental protection and sustainability in mind. The focus has been on enhancing and reinstating key features of the local environment including restoring historic hedgerows and field boundaries as well as significant additional planting, an organic kitchen garden and orchard. The Club has planted over 150 new and semi-mature trees and thousands of new plants, hedges and flowers across the site in order to establish and enhance the ecological habitat. An attenuation pond has been installed to establish a wetland and intermittent wetland habitat with natural plant and wildlife, which is also designed to control the flow of water off site through the historic restored sleuss gate.

With the first team not playing until Sunday, this Pieman decided it was time to make a first visit to Hotspur Way. My journey was very straightforward I caught the train from Cheshunt to Turkey Street (5 minutes). On leaving the station I followed Turkey Street up to the A10 and used the underpass, continuing along Turkey Street to the junction with Bulls Cross Road. Turning right at the historic Middleton House it took less than a further ten minutes to reach the Hotspur Way facility, which is situated behind Middleton House.

It was already raining quite heavily so the opportunity to shelter in the Reception area of the main building was not to be declined. I was very impressed with the site and the efforts the club have made to make the environment pleasing on the eye. My brief introduction to the surrounds left a lasting positive impression and the knowledge that the club is sharing the facilities with the local community through numerous initiatives is to be commended. Refreshments were available from a decent looking retro van with hot and cold drinks also obtainable from vending machines in the main block.

The main pitch is conveniently the nearest to the building and many of the gathered spectators left it until just before kick-off to brave the elements. It rained constantly throughout the match and despite attempts to keep dry it was always going to be an uphill task, at times the precipitation was horizontal which meant those with umbrellas and the rest of us were being attacked from the side! The playing surface was superb and held up well throughout a keenly contested derby. West Ham with the wind supporting their first half efforts took the lead through Akinola but were pegged back before the break when Dinzeyi levelled with a great header.

It was very wet throughout the match

The second period saw a tremendous tussle and Spurs clinched the points when Brown notched the winner. The visitors will be disappointed not to get anything from this match and frustration towards the end saw Dobson (who?) dismissed for something said. After the final whistle Sylvestre was rewarded with the same punishment for a similar offence. At this point I was able to hotfoot it back to Turkey Street station in less than 20 minutes to easily catch the 13:17 service to Cheshunt. A very enjoyable adventure if a tad wetter than preferred!

Admission: Free
Programme: No (team sheets distributed)
Refreshments: Catering van and vending machines


Subsequent visits to Hotspur Way

21 November 2015 - Tottenham Hotspur U18 2 Southampton U18 1 - U18 Premier League
28 November 2015 - Tottenham Hotspur U18 2 Aston Villa U18 3 - U18 Premier League

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Shirebrook Town FC

Shirebrook Town 4 Lincoln Moorlands Railway 1 - Northern Counties East League, Division One

Shirebrook is a town in the Bolsover district of north-east Derbyshire on the border with Nottinghamshire. Shirebrook once had three railway stations. The last remaining station was on the Midland Railway (later part of the LMS) route from Nottingham to Worksop via Mansfield, and was originally known as Shirebrook West, despite being on the eastern edge of the town. The route lost its passenger services in October 1964, leaving Mansfield as one of the largest towns in the UK without a station, but the line remained opened as a goods route. On the site of the goods yard a diesel locomotive fuelling depot was opened in the mid 1960s. The station was re-opened in 1998 for the new Robin Hood Line services from Nottingham to Worksop. A wagon repair and manufacturing business have a rail link with the main line. Notable former residents of Shirebrook include Sir John Hurt, who lived in Shirebrook until aged five when his father was the vicar of Holy Trinity Parish Church, Hollywood actor Jason Statham and Ray Wilson, a member of the England 1966 World Cup-winning football team.

The football club was founded in 1985 as Shirebrook Colliery, and joined the Central Midlands League. In 1985–86 they won the Senior Division, and were promoted to Division One. In their first season in Division One, they finished second and were promoted to the Premier Division. In 1993 the club changed its name to Shirebrook Town. They won the Supreme Division of the Central Midlands League in 2000–01, but were not promoted due to ground grading issues. The following season they won the league again, and this time were promoted to the First Division of the Northern Counties East League. After finishing as runners-up in their first season, they were not promoted again due to ground issues. However, the following season (2003–04) they won Division One, and were promoted to the Premier Division, where they remained until 2010. The club was relegated back to Division One at the end of the 2009–10 season. 

A Tuesday evening jaunt to Langwith Road saw a late afternoon arrival at the ground. Being allowed a short opportunity to access the ground at the time was a bonus and facilitated some daylight photographs. This in turn allowed plenty of time to explore the town consisting of old buildings reflecting an earlier mining history mixed with newly built dwellings more akin with current society. I was also able to spend some time at The Gate where real ale from the Nottingham based Castle Rock Brewery is available and was enjoyed.

The railway station is very close to Langwith Road and for a midweek fixture, without too many delays, the 21:41 service to Nottingham or even better, the 21:47 service to Worksop, are conveniently timed. There is a social club outside the ground, which I assume is open at times other than when there is a football match being staged.

There are two covered seated stands along one side of the ground. Along the opposite side is a building which houses the hospitality area for directors and visiting officials and a general refreshment area where this Pieman enjoyed a delicious chip cob. The remainder of this side contains a shallow covered standing area, half of which was out of action for this match, although it was hard to see why. At one end of the ground there is just flat hard standing with similar at the other end which also incorporates the changing facilities (opened by Ray Wilson in 2004) and toilet block.

I will admit to being a bit confused at first as to the identity of the teams. The corner flags were orange and so I decided that the team wearing that colour was Shirebrook Town. Accordingly, I was a little surprised to see what I thought was bottom placed Lincoln Moorlands Railway, race into a two goal lead. It was some time later that I realised the match was going to form and it was in fact the away team that were attired in Orange. Shirebrook Town are having a decent season and had won their previous match 4-1.

At half time the home side had established a 3-1 lead and a further goal ensured a repeat of the previous result. The admission price of £4:00 represents extremely good value for senior football and the catering on offer at the ground, along with the friendly welcome received, added up to a decent evening out.

Attendance: 79
Admission: £4:00
Programme: £1:00 (16 pages)
Tea: 50p
Chip Cob: £1:25

Thursday, October 01, 2015

AS Monaco

AS Monaco 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1 - UEFA Europa League, Group Stage

The Principality of Monaco is a sovereign city-state and microstate, located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. France borders the country on three sides while the other side borders the Mediterranean Sea. Monaco is governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. Although Prince Albert II is a constitutional monarch, he wields immense political power. The House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco, with brief interruptions, since 1297. The official language is French, but Monégasque, Italian, and English are widely spoken and understood. The state has no income tax, low business taxes, and is well known for being a tax haven. Monaco is not formally a part of the European Union, but it participates in certain EU policies, including customs and border controls. Since 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix has been held annually in the streets of Monaco. It is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. The erection of the Circuit de Monaco takes six weeks to complete and the removal after the race takes another three weeks. The circuit is incredibly narrow and tight and its tunnel, tight corners and many elevation changes make it perhaps the most demanding Formula One track.

Association Sportive de Monaco Football Club was founded in 1924 and plays in Ligue 1, the top tier of French football. The club's traditional colours are red and white, and the club is known as Les Rouges et Blancs. The team plays its home matches at the Stade Louis II in Fontvieille. Monaco played at the original Stade Louis II since its construction in 1939. In 1985, the stadium was replaced with the current iteration, built on a nearby site consisting of land reclaimed from the Mediterranean, which has become a recurring feature of the stadium's seaside surroundings. The stadium is named after the former Prince of Monaco Louis II and houses a total of 18,500 supporters. In December 2011, 66.67% of the club was sold to the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev while the club were bottom of Ligue 2.

An early evening flight from Heathrow was delayed due to congestion. The eventual arrival at Nice still enabled me to buy a ticket and catch the last direct coach service to Monaco. Although not as cheap as the train, the driver was asking passengers where they wanted to be dropped off. Accordingly my hotel was in sight when I disembarked!

The following morning after breakfast, I took a stroll over to the stadium. Although it was not possible to gain access to the ground, I was able to take some photographs of the outside. Not long afterwards, match programmes were available from the Ticket Office. These secured and safely deposited back at the hotel, I was then able to explore further.

Having visited the harbours and viewed some rather expensive boats, I took the opportunity to visit Brasserie de Monaco. This versatile establishment brews beer on the premises. For journalistic research purposes, this Pieman was obliged to sample all three of the brews available. Specifically these were Blanche (4.8%), Blonde (5.2%) and my favourite Ambre (5.7%). Refreshed, it was soon time to collect my match ticket and head off to the match.

I had seen the Stade Louis II on television a number of times and have to say that in "real life" it did not appear as impressive as it did on the small screen. The all seated stadium is covered, with exception of the majority of the area given to the away support.  It rained constantly throughout the match and the majority of the English fans managed to get under cover in the corner of the section. The match was a fairly tame affair with Spurs failing to add to a first half lead and succumbing to a late leveller for the French side.

The following morning it was not possible to catch the train to Nice as had been my intention. Apparently there had been "rocks on the line". It had been raining heavily all night and the adverse weather conditions were making it very difficult to move about. In the end Nice was reached by bus (a slow one) and all were glad to get there. The opportunity to explore Nice was lost to the torrential rain. Instead I opted for a leisurely lunch and sat through the previous evening's Europa League extravaganza between Rubin Kazan and Bordeaux (0-0) It was ironic to hear that the weather at home and been very good whereas the South of France was less so. This Pieman was glad to get back to a dry England!

Attendance: 7,216
Admission: 22 Euros
Programme: Free (8 pages)

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Bray Wanderers FC

Bray Wanderers 0 Cork City 0 - League of Ireland, Premier Division

Bray is a town in north County Wicklow, Ireland. It is a busy urban centre and seaside resort, with a population of 31,872 making it the ninth largest urban area in Ireland at the 2011 census. It is situated about 12 miles south of Dublin on the east coast. The town straddles the Dublin-Wicklow border, with a portion of the northern suburbs situated in County Dublin. Bray's scenic location and proximity to Dublin make it a popular destination for tourists and day-trippers from the capital. Bray is home to Ireland's only film studios, Ardmore Studios, hosting Irish and international productions for film, television and advertising. Some light industry is located in the town, with business and retail parks concentrated largely on its southern periphery. Bray town centre has a range of shops serving the consumer needs of the surrounding area. Commuter links between Bray and Dublin are provided by rail, Dublin Bus and the M11 and M50 motorways. The River Dargle which enters the sea at the north end of Bray rises from a source near Kippure, in the Wicklow Mountains. Bray Head is situated at the southern end of the famous Victorian promenade with paths leading to the summit and along the sea cliffs. The rocks of Bray Head are a mixture of greywackes and quartzite. The large concrete cross at the summit provides a notable landmark on the east coast and is a major attraction for locals and visitors. 

In 1922, some members of St Kevin's Gaelic football club in Bray left the club as a result of a dispute and formed a soccer club called Bray Wanderers. They won the Miller Cup, which at the time was one of the most prestigious junior cups in the country, in 1927–28. In 1950–51 Wanderers won the FAI Junior Cup, defeating Drogheda United 2–1. Wanderers also reached the Leinster Junior Final that season, but were defeated by Rathfarnham in the final. Wanderers won the Junior Cup again in 1953–54. The following season Wanderers left the AUL and joined the Leinster Senior league. Bray Wanderers were elected to the League of Ireland when it was expanded to two Divisions for the 1985–86 season. They played their first game as a League of Ireland club on 8 September 1985 in a FAI League Cup match against Dundalk with Jim Mahon having the honour of notching the Seagulls' first goal at senior level. The Wanderers' secured promotion to the Premier Division by winning the League of Ireland First Division Championship that year. They were relegated back down to the First Division in the 1987–88 season. Wanderers did not regain Premier Division status until the 1990–91 season but had their first major success during their spell in the First Division. They won the FAI Cup in 1990 beating St. Francis 3–0 in the first Lansdowne Road final with John Ryan becoming only the second player to score a hat-trick in a FAI Cup final. They made history by becoming the first ever First Division side to win the trophy. Due to this success, Wanderers competed in European competition for the first time in their history in the 1990–91 season. They were defeated, however, by Trabzonspor in the European Cup Winners' Cup preliminary round.

On arrival at Dublin Airport, a 24 hour Tourist Leap Card (Dublin’s equivalent of Oyster) was purchased for €10. This covers all travel On buses, trains and trams within the wider Dublin area. The X747 express bus from the airport costs €6 each way and this also covered the DART train to /from Bray. There is a 72 hour version costing less than €20. All in all extremely good value. After some obligatory Guinness in town, it was time to head out to Bray.

From Connolly Station, the DART service follows the coast south towards County Wicklow, the journey to Bray taking around 40 minutes. The Carlisle Grounds is situated immediately behind the railway station. However, before venturing over to this venue, an opportunity was taken to visit The Porterhouse Inn. At this fine establishment this Pieman enjoyed Porterhouse Red (4.4%) – possibly the best ale I have tasted in Ireland.

The Carlisle Grounds boasts only one covered area for spectators. This seated main stand runs almost the full length of the pitch. There is also a large uncovered seated area running the full length of the pitch on the opposite side. A flat standing area is situated behind the goal at the Quinsboro Road end of the ground. This is also where the turnstiles are located along with the club shop, catering facilities and toilets. The opposite end of the ground is not available to spectators. The changing rooms are located at this end adjacent to a grassed area and some cars were parked immediately behind this space.

A delicious snack of chips in curry sauce was enjoyed prior to the match. The sauce was quirky in that it contained large chunks of pepper and other ingredients – very nice indeed! The travelling support from Cork was in good voice during the first period of the match willing their side on. I believe it fair to say that the standard in this league is not particularly high compared to senior non-league football in England. However, there was plenty of effort and commitment shown by both teams. In the end, for the second successive Saturday, this Pieman witnessed a goal free encounter. That said there was a good friendly atmosphere in the ground as indeed there was throughout Bray and Dublin.

Programme: €3
Tea: €2
Chips in Curry Sauce: €4