Bohemians away - on this day 1984

Newry RSC travellled down. Not a window left on the bus by the time we got through Dundalk.

We had to take a different route on the way back due to violence. Our bus stopped and the founding member got out and asked a Gardai for directions and he smashed him with a baton calling him an orange bastard lol. Blood everywhere. We bundled him into the bus and finally got back onto the main road. We were well used to it all during the troubles, didn’t take a fidge out of us, but was some laugh.

Unfortunately many of our original members are no longer with us but such great memories with great Protestant friends.
Number_Eight recollection of Bohemians away split over 2 posts

If we go to Dublin

Watch Out, Chaps - Bandits At Six O`Clock

This year will mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of Rangers' trip to Dublin to play Bohemians, and as the events surrounding this match have often aroused much curiosity, particularly in younger Rangers supporters, I`m going to attempt to give you a flavour of the day.

I was keen to attend this fixture. It was an affordable trip to a European away game, and there was no need to be away from work for too long. I spoke to a pal of mine about this excursion, a regular buddy for Rangers away games, and he too was eager to head for Dublin.

Arrangements were made to go on a supporters' bus, and on the day of the game my friend and I met up, somewhere in Glasgow, at around 8.00am, and we wandered into the basement of what appeared to be an unused building. We were rather bemused to see a largish bar going full-swing with people milling around and drinking as though it was eight o' clock in the evening. We made contact with the guys who had organised the trip and had a seat near the bar. Neither of us had a drink, or if we did, it was a soft drink. At this stage it was envisaged that we'd be knocking back a few pints in Dublin, and anyway, firewater at that time of day held little appeal for me.

Within an hour or so, we departed on a bus to Stranraer, and I wrongly assumed we'd be doing the whole journey in this vehicle. On the Ferry there was quite a sing-song, and although my alcohol abstention continued, many of us were enjoying a wee drink or two. Remember, this was a time when "the troubles" in Northern Ireland were high profile so there was an extra bit of tension in the air.

At Larne we boarded another bus, a single-decker Ulsterbus, but it was hardly state-of-the-art. Soon we were off on the second leg of our journey, and we had little doubt that the timing of our arrival in Dublin would allow us a generous spell of over-indulgence.

As many of us had never been across the Irish Sea, it was an education just observing Northern Ireland from the windows of the bus. Curiously, it reminded me of the Scotland of my youth. Strangers to Northern Ireland might like to note that it's a far more affluent place than many of us in the mainland would ever imagine. I once heard that there are more Mercedes and BMWs in Ulster (pro-rata) than in any other part of the UK except London.

As our Ulsterbus meandered around the Ulster countryside, we noted signs to a variety of places, some renowned for atrocities which had taken place there. It transpired that the driver had been instructed to drive around aimlessly and only cross the border at the last minute. We were seeing signs that Belfast was twelve miles away, then eight, six, five, seven, ten and six. We were on an Ulster mystery tour, and only late in the day would we cross the border, just in time to make the match. I hadn't eaten and was thirsty too, but I had to bide my time until an opportunity presented itself.

The border crossing just past Newry delayed us briefly. We had the RUC to pass at the first checkpoint, and then the Guarda(the Irish police) at the second. As the bus pulled away from the Republic's checkpoint, there was a powerful sensation that we were on foreign turf now, and on our own.

After a fairly short time, we entered Dundalk, reputed to be infested with Irish Republicans, and a well-known IRA stronghold. The locals appeared to be interested in us, a Rangers bus in Dundalk was a rarity after all, and the onboard troops launched into some well-known ditties. Some of the locals were making the odd rude sign, but a few of the women were smiling at us. It's quite possible of course, that it was just me they were smiling at!

I actually thought that Dundalk appeared to be a homely wee town with everyone going about their business as one might expect. My thoughts were soon interrupted however, as one of the bus windows was smashed after being struck by a missile thrown by one of the locals. With hindsight, this might not have been such a bad thing. No serious injuries had been sustained, but we were on our guard now.

When we arrived in Dublin it was too late for a pint, even a quick pint, and I noticed an unfriendly area near the foot of a hill in the city where our presence didn`t seem to meet with the approval of some of the locals. If memory serves me well, a cash payment of three Irish punts ensured entry to Dalymount Park (most of us handed over three pounds sterling) and we made our way to the terracing where my mate and I took our places beside a group of Rangers fans, mainly from Ulster it seemed, in an area opposite the main stand.

There was a venomous atmosphere in the place and a real hatred flowing from each side to the other. A variety of incidents occurred which would have been nipped in the bud had the match been properly policed, but the Dublin guarda had no experience of handling high profile volatile football contests, and it showed. Individuals were invading the park at will and being attacked by rival supporters. The police didn`t know how to respond to the pitch invaders, and at least one guy was reputed to have been thrown out of the ground once, only for him to re-invade a second time. The Irish support produced a Union Flag in the midst of the Bohemians end, and tried to set it alight. After several failed attempts, a roar went up as an Irish Tricolour appeared in the Rangers end and was quickly incinerated.

The Rangers goalkeeper, Nicky Walker, spent most of his time thirty yards or so from his own goal-line such was the intensity of the variety of missiles aimed in his direction. In circumstances like this, it was impossible for him to do his job properly. Behind the Rangers end, and from the roof of a block of flats, further missiles were aimed at the Rangers support. Amazingly, there were no serious injuries.

At half-time, my compadre disappeared for some relief and I continued to observe events around the ground. The most serious incident was happening in the Rangers end. The Irish police had decided to charge the Rangers support, but were soon rebuffed. Yet again the police mounted a charge, and once more the Rangers support sent them back down below terracing level to the launching point of their assault. I noticed what appeared to be a railway sleeper being positioned by our supporters near the edge of a wall above the tunnel from where the police had emerged, ready to be dropped on the next police charge. As the only sober person in the place, it was clear to me that the next police onslaught was going to take casualties - serious casualties. Fortunately for all concerned, that next charge never came, possibly because it would have been a futile act, or perhaps someone had noticed that carnage was the certain outcome.

When the game was over, and we'd suffered a 3-2 reverse, our thoughts turned to extricating ourselves from this vile part of the world in one piece. We had a feeling that the evening ahead might be incident-strewn as we began to leave Dalymount Park, but we had little idea of just what lay ahead of us.

As we exited the ground, everyone had to turn right, but a glance to the left saw a line of police kitted out in riot gear and with batons drawn. As we shuffled along, the police began beating their shields with their batons, and it was evident that a confrontation of sorts was on the cards. As my pal and I walked away from the ground, the crowd behind us stirred and then began to rush past us. The charge had begun. As the advancing police moved amongst the Rangers support lashing out wildly with their batons, the pace of the Rangers fans quickened until it reached the stage where if a move wasn't made, being trampled or baton-whipped was a distinct probability. The police were effectively driving back the supporters to where our buses were, and some were relishing the opportunity to demonstrate their weapons superiority along the way. I made it back to our bus alongside my mate, unscathed, but tempers were up and chaos reigned. There were already supporters back on the coach, but some were still out on the street and several had been separated from friends. Within a short time everyone who'd been on the bus for the outward journey had made it back, some with baton-induced injuries.

I should mention one incident in particular which had the potential to become ghastly. One of our lads had leapt on to the bus whilst being pursued by a single policeman, and when he landed, just inside the door, he had to move swiftly as the officer tried to take one last swipe at him. The policeman, having missed, overbalanced slightly and two or three of the lads in the bus tried to haul him on board. It was probably for the best that the officer managed to make his escape. I dread to think of the consequences if this policeman had been "captured". Bearing in mind the climate of hate present that evening, forgiveness was the last thing on the minds of the support, particularly after the baton charge.

With all present on the bus, I picked a seat at the front and to the left, next to the window beside my pal in the aisle seat. We knew we were going to be subjected to missile attacks on the road home, and believe me, home was Ulster, even for those of us from Scotland.
I spotted someone in another bus removing a seat from the supporting frame, and placing the hard back of the seat against the window for protection. This seemed like a good idea, and I and almost everyone else in our bus followed suit.

As the bus engine fired up and we moved off, I informed the driver that we wouldn`t be stopping at red lights. He didn't need much persuading. As we passed the bottom of the hill which I had recognised as a hostile spot on the way into Dublin, I felt the force of a missile smash the glass window beside me, but the firm base of my seat was doing its job well, and no injuries were received. There were several other thuds throughout the bus at this stage, and the sound of breaking glass was all around. Fortunately our driver was obeying orders to the letter, and red lights were being disregarded by all buses as the Rangers convoy left town.

With Dublin disappearing fast behind us, the tension eased a little, but my seatback remained in place in case of further missile attacks. It's worth remembering that five or six windows, including mine, had gone, and the ventilation in the bus was excessive. No serious injuries were reported but we all wondered how others were faring.

As we sped through the Irish countryside, there were no further attacks, but we knew that, in Dundalk, a warm welcome would await us. As we neared this Republican stronghold, a voice from the back of the bus piped up, "Watch out chaps, bandits at six o` clock". Amid much laughter, we prepared ourselves for the next assault and defensive positions were adopted. Sure enough, hiding behind parked cars, a variety of locals were lying in wait, and yet again several buses were struck. The bus immediately in front of us was struck with a petrol bomb, but fortunately it bounced off the vehicle and onto the road where flames spewed over a length of tarmac, safely away from the supporters.

From my seat at the front, I had a clear view of some of the incidents, and the next one will live long in the memory. As one of the "bandits" rose from behind a parked car to launch an attack on the bus in front of ours, a Rangers fan appeared through one of the bus's skylight windows and fired a full can of beer at his target. His aim was sound and the missile-thrower collapsed in a heap after taking a can of Tennent`s full in the face. There was an almighty roar from within our bus at this moment. From being sitting ducks, and on the defensive, spirits were raised after witnessing one of our guys showing some serious initiative.

As we approached the border at Newry, we were waved through without fuss, and the relief was tangible. To see the RUC present in numbers, and with deadly weaponry at the ready, was actually a very reassuring sight. It was rather ironic, that having arrived in Northern Ireland, at the time one of Europe`s least safe places, we all felt a security that had been absent every step of the way in the Irish Republic. My stomach was reminding me too, that I`d still had nothing to eat or drink throughout the journey.

We headed for Larne after stopping briefly on the edge of Belfast, and were fortunate to catch a ferry back to Stranraer after a short wait.

The return match at Ibrox was a tense affair and it took two late goals to secure the tie for Rangers, and we advanced to the next round on a 4-3 aggregate. Those goals were celebrated in the same manner as though the match was an Old Firm game, especially for those of us who had been in Dublin.

During this story, I could have dwelt longer on the various incidents at Dalymount Park itself, but I wanted to give a fuller picture about the whole trip rather than just the match itself. It was a memorable day for all the wrong reasons, but those of us who made the visit are glad we did. This was a brief outline of the trip as I remember it, warts and all
I was there travelled over on the Dundee Loyal bus,still waiting for my medal :cool:
That last clip in the video is one on the Gardi getting an absolute doing.that’s when the plain clothes officer on the other side of the fence draws his weapon.
I have said before but that night the Ulster Bears were invaluable to us Scottish bears.they were used to riot situations and time and time again I heard them passing on advice.simple things like telling us to put seats up against the windows of the bus to stop glass and debris flying into the busses.that was the night also that a lot of us woke up to what our fellow supporters in NI were dealing with.
It was also arrested en masse in Stranraer on our return & escorted to Ayr cop shop.
No, there was a bit of thieving in Girvan and we got stopped after that then all taken to Ayr police station and lined up.
The foc items were dispatched through the windows on the way, thanks to the fact some of the aforementioned windows were still in Ireland.
Brilliant account of a foray into enemy territory, i was at the return and if memory serves me, the broomloan stand only had 2 or 3 of the irish unwashed. Great story.
The clip of the bears in front of a row of shops,reminded me of bears buying a ball and instead of kicking it high up in the air,they began to launch the ball towards the traffic stuck in the rush hour,the gardi came over and confiscated the ball but there was a shop that sold footballs beside us,so bears just went in and bought another one and relaunched our version of rebound :D
Brilliant account of a foray into enemy territory, i was at the return and if memory serves me, the broomloan stand only had 2 or 3 of the irish unwashed. Great story.
In my years of living here,the amount of people who claim to have been in dailymount that night is amazing.they always claim our support were chased that answer is always the same “you weren’t there then”
Utterly mental. Only window we had left was the windscreen.

Was on a bus from Cumbernauld on the way home. Convenor was called Gary (his brother helped him run the bus) and he is down the front while the rest of us pulled up the seats and placed them against the windows.

He's giving us a running commentary - "there's a big hill ahead with hundreds of the bastards on it, they are bricking the buses, keep your heads down lads, here it comes - aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!" - a brick had sailed clean through a window in the door and hit him in the face. :p

Thankfully, and amazingly, no damage done.
Utterly mental. Only window we had left was the windscreen.

Was on a bus from Cumbernauld on the way home. Convenor was called Gary (his brother helped him run the bus) and he is down the front while the rest of us pulled up the seats and placed them against the windows.

He's giving us a running commentary - "there's a big hill ahead with hundreds of the bastards on it, they are bricking the buses, keep your heads down lads, here it comes - aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!" - a brick had sailed clean through a window in the door and hit him in the face. :p

Thankfully, and amazingly, no damage done.
Our bus (Dundee Loyal) made it back with windows intact.the bus had loads of dents in it and one big one just below the window where I was sitting on the bus.I think what saved us,we were towards the back of the convoy of the ones up front got it worse plus the busses up the front were returning fire which scattered a few scum.
Two busses went in around 10 30am, about 20 of us had a game of football in some field, after that about 10 of jumped on a bus and headed into the City Center, the conductor came up asked us the fare and was told to F O! I remember him saying that if we were looking for trouble, we would get it.
Walking around the center the reception was very mixed, half very friendly and the other spitting blood seeing us. the atmosphere seemed to change when the Dublin evening paper came out, big headline of Rangers fans attacking priests on the Liverpool ferry.
Walking back to the ground we past the SF office, sang some songs and shouted abuse.
Then onto the game!!