My First Ireland Match – A 14 Year Old’s Memory

With the lack of sports events being on and being postponed until at least the 4th of April and The Republics of Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Slovakia due to take place on the 26th set to be postponed as well due to Coronavirus I thought it would be nice to think of something positive so I am going to share my experience of going to my first Ireland match in 2013.

The day was Friday the 22nd of March 2013 4 days before I would attend my first Republic of Ireland football match in Lansdowne Road against Austria. I was watching The Boys in Green take on Sweden on the tv, the game was in Stockholm and would end a stalemate but I was really excited for Tuesday because I would get to see the team play and be with the Irish fans that I could hear on the tv, even watching the game on the tv was amazing. The atmosphere sounded electric as I could hear the Irish fans singing their hearts out until the final whistle was blown.

Tuesday finally came and I was only 7 and I was really excited as I was walking up to the stadium the buzz was electric and I wasn’t even inside the stadium at that point and I could smell all the burger and chip vans and I could hear and see all the fans walking into the stadium already singing. As I walked into the stadium I picked up my matchday programme from the same place I still pick it up from today and I ran up the few flights of stairs before arriving at my section as I started to see the windows showing the pitch and the whole stadium, I was getting very excited as I walked down the steps and looked out onto the pitch to see the players warming up. After a while the teams had went back in and came back out all ready for the match as they walked out the whole stadium was rocking with the fans going mental cheering our team out onto the pitch and the whole stadium and I sang Amhran Na bFhiann out loud and proud.

The game kicked off and it was time to concentrate on the result but soon after the game started the whole stadium went quiet besides a couple of Austrian fans cheering as Austria went  0-1 up 10 minutes into the game thanks to Martin Harnik. The game was very good and it was a great experience to see really good players such as David Alaba, Robbie Keane and John O’Shea play and Ireland kept pressing after they conceded and the game was very high quality and fast moving and Ireland were rewarded for their hard work after Jon Walters scored a penalty just 15 minutes later and the crowd went wild and I was delighted jumping up and down celebrating and hugging my dad. I would celebrate even more just 20 minutes later when Walters found the net for the 2nd time in the game with a wonderful goal just before half time.

Republic of Ireland’s James McClean and Austria’s Gyorgy Garics tussle during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland.

It was a great first half and I was really happy and I was enjoying myself and I settled in quite quickly as I loved the atmosphere and the buzz around the place and the smell of the food and the noise of the Irish fans singing passionately until the end and I had seen that on the tv the Friday before the game and now I could join in. I was really enjoying myself and the rest of the game was really intense as the Austrians kept pressing and I knew how good a player world class star David Alaba was as I had watched him on the tv playing for Bayern Munich in the Champions League and I was worried when he got a free kick in the last few moments of the game and it wasn’t a surprise when it went in and rescued a 2-2 draw for Austria. 

Republic of Ireland’s Shane Long (right) and Austria’s Aleksander Dragovic in action during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland.

I was obviously gutted along with the rest of the stadium as we had deserved the win after holding on nearly the whole game but besides the result it was a great first game to go to and I felt at home straight away as the atmosphere was and still is great today and I am still going to the home matches today as I am a season ticket holder with the Ballybrack Seagulls supporters club and I have been lucky enough to have even been to some away games as well even the Euros in 2016 and the Seagulls have so many nice people with the same interest Irish football and I feel at home when I am with them as we go on some trips to other countries besides Ireland matches as well but that’s a story for another day. For any kid or adult that likes football or wants a hobby and has an interest in football I would advise you to try out an Ireland football game in Lansdowne Road because the atmosphere and buzz is great no matter what the result is as we have the best fans in the world. Hopefully The Republic of Ireland have a good year and do well and qualify for the Euros when and if the games are on in the next few months.  #COYBIG 

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