Ground: Oriel Park
Date: 20th July 2014
Match: Dundalk - Athlone Town 2-0 (Premier Division)
Attendance: 1 597
Normally there aren´t any matches being played in Ireland on Sundays. Three clubs playing 2nd round qualifying matches in the Europa League on Thursday evening gave me reason hoping I would have a game on Sunday as well though. Sligo and Derry had their matches postponed but Dundalk re-arranged their game against Athlone Town for Sunday evening. Staying in Cork it was a bit of travelling for me but shortly before 5pm I was in Dundalk. For the reasonable price of 40 Euros I had a booked a B&B in Dundalk. This B&B was only a 7-minute walk from the station so no long walk for me. Oriel Park, the home of Dundalk, was then only a 10-minute walk from where I stayed meaning I couldn´t complain over the logistics in Dundalk. Kick-off was at 19.00 and an hour before kick-off I was outside the ground. Having no idea what the ground would look like I was positively surprised. Oriel Park is what I would call a "groundhopping ground", unique and a bit strange-looking. The seated main stand is quite steep and runs for about half the length of the pitch. On either side of the main stand there are open seats. The far has a small covered seated stand while both ends are open. The overall capacity of Oriel Park is 4 500.
I watched Cork City on Friday evening and after their 2-1 win over UCD they went top of the table. If Dundalk were to win this evening they could go top on goal-difference. Dundalk played quite well in the second half and were 2-0 up at half-time. The second half was of lower quality than the first and no goals were scored in the last 45 minutes. 1 597 (excluding 10 away fans) left Oriel Park in a good mood knowing their team are back at the top of the Irish Premier Division. I was in a good mood too, my fourth match on this trip and I am starting to like watching football in Ireland. No hassle with tickets, interesting grounds and football of decent quality. Tomorrow I go back to Dublin, Shamrock vs Cork for me then. It will also be the chance to meet up with some other groundhoppers.
Oriel Park, rear of the North Stand
Entrance, away fans
A closer look at the North Stand
Away section (western part of the north side)
Players entering the pitch
View of play
Dundalk fans (eastern part of the north side)
View of play
After the match