Friday, 5 August 2011

Drogheda United - United Park

13th October 1991

Drogheda United v Shamrock Rovers

Way back in the early 1990s I discovered William Butler Yeats and fell in love (doesn’t everyone?) with much of his poetry, particularly the earlier work.  On a whim one day I called Aer Lingus and arranged a flight to Dublin, where I hired a car and set out for Sligo to do the Yeats country: Rosses Point, Glencar, Drumcliffe, Innisfree – all the usual places.  On the way back east to Dublin, after visiting the rather too-well reconstructed Newgrange burial mound, I made a little detour north to the town of Drogheda.  Highbrow culture is all very well, but what is the point of visiting a foreign country if you do not take in a football match?

Drogheda United’s ground back then was a neat if slightly run-down affair, not dissimilar to a number of lower league grounds in Scotland.  They were playing host to Dublin side Shamrock Rovers this particular afternoon.  I cannot remember the scoreline, or indeed much about the match itself.  In fact I recall my attention, for most of the second-half being drawn to the remarkably violent looking Gaelic football match being played on an adjacent field just outside the ground. 

Perusing the programme some years later I was surprised to note a familiar name amongst the visiting team line-up……...Vinny Arkins.  The chap had signed for St Johnstone just a few weeks after I had attended this match, although I have no recollection of him at all from the game itself.  He was only marginally less anonymous during his spell in Scotland, eventually returning to Eire after having managed to score just 11 goals in two seasons.    


United Park, Drogheda, Republic of Ireland in 1991.

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