27th of July 2007 - 29th of July 2007
Bohemian FC - Sunderland
score: 0-1 (78' min Stern John 0-1)
At 12 noon Drew and Peur pick me up, and we leave by car to Eindhoven airport for a flight with Ryan Air. As usual with Nick's schedule we arrive way too early in Eindhoven, so there is plenty of time for a couple of Bavaria's (Peur switches quickly to Corona). This makes us a little late for boarding, so there's no three seats in a row left in the plane. We arrive in Dublin exactly as scheduled at 6.30 PM. Get straight into bus 747 and to the city centre. Nick has to text Jonathan that we are on our way so he can pick us up at the busstop. But there is trouble. Nick and Drew have no connection to a network, so no text to Jonathan. But luckily Nick has got a connection when we arrive in city centre, so a quick text message and wait for Jon in a nearby pub. After 15 minutes still no sign or text from Jonathan. Nick back to the busstop to see if he is waiting there and is also trying to phone him. Jonathan was still in the hostel and was starting too get a bit worried, but he would get to that pub immediatly (he didn't get the earlier text). Another 10 minutes later a phonecall from Jonathan. He couldn't find the pub. So Nick got outside again and they would meet at a huge needle (about 50 meters high) so there they finally met. Jon went with Nick in the pub and after a quick Guinness back to the hostel to drop our bags and then to the next pub where we would meet Dave, Dave and Chris. Also some time for Peur, Drew and Nick to get something to eat, cause they still haven't had dinner. Drop the bags in the hostel (Gogarty's) and straight into the pub to get something to eat, but first a new Guinness. Unfortunatly this pub didn't serve food anymore, so finish our Guinness and to the next pub. In the next pub another new Guinness and then see if we could get some food. But, no luck again. This could result in an early bed for the lads. But Jon had a brilliant idea. One of the members of Niall Quinn's consortium is the owner of a huge pub in the city centre. That would work out. So that was our next stop. There was a Sunderland flag proud above the entrance and Jon talked to someone of the barstaff. Sunderland supporters will get a special treatment there! So we got a huge plate with all kinds of small food. Wedges, shrimps and other delicious food was on it. Ofcourse everything with some garlic mayonaise so we had plenty of room around us for the whole night. For the rest of the night it became a sort of club-hopping. It didn't feel like being in Dublin. Everywhere too much loud shite music and no Irish live music. But the Guinness tasted good and time was flying, so around 1.30 AM we went back to the hostel, but of course after a nice kebab.
Around 7 AM Nick wakes up when he hears footsteps in the bedroom. Who is out of his bed for an early morning toilet visit? He looks straight into the eyes of a blonde girl who looks like she is not really awake. Obviously she doesn't know where she is. So she sits on Jonathan's bed and sleeps while sitting down. Peur takes Drew's camera and wants to take a photo. He says to Jon: "then you've got something to explain, boy". In the end we ask her to leave and she goes searching for a different (maybe even her own) room and we try to sleep for a couple of hours more. At 11 AM Jon takes us (after a shower session) to a little restaurant (Irie's) for a delicious breakfast. In the hostel it wasn't that good, said Jon, but here it was and the Lads are ready for a new long day. Nick and Drew have got good network connections again on their mobiles. It was an international network problem from KPN what was the problem (or was it a jealous Paddy who works for KPN mobile who turned the switch off?)
First of all: shopping! And it succeeded. A lot of tops, dvd's and toys were bought for the kids. We agreed to meet again in a pub at 3 PM, a quick Guinness again, bring the shopping bags to the hostel and then to the next pub for some food, the match starts at 7.45 PM. We get into a Belgian Beer Café where they don't serve Guinness ! Drew and Nick still want their stout (the brew their own there), but it was a huge disappointment. The food was fine, so after the food again back to the hostel for a sweater cause it had started to rain and than a walk to Bohemians ground. It was a long walk, so finally called for a taxi who drops us off near the ground where it is red and white all over. Another couple of Guinness in a pub there and off to the ground where the stand is uncoverd! But luckily it stops raining when we are inside the ground.
The match is a huge bummer. For about 80 minutes it is still 0-0. Highlights are some good defending headers from new defender Paul McShane who gets the nickname Micky Horswill from a couple of Mackems behind us. Another highlight is a terrible Wim Kieft alike miss from Michael Chopra who got the ball on the goalline, but still managed to put it against the crossbar and another chance he strikes against another Sunderland player while the Bohemians goalie was already down. Another highlight is a Dwight Yorke who is warming up on the touchline next to the Sunderland area, turns to the crowd and smiles to all camera's and takes the time for autographs. Class!
Finally a goal. It is the tall sub Stern John who gets earlier with his head to the ball than the Bohemian goalie who was out of the goal. As cynical as the crowd always is they start to sing "we're gonna win the league". Five minutes later another big chance for Stern John one on one with the goalkeeper, but he managed to miss this one so it stays 0-1. We have lost the other Lads, but from Jon's text we hear that they have already left to Temple bar. We follow after a burger-shop visit. We decide to go and look for some live Irish music and we get into the pub from our hostel (also Gogarty's) on the first floor where the band make themselves ready for a second set. Nick texts Jon that we stay in here and Jon texts back that he and the other Lads get into bed. After three nights the man with the hammer has arrived. We enjoy ourselves and see three musicians and songs like "Brown Eyed Girl, Whiskey in the Jar, 500 miles en Dirty Old Town" (what other nice band plays all these songs again?) played with an acoustic guitar, uillean pipes and a fiddle. Very good! They enjoy themselves as well and their jokes in between two songs are great. There are also some surprises in the songs lik the legendary "My lovely horse" from the tv-series Father Ted. Drew needs a good toilet visit, so he asks for the key to get into the hostel. And he comes back with Jonathan who joins us for another night out. A good choice, cause it is a great night out. Some Irish dancers join in, the Guinness and Corona's taste very good and at 2.30 AM they stop serving and we get next door into our hostel.
This time no strange things in our room. At 11 AM another breakfast at Irie's and at noon we have to get the bus to the airport to be on time for check in. It looked again that we left too early, but we needed that time. The bus couldn't drive fast as there were to quarter-finals of the hurling cup who were played in Dublin. The city centre was crowded with hurling-fans from Limerick, County Clare, Waterford and Cork. Every fan wore his/hers favourite teams shirt! A great view. At the airport it was also very busy and everywhere a que for about half an hour (at check-in/customs and boarding), but we were right on time. Four Spanish tourists weren't who missed their flight in the gate next to ours.....
After a nasty flight with lots of humping and bumping in the air we landed at 6.30 PM at Eindhoven where we got into Drew's Volvo who took us to Hillegom and where we were delivered home at 8 PM.
(written by Nick)