A little bit of sport. 

A little bit of sport. 

I haven’t mentioned my sporting likes in a while and it’s those that helped frame the title of this blog. So a quick reminder how the name came about. Firstly the St Pats part is about my home town football club back in Ireland and the Spartans part is about Michigan State here in the USA. 

I have always supported St Patrick’s Athletic FC and even now I follow the games via Twitter, TV when available and fan commentary when I can listen in. The support for Michigan State came about as it is the team and college that my wife attended, hence the title of the blog; St Pats to Spartans. 

Anyway, this season hasn’t been a great season for St Patrick’s Athletic in the league. Struggling to string a few decent results together and languishing in the lower end of the table with just a few games left it’s lookin going a season to forget. Even though they managed to reach the FAI Cup Semi Final a heavy defeat in thst game just shows how much work the manager has to do th get Pats back up the table next season. But it wasn’t all bad, retaining the League Cup me at that St Patrick’s Athletic have managed to win one of the 3 major trophies on offer in each of the last 4 seasons, starting with the League Championship in 2013, FAI Cup in 2014, League Cup in 2015 and 2016. So once this season is offer in a few weeks it will be time to rebuild and be ready to go in March next year. 

And onto Michigan State, the football season started 7 weeks ago and just like St Patrick’s Athletic, it hasn’t really gone to plan. After a relatively good season last year this season has started with just 2 wins and 4 defeats. Nothing seems to be going right this season so it’s time to make sure lessons are learnt and that MS got back to winning ways quickly and the players step up to the mark early and make a run of victories to turn this season around, even though it is probably to late to make it as successful as last year already. But there is always next year and with college football being as it is the junior players will have gained valuable experience with this seasons early difficulties. 

Being a sports fan does come with its highs and lows, sometimes more low days that good days but that’s what makes the good days so special. Seeing St Patrick’s Athletic lose so many FAI Cup finals made the victory in 2014 all the sweeter and it wiped away all those defeats and 53 years of waiting in 90 minutes. One of my favorite moments was when that second goal to clinch the cup went into the back of the net in the dying minute of the match. 

With Michigan State football team not doing to good it will be up to the basketball team to lift spirits and with St Patrick’s Athletic moving into the off season at the end of October I will continue to watch the English Premier league until the Irish soccer season starts back in March when of course it is also March Madness here for the the basketball. 

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Expatriate St Patrick’s Athletic Fan

Expatriate St Patrick’s Athletic Fan

And here is why. Below is an article I wrote about myself and being an expat fan following St Patrick’s Athletic from over here in the USA. It was used in the match programme a few weeks ago.

St Pats fan abroad.

Quick About Me: Billy Galligan, 48. Born and bred in Inchicore, St Pats fan all my life and will remain so from America.

Favorite St Pats moment has to be Christy Fagan scoring the second goal to clinch the FAI Cup in November 2014.

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Christy Fagan roles the ball into the net to clinch the 2014 cup for St Pats after a 53 year wait

Just as the 2015 Airtricity League season ended I emigrated to the USA, more specifically a city called Decatur just on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, the home of CNN, Coca Cola and Atlanta United. My choice to leave Ireland and move to the USA was an easy one, I moved here to marry my sweetheart and start a whole new life together.

For most of my life I had lived in Inchicore and within sight of Richmond Park. Over the last number of seasons, I was nearly always on the camac side touchline taking photos for ExtraTime.ie and supporting the team through a camera lens, now though I will be cheering them on via Twitter and other online media.

Following matches online, waiting on a score update or news is possibly more nerve wrecking than anything, constantly hitting refresh to see if is there is an update, dreading the beep from the football score app in case it’s a goal against Pats, cheering at the phone when it’s a goal for Pats. I am sure somewhere along the way I will be out somewhere and I will randomly cheer at the phone and my new American friends will wonder what is going on!

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Leanne happily posed in a St Pats jersey before attending a match in Ireland last season

Being overseas during a match is nothing new to most fans but to be away and not knowing when I will be home again to see a match is strange. I intend to return to Ireland next December but of course then the season will be over. When I go walking here I nearly always have my St Pats hat on and I am always getting asked ‘What team do I support?’  When I answer St Patricks Athletic from Inchicore in Dublin it raises a few eyebrows as they expect to hear Liverpool, Man Utd or some other English team.

I look forward to the 2016, and will be following the team from the USA and would like to wish Liam and all the staff, players, volunteers and fans an enjoyable, successful and safe season.

As I say in the above article, I will always be a St Patrick’s Athletic fan, even if I start going to Atlanta United games here. Once a football fan, always a football fan.

Back to radio days!

So today marked the first match of the new Airtricity League football season at home and St Patrick’s Athletic played Galway United in Richmond Park, Inchicore. The new season always starts slow, with some apprehension but mainly hope and dreams. My mission today was to figure out how to get coverage of a match taking place 5000 miles away in Dublin.

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Richmond Park, Inchicore

Luckily the Internet allows for certain luxuries and a few of the lads back in Dublin do match commentary live so I was able to tune in and listen. It brought back memories of listening to the radio coverage years ago when it was the only coverage on match evenings, in a time before the Internet. The lads do a great job, completely biased but calling it as it is. Being able to interact via messages as the match progressed was great, one fan in Spain, few in Ireland, lads in the ground and me here in Atlanta.

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Match Day Poster

The President of Ireland is a Galway man and the presidential house is in the Phoenix Park which is fairly close to Richmond park so it was no real surprise that the President attended tonight’s match, I just can’t imagine anything like that happening here without half the city getting shut down. I used to take photos at the matches for Extratime.ie, a website devoted to Irish soccer and I followed all the other matches going on tonight on their update pages as well as watching another match taking place in Cork on the TV via a mobile app. I now have a plan for each time there is a game on at home, be it TV, Internet updates or commentary.

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My View from the Touch line last season

The result tonight wasn’t the best, St Pats got beaten 3-1 by a team they would have expected to beat. The hope of the first day of the season is evaporated already and it makes the next game even more important and getting the first points of the season on the board.

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St Patrick's Athletic Crest

From now until the season ends it will be a Rollercoaster of emotions as St Patrick’s Athletic go in search of vital victories every week. Will there be a trophy at the end of the season? Will it end in absolute heartache? Will the European adventure add to the legends of years past, or will it too just fail before it gets going? Either way, I will be shouting for St Pats from Atlanta, wearing my hat and jersey and screaming at phone, tablet, or TV hoping to see Pats win.

First Down and ten – Superbowl Sunday

So today is probably the biggest sporting event of the year in the USA or as many would lead you to believe, the World. I doubt that but you can’t deny the Superbowl 50 is massive and will have a worldwide audience in the hundreds of millions.

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I have seen many superbowls on tv back home in Ireland, especially in its heyday on Channel 4. For me though it doesn’t compete with the All Ireland finals between Dublin and Kerry or St Pats winning a cup or League but seeing as I now live here it’s to embrace NFL and their big occasion.

So who to shout for tonight at my first Stateside Superbowl Party, well my sister in law is living in Denver so maybe I should shout for them, we live close to Carolina so maybe I should shout for them. I know little or nothing about both sides so I will come down on side of family, Denver it is.
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It won’t be the same as cheering for St Patrick’s Athletic in the soccer, or Dublin in the Gaelic games, or Ireland in any sport but will allow me to have a vested interest. I am an Irishman first, a Dubliner and Inchicore man second, so they have to be my first choice always.

Sport in the USA is completely different to what I am used to, 1500 at a game of lucky, even though I have seen Richmond Park packed to the rafters for some classical games and the atmosphere there would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, can football or soccer here do that, unlikely.
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The emotion felt as Christy Fagan scored that second goal for St Pats as the finally won the cup after 53 years will live with me forever, and nothing will ever beat that.