No Last Dance

FAI Cup: Game 5

St Pats 3-1 Dundalk

So that’s that then. No Mad Max Fury Road style exodus from the town to the Aviva stadium. No flooding the barely open bars with Black and White scarves and jerseys. No confident march towards the national stadium on a national stage.

Six finals in a row is a monumental achievement when you consider how unlucky you can be in football. The last two semi finals Dundalk have been knocked out in have been the Buttimer semi final in Drogheda of which we will never speak of and now the ‘luck’ of the draw had us away to St Pats.

Man of the match incidently should go to Conan Byrne for his spectacularly obvious ‘I’m giving St Pats a home tie’ style drawing of the balls in the draw.

In his post match comments Vinny Perth mentioned how he would love to have seen Michael Duffy, Patrick McEleney and who ever else ends up leaving sign off on the grandest stage of them all. A ‘Last Dance’ so to speak.

It would be fitting for those players who have given everything they have for the cause, for the shirt, for the town to end their journey at Lansdown Road. As much as we all hate to see them leave, there is absolutely no ill feeling from ourselves towards the boys who are leaving for pastures new and the reception they would have gotten, holding the FAI Cup aloft, would have been truly exceptional.

Alas, it won’t happen. Instead, incredibly, Duffy and McEleney will be signing off in Oriel against Derry and probably getting on their bus home with them after the game.

If this is to be the end of Vinny Perth’s 2nd run in charge, how fitting would it have been to sign off in the Aviva? Winning the one trophy he didn’t win as head coach of the club? Walking out of the Cup Final with every medal you can win in League of Ireland football.

Who knows what the future holds for Perth now? The new contract talks have disappeared, the exit talks have returned. It feels like the fan base would be happy for Vinny to return next season but we are, like he said he is too, completely in the dark.

I will actually mention one thing about the shambles that was the Buttimer semi final in Drogheda. There was an incredible atmosphere at that game. No one expected to be in a semi final that year, a team that had been cobbled together by Stephen Kenny. A club and a fan base reborn.

I always thought that would have been the most special cup final. The League win hadn’t arrived yet, there was a momentum that only a fucking tool of a referee could have derailed.

This season reminded me of that one. The fan base knows this is a watershed moment. We all know things are changing, they’re changing right in front of our eyes. The squad is being stripped and, not sold for parts, but just given away. All playing and coaching ties to that first semi final will likely be gone in 6 weeks and we all knew it.

To have one last chance. One last trip down the M1. One last reach for glory. One Last Dance. We all deserved it. The fans have been absolutely magnificent, aside from throwing flares on the pitch, can you for the love of god stop doing that?

The fan base deserved the chance to say goodbye to the greatest era in Dundalk fc’s history. The players deserved the chance to say their goodbyes on the greatest stage of them all. The manager deserved his shot at completing the set.

The owners didn’t. The owners blatant disregard for the future of this football club did not deserve these players, these fans bailing them out by winning an FAI Cup. The stadium would have been packed, the players would have given everything and we still wouldn’t have heard a thing from them.

They didn’t deserve to have this fanbase and those players lead them to one Last Dance. They’ve both effectively and incompetently done everything they can to prevent that.

I’m devastated that we’re not going to the Aviva because I think it would have topped all 6 of the previous finals.

The Last Dance has been mentioned a couple of times by people and I’ve mentioned it a couple of times here and it makes sense. Title winning team torn apart by ownership who think they know better than everyone else.

I won’t spoil the end of the show for any of you who haven’t watched it but spoiler alert, the Chicago Bulls don’t get relegated. Lets hope our Last Dance doesn’t end that way either.

Oh and do yourself a favour, don’t look at how many Championships the Bulls lost after ownership did their thing. It won’t make you feel any better.

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