St Pat’s “Invincibles” look forward to the 2011 season

By Declan Marron

Saint Patricks Athletic ultra group – the Shed End Invincibles proudly celebrate their ten year old establishment with 300 strong supporters this year.

The Shed End Invincibles are now one of Ireland’s most well known and oldest football supporter’s groups.

The Dublin based group aims to bring colour and atmosphere to every home and away game. They do so using choreographed displays and other tifos like crowd covers, banners and even card displays which were used for last year’s Setanta Cup Final.

Some football ultra groups have been associated with violent behaviour, but the SEI are not involved in any sort of violence nor do they condone any that appears in Irish Football. They prefer to act as the team’s 12th man, encouraging the team as much as possible.

Founded in November 2001, the Shed End Invincibles took their name after originally being located in the ‘Shed End’ of the ground to create an atmosphere. Nearly ten years on, the group are now located in their new position in the West Stand of Richmond Park.

One of the group’s organisers, Philip Moran, spoke to the Liberty concerning the group’s development over the last 10 years.  According to Moran the group is run by “20 core members, who actively take part in organising on a regular basis”. The group has developed greatly since its foundation.  Moran describes the SEI as “one of the top and most respected supporters groups around the country, because of how active they are and the quality of their work.”

Moran also pointed out that the running of the club was not easy.  “It can be a difficult task at times especially with college and work for most of us but it’s vital to have displays decided on about two weeks before a big game and have back up plans.  On match nights to say its stressful is an understatement, we tend to be down at the ground around three to four hours before the game to get things set up and make sure there are no problems.”

Even so the members are happy to dedicate as much time as possible to the group. They feel that the SEI is integral to the clubs culture. “Without the SEI the club would have no core singing section and a lack of colour that is needed at every club. We regularly take part in volunteer work around the club and help the club in any possible way” said Moran.

He recalls one of the groups best moments when playing Bohemians away last year. The SEI produced a banner reading The New Shels with the letters T, N and S all in bold which made the papers the next day.  Moran revealed “the story behind this was that Bohs at the time were recently beaten by Welsh side TNS in the Champions League which is a bit of an embarrassment. And the reference to Shelbourne F.C is that Bohs have had money problems just like Shels. Rumours were gathering that Bohs were going to be relegated just like Shels(hence the banner) but it hasn’t happened yet.”

Come November, the SEI will proudly celebrate their ten year anniversary of its creation. The group are currently organising big plans for ongoing celebrations during the season. “We plan to celebrate throughout the season and certain dates will stand out”, said Moran.

The SEI have high hopes for their team this season, possibilities of European football silverware is still in sight. “This will be our biggest year so far, we are growing and getting better all the time. There are big things ahead,” said Moran.

A fellow member of the SEI, Thomas Foy, 18, reiterated this season’s expectations, saying “It’s going to be a huge season but the best is yet to come from us in 2011. I’m happy with how we are doing; we’ve expanded in size again for this year”.

SEI is always looking to add members and build on the current stature. For Foy the appeal is “showing true passion for your team” and “standing alongside the SEI, singing all the songs” is what makes people want to be more involved.

Moran who has been part of the SEI for three years, is also keen to add more support as he feels “The passion that you witness is like nothing you will ever see. All the heartbreak that you get makes the great moments feel better.” For the love not the Glory as the SEI motto goes.

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