St Pat’s is a fixture in Inchicore community

Inchicore has had its ups and downs as a community throughout the years. A crucial part of Inchicore and its surrounding areas is the football club, St. Patricks Athletic.

A factor in the recent revival of the club was the appointment of a full time community officer at the start of 2018. In the job opening the club stated the officer was going to “form and maintain relationships in the community”.

The season that the role was created, St Pat’s had a season high attendance of 2,918 in a derby against Shamrock Rovers. Since then, there has been nothing but increases. In the 2023 season the average attendance has skyrocketed with a season-high sell-out at Richmond Park being 5,022.

St Pat’s fan Dave Morrisey took on the role from 2018 to the end of the 2021 season where he won the St. Patricks Athletic ‘Special Merit Award’ to reward the work he did that year. After that he stepped down, and another lifelong fan and U19 coach Niall Cully took the role.

The revival of the club has been a very welcome surprise to the hardcore and supporters of the club who had their worries less than a decade ago. To get an experts view on it I spoke to former Patron Saint and community man Andy Ayres who has been involved with Pat’s for over 20 years.

“There were many a night pre Covid where Inchicore and the surrounding areas were lacking a connection to the club,” Ayres said.

“It’s vital for the long-term success of the club to engage with schools and businesses, which is done at St Pat’s. A club without a community is nothing.”

Supporter and one half of the ‘EverythingPats’ podcast Peter Manning told The Liberty about the recent rise of the club and what it means to him.

“St Pat’s means a lot. I started supporting them because my family is from the area but the community around the club kept me supporting them.” Richmond Park, he says, is “one of those places where you’ll always feel welcome – the fans around of the club are some of the best people you will meet.”

Diehard fan Harry Kelly, who has had generations of family from Inchicore and has been going to Pat’s games since he was very little, says things have improved a lot since he began attending.

“There wouldn’t have been a lot more other kids, compared to now where you see loads and loads of kids. The amount of work they’ve done visiting schools and local football teams have been great,” Kelly said..

“I remember going to a game in Derry and there was 11 of us there, with no kids there. Now you see young fellas mad about the club looking for pictures with the lads that they see as their heroes.

“Post covid there was a huge market to capitalise on, the crowds now you notice countless sell outs, season tickets sales through the roof.”

A sense of community has helped people fall in love with a football club. St Pat’s first league game of the season in Galway saw the Pat’s away allocation selling out in less than five minutes.

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