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Irish soccer is in competition with the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) for popularity and coverage. Fortunately for the gaelic sports they have a strong enough support to keep the games alive and the players motivated, with the 82,300 person capacity nearly filled for todays GAA semi-final Gaelic football match of Kerry vs. Mayo.
In comparison to the 400 people in attendance for the UCD vs. Sligo match yesterday. Soccer along with Gaelic football and hurling are amateur sports in this country, since the players are unpaid. However the fact of money, or the lack there of, does not affect their performance or passion.
This is because they play for pride of place and love of the game. For the soccer, the teams have their respective sponsors, as well as each individual player seeking a personal sponsor in order to support their game.
If a player is good enough to play at international level, they may travel abroad to England, Scotland, Spain or France, for example, to play in the professional leagues. We have also recently seen the advent of the first Irish player moving to the United States, with the Irish soccer captain, Robbie Keane, joining L.A. Galaxy in a 3.5 million dollar transfer deal.
Having played his first game for the west coast team just yesterday, he scored his debut goal just 21 minutes after setting foot on the pitch.
On the local level back in his home country another match was taking place. The match in question, played at the UCD bowl stadium on saturday the 20th of August, was timed in order not to clash with the GAA football semi-final the following day (21 August).
UCD is an acronym for University College Dublin, which is the largest University in the country. The beloved students, from up and down the country, have proven their worth in the recent past, but are currently trailing at the close to the bottom of the table in 8th place. Their rivals for the night, Sligo Rovers, have consistenly proven to be one of the top teams in the country year after year.
They are currently in second place of the league table 5 points behind Derry City, after yesterdays win. Sligo is the third largest city in the west of the country after Limerick and Galway, famous for being the home of characters such as W.B Yeats and Neil Jordan.
After a demoralising defeat of 6-0 against Shamrock Rovers last week, the Dublin students had to win back the respect of their fans in yesterdays match. Which was the students first home match since an epic victory against Villareal on the 16th of July in the Dublin Super Cup.
Although Sligo were to hit them with all they had in an attempt to jump up a place in the league, the students could be comforted by the fact that they beat the Rovers in their last encounter at the bowl in their most impressive sporting performance of the season.
Yesterdays final score of 1-0 for Sligo was a fair result considering they held the majority of the possession and demonstrated that they were the more skillful side on the day, with an exceptional performance from the goal scorer Eoin Doyle throughout the match.
The goal was scored from a deep pass in the 37th minute, a great result for Paul Cook’s men.