Game 34

Drogheda 0-1 Dundalk

I think I can safely speak for everyone when I say that this season has been bananas. Here we are, two games to go, after absolutely everything that has happened this year, in a position to maybe, possibly, incredibly, get ourselves back into Europe.

I know what you’re saying and yes we still have to beat our bogey team on Sunday but there is a possibility we could be dusting off the passports next summer!

There’s also the chance that results don’t go our way and even if we do win our last two matches we still might not make Europe but to be honest, when avoiding the relegation playoff has been the goal for the past few months its just a relief to be thinking of something else for a change.

Oh yeah, I should also point out that there’s a chance we still end up in the relegation playoff too. Two games to go, we could be in a relegation playoff or in Europe. Bananas.

Last night was the first time I’ve been in Head In The Game Park for a while, obviously as it was for us all. But it was the first time I’ve stood in the away section since, I think, the Buttimer semi final. I would normally sit in the mini stand next to the away section because I like to be able to see the game I’ve just paid money to see.

That semi final keeps coming back to me, along with a trip to Tolka to play Shels and the would be title decider in Inchicore from Stephen Kenny’s first season.

Nothing was expected of that team. Kenny himself had just come from a disappointing spell with ‘them’ and had assembled a rag tag bunch of misfits that no one expected anything from. When remembering that first season it’s obviously important to remember the desolation of the season previous.

Save Our Club, relegation play offs, on the brink of extinction. Browne and Connolly arrived, Kenny rolled into town and the adventure began.

What was undeniable from the 2nd half of Kenny’s first season was the momentum that the players, the club and the fans created. Every game seemed like an event.

Massive crowds, massive noise, it was a club and a fan base finding it’s feet again. It struck me last night at Head In The Game Park that it feels like that type of momentum is back.

COVID restrictions are gone. We can fill stadiums and fans all around the country are finding their feet again which is leading to absolutely cracking atmospheres at almost every game.

But it’s more than post COVID for Dundalk fans. We’re still embroiled in a battle for the future of the club. We still don’t know what lies ahead or in who’s hands that future resides but the fans are creating momentum.

We’re all blue in the face talking about the issues around the squad and players leaving and contracts and all the noise but at every single match the fans have been creating an electric atmosphere.

That atmosphere has been created from a love for the football club, from wanting to support the players on the pitch, the manager in the dugout. It’s also in defiance of what we can all see, in defiance of all that you and I know is wrong at the club.

This club would be nothing without it’s supporters. The life blood of the football club. They’ve been showing everyone for weeks now what Stefan McKevitt told me was true. The Fans are the Jenga piece.

I hate to be the one to bring this up. But I’m going to.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to build on this momentum? To sign some of these players to new contracts? To sort out the sale of the club? To have the club back in the hands of local owners? To build on the connection between the club and it’s fans?

Is that too much to ask?

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