Huge numbers of football fans around the country spend the summer times lamenting the lack of football to watch during the off season.
There are complaints that the current Copa America matches are too late for many to stay up and watch.
The Women’s World Cup has received little coverage on these shores, largely as a result of Ireland not qualifying. Some have been following the U21 European Championships to try and follow some of the Premier League’s bright young talent. In all of this one source of footballing entertainment has been unfairly ignored by many, the Eircom League. While many football fans in this country tend to turn to Europe’s top leagues to provide entertainment and spectacle throughout the season but not enough look closer to home for their spectating needs.
Far from the summer being devoid of accessible football it is in fact the perfect time to indulge in some local summer football, at Eircom League grounds around the country. Local football authorities and advocates have long struggled against the lure of the Premier League but summer football means that fans can have the best of both worlds, as well as giving a boost to local football. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Eircom league games are competitive, affordable, and well worth a visit. Following the Eircom League from home is also easier than ever with the FAI and RTE agreeing a 4 season deal to cover up to 78 Eircom League games last year.
There is an all too regular argument that the standard of Irish football is not high enough in comparison to other major leagues but the fact remains that without support the game in this country will struggle to grow in stature and quality. This in turn narrows the talent pool of the national side too. This argument also ignores the fact that there is some fantastic talent on offer in the Eircom League, as well as a great sense of community and support amongst fans at the games nationwide, not to mention some serious local rivalries.
Irish fans with a more Premier League and International focus should realise that much of the Irish talent on show abroad and for the national team originated in the Eircom League. Fan favourite and figure of Eamon Dunphy’s adoration Wes Hoolahan won three league championships with Dublin side Shelbourne before moving across the water. Everton full back Seamus Coleman arrived at Goodison Park from Cork City and has since been lauded as one of the Premier League’s best value signings. Ireland legend Damien Duff has also stated that he is likely to be Eircom League bound in the near future and the league is already home to a number of former Ireland internationals such as Stephen McPhail and former Glasgow Celtic and Manchester United midfielder Liam Miller. On top of this several Irish teams are gearing up for UEFA Champion’s League and Europa league qualifying fixtures next month against European opposition.
So if you’re missing the Premier League, or watching Celtic play week in week out, why not get down to your local ground and take part in supporting fixtures from our own domestic league. Who knows you may be converted for life….
Documentary makers and operators of global football Youtube channel Copa90 have shared this documentary with us, highlighting the excitement and history involved in one such Eircom League fixture, Bohemians vs Shamrock Rovers.
Copa90 will also be filming a new documentary piece about the rise of Cork City and the build up to their upcoming first Europa League match against Icelandic side KR Reykjavik. If you feel you have something to contribute towards the upcoming Cork City documentary (a story about supporting the club, information on the club history etc) or if you would like to find out more feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your enquiries.
More footballing documentaries can be found on the Copa90 Youtube channel.