Shamrock Rovers v Bohemian FC

These two first met in January 1915 in a Leinster Senior Cup game – and Europe was at war.

The game, staged at Dalymount Park, finished 3–0 to Bohemian FC the club from the north of Dublin.

Like a football match the year of 1915 in Dublin saw a city of two halves, unsurprising given the Victorian era had ended not much more than a decade earlier.

Like in lots of British urban areas Dublin was a city of haves and have not’s, and for some military conscription was the only realistic option given the instability of employment.

Starting in 1914, this war to end all wars was supposed to have been over by Christmas of that year. But by the turn of the year it was still happening and up to 150,000 Irish men had joined. 

Despite the gathering cloud of war sport was still flourishing in Dublin.

Through organizations such as The Gaelic Athletic Association, Irish music and sport were flourishing with the Irish national consciousness being awakened – something that would come to a head on Easter Sunday 1916. 

Shamrock Rovers v Bohemian FC

Tallaght Stadium, Dublin

SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division match

Friday 29th March 2024

7.45pm KO

Shamrock Rovers originated from Ringsend, a Southside inner suburb.

The name of the club derives from Shamrock Avenue in Ringsend, where the first club rooms were and where the inaugural club football committee met.

The club fell into the abyss for a number of years but in 1921, Shamrock Rovers were resurrected once more reaching the final of the inaugural FAI Cup and joining the new League of Ireland in 1922.

Bohemian FC were founded on 6 September 1890 at the gate lodge near Phoenix Park.

The club were founded by members of Bell’s Academy, medical students at the the Royal Hibernian Military School (a school for orphaned children of members of the British armed forces in Ireland).

They were one of the founding members of the League of Ireland in 1921, after their withdrawal from the Irish Football League.

Both Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians established themselves as major forces within the first 15 years of the League of Ireland, winning a number of titles and kicking off a rivalry that has lasted to this day.

While Dalymount Park is regarded as one of the true homes of Irish football large crowds are now a thing of the past.

Both clubs attracted relatively large crowds in the 1980’s and during the 1990’s, but the attendances at the derby fixture have generally followed the same downwards sliding trend that has followed the League of Ireland for many years.

A significant drop in crowds has also happened due to Shamrock Rovers leaving its traditional Milltown home. Something that meant that Shamrock Rovers effectively become a homeless club.

A resurgence in interest in the game has occurred largely due to Rovers’ move to the municipal Tallaght Stadium in the south west of the Irish capital. This, together with Bohs’ and Rovers status as regular League of Ireland champions, has meant that attendances at the game have often doubled the previous encounter.

This particular derby proved to be a record breaker.

Shamrock Rovers made it five successive home wins over Bohemians, easily sweeping aside Bohemians with a strong second-half performance.

The 10,094 crowd in Tallaght Stadium was the largest attendance for a league game in Ireland since 2000 – the sell out signs on the stadium entrance going up a few hours before kick off with not a single seat available come kick off.

The consolation goal for Bohemians was small change for the visiting fans in what was the last action of the game.

It told the story of a club way off the pace in the second half of the fixture.

At times it looked as if it would turn into a disaster but for the outstanding performance of the visitors number one.

At the start of this article it was mentioned that Dublin in 1915 was a case of ‘have and have nots’.

Step forward to 2024 and its much the same at the Tallaght Stadium if this derby match is anything to go by. Shamrock Rovers have won the title for the last four seasons and Bohemians have run them close only once.

Shamrock Rovers have been in the group stages of UEFA football but Bohemians are still waiting.

Bohemians have not win the title since 2009.

With Dundalk – the only club to really challenge Shamrock Rovers dominance seemingly dropping like a stone – and Cork City out of the Premier League, where a challenge to Rovers will come from is up for debate even at these early stages of the 2024 season.

If the others are to avoid the home club making it five titles wins in a row this season a challenge to Shamrock Rovers is most likely to come from a resurgent Shelbourne. Or the pendulum will swing and either of one of Bohemians or St Pats will mount a challenge.

Derry City are also, of course, hopeful of a first title win in over 25 years but the will have to improve dramatically to challenge the Dublin power base of Rovers.

FT: 3-1

Shamrock Rovers: Léon-Maurice Pöhls; Darragh Burns (Trevor Clarke 81), Daniel Cleary, Lee Grace, Joshua Honohan, Pico; Darragh Nugent, Gary O’Neill (Markus Poom 57), Dylan Watts (Richard Towell 69); Graham Burke (Conan Noonan 81), Johnny Kenny (Aaron Greene 69).).

Bohemian FC: Kacper Chorazka; Aboubacar Keita (James McManus 76), Patrick Kirk, Michael Lilander, Jevon Mills; James Clarke, Jordan Flores, Adam McDonnell (Daniel Grant 63); Oluwaseun Akintunde (Declan McDaid 70), Dylan Connolly (Brian McManus 63), Dayle Rooney.

Referee: Robert Harvey

Attendance: 10,094