Saturday’s Euro qualifier was my third visit to Dublin’s magnificent Aviva Stadium. A glorious greenhouse of a sporting venue that I appreciate more each time I see it – apart from the circuitous route to the away end behind the north goal. The good news of course is that whilst the Irish have a better national stadium than us, I think we have the better football team and the better chance of reaching Euro 2016. Hopefully. Maybe. Possibly.

The attached photos show second half action plus final whistle celebrations. As you can see, I didn’t have the best seat in the house with little elevation, the goal net, the tv camera and stewards all restricting the view. Well that’s my excuse for not spotting that the Ireland goal was offside – what is yours Nicola Rizzoli of Italy?

Being a sad groundhopper I also took time out to make a pilgrimage to Dalymount Park – home of Bohemians FC and venue for three Republic of Ireland-Scotland matches in the 1960s including our 3-0 World Cup Qualifying victory in 1961 when Jim Baxter had the likes of Pat Crerand and Billy McNeil for company as well as four other Ibrox teammates.

Scotland also played four British Home International matches at Dalymount Park before the partition of Ireland – winning three and drawing one. The stadium – which last staged an ROI international in 1990 – is in serious need of some TLC, however you can’t help but love a ground that still has four ‘subbuteo-style’ floodlight pylons. So what if it is a crumbling relic from the past, so are the Acropolis and the Collosseum!

Robert Marshall

First posted on Facebook June 18th, 2015