My Team & I: Shelbourne FC


By Neil Sherwin

Twitter: @neilsherwin


Why Shelbourne FC?

Shelbourne were the local club to where my grandparents lived in Dublin so in 1989 myself and my dad walked to Tolka Park to take in my first ever live game. Unfortunately Shels got absolutely hammered by Dundalk but I was captivated by the whole thing. My dad is also a Leeds United fan and they would come to Dublin every summer for a preseason friendly. We went to all the games and it was fun for me as a kid to have a bit of a rivalry.

In my teens I went to pretty much every home game while also taking in a lot of the away games played in Dublin. While I am a massive Manchester City fan, I think it’s important for people to support their local clubs as well and for that reason Shels will always be special to me.

Favourite Player?

Tony ‘Shero’ Sheridan, no contest. The guy was an absolute genius in the Matt LeTissier mould. Not the fittest player by any means but he could change a game in an instant. Shero returned to Dublin in his early 20s after a spell with Coventry City and was instrumental in our FAI Cup wins in 1996 and 1997. In the 1996 cup semi final he scored one of the greatest goals seen in Irish football against Sligo Rovers. The ball was thrown to him just outside his own area and he ran 50 or 60 yards before lobbing the keeper with the most ridiculous effort I’ve ever seen.

In the final against St. Patrick’s Athletic he bagged our equaliser with another great lob to take the game to a replay after we were reduced to ten men as goalkeeper Alan Gough was sent off. He also scored in the second game as Shels won 2-1 to deny Pat’s a league and cup double.

It’s a pity Shero never won a league title with Shelbourne but he will forever be a cult hero of the club and certainly gave me some great memories.

Honourable mentions go to Mark Rutherford, Gary Haylock and Wesley Hoolihan.


Favourite Game?

Definitely the 6-4 win over Bohemians in their own back yard in October 2001. A young Brad Jones was in goal for us having joined on loan from Middlesbrough.

Like most older grounds, there is a Shed at Dalymount Park behind one of the goals and while this is normally occupied by the home fans, my Shels supporting mate and I thought it would be a good idea to sit in there for the game.

Shels raced into a 3-0 lead which soon turned into 4-1. However Bohs mounted a comeback to tie the game up at 4-4 in the second half which meant we got an awful torrent of abuse (to be expected of course). It looked like there would only be one winner as they had all the momentum but our lads dug deep and Davy Byrne made it 5-4. At that point I decided it best to head for the exit and watch the rest of the game from there. Turned out it was probably for the best as Jim Crawford stuck in a sixth, much to the disgust of the Shed brigade!

It was a great show of character from the team and definitely a game I’ll never forget.

Favourite Strip?

Shelbourne home shirts are quite standard, red with a bit of white trim, apart from in 2002 when there was royal blue under the arms and down the side. For that reason I quite like some of our away kits and, due to my City affiliation, the sky blue ones always looked good to me. The below shirt is from 1999 and incorporates our old logo which is no longer used on merchandise.


Worst thing about being a Shelbourne Fan?

No longer being in the Premier Division isn’t great obviously, but probably the worst thing is our, somewhat unfair, reputation for having no fans. There have been times where attendances have been poor, and the club did suffer with ‘schooligans’ (essentially kids let off the leash by their parents at games) for a while, but there is a great hardcore base of supporters. We are never going to be as well supported as Dublin rivals Shamrock Rovers or Bohemians though.

Favourite Moment?

We’ve had some unreal European nights against the likes of Deportivo La Coruna and Hadjuk Split but winning the league is always a great feeling. On 17 November 2006 we needed a win on the last day of the season to secure the title, and that was also the day I graduated from college. There was no way I was missing the game so I left early to go to Tolka Park in time for kick off. We managed to defeat Bohs 2-1 having gone a goal behind and finished top of the table ahead of Derry City on what was a night full of emotion. Celebrating on the pitch with the players for the second time in three years was fantastic and as soon as everything died down I headed back for my graduation afterparty!

It was also the game where Stuart Byrne had his famous rant about then Bohs manager Stephen Kenny which made all the headlines in Ireland.

We had all the best players in the league that year – Jason Byrne, Glen Crowe, Owen Heary, Joseph Ndo and Ollie Cahill amongst others – and it’ll be a long time before a squad as good as that is seen again in the league.

Unfortunately due to financial irregularities most of the players left shortly afterwards and Shels were demoted to the League of Ireland Division 1 in 2007. We’ve been there ever since.

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