Celtic arrive this weekend to the capital.
It’s been 5 years since Celtic took their side to Dublin with them taking on Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium and they return this time again with the same manager something I don’t think many would of expected.
Brendan Rodgers side will take on Wolves in front of what is to be expected a rather packed crowd.
The last time Celtic played an English side here in the Aviva, they took on Liverpool. The stadium was almost full capacity but the main talking point during and after the game was how much Celtic fans were outnumbered by Irish Liverpool fans.
It opened a massive debate on the Irish fan base here and also focused on what Celtic can do to continue to attract the Irish fans to the club.
This weekend we won’t have a problem with being outnumbered that’s something I can confidently say and with an Irish man managing the show it’s really set up to be a great weekend for all fans not just here in Ireland but the massive support set to travel here for the game.
We all knew English premier league sides, the likes of United and Liverpool have a massive following here in Ireland but I don’t think people many people expected to see such a sea of red that weekend with just pockets of Celtic fans dotted throughout the stadium. We were there and in full voice but it was crazy to see it so one sided.
Such a large number of Irish Celtic supports travel week in week out to Glasgow on buses, boats and planes so I’m under no illusion that the club don’t have a large following here but I suppose the topic of discussion is how do we compete with the clubs mentioned above? Will we ever be able to rival them here or is the country lost to English coverage of their game? Everyone will say “I support Liverpool but I obviously support Celtic too” but it’s not the same thing. Most if not all football fans in Ireland will be drawn to Celtic but how do we ensure that the support continues.
Fans raised in homes like my own you’re guaranteed the support will continue down through the generations but how do Celtic market themselves now to those outside these households? The closing of the Celtic Store in Dublin City Centre was a massive loss. I’m well aware having a Celtic shop in the capital isn’t going to ensure the continued support of fans but the online situation with Celtic since Brexit does make it difficult for many fans. It really is missed among us supporters.
All that said it’s set to be a busy weekend in Dublin with the All Ireland Final taking place the following day.
Fans have been vocal online expressing their struggles with securing accommodation for the game and also the unbelievable costing for the little options left, that’s Dublin right now unfortunately.
It’s fantastic Celtic have picked to return to Ireland for a game for the fans. Covid played a huge part in the 5 year gap I would say but it does feel like almost forever since the side have returned here.
Celtic begin their league title defence in less than 2 weeks at home to Ross County. So it’s a great opportunity for us Irish fans to get a look at the squad heading into the new season.
I’m really looking forward to it and even better, it’s in my own back garden this time round!
Rachel Lynch is a Dublin Journalist, Mum & Celtic Fan