“Instead of folding like other clubs, we all got together after the funeral and said let’s do this for Martin”


It’s an old saying, “you can’t fight the town hall”, but sometimes you just shouldn’t have to. In fact, when you provide football for 150 children in South Dublin city center each week on a shoestring budget, you should expect to be supported and properly funded.

Instead, Oliver Bond Celtic FC have had their clubhouse demolished, funding proposals blatantly ignored and are being forced to pay exorbitant rent for the land by Dublin City Council.

Oliver Bond takes on billionaire-backed Derry City in the first round of the FAI Cup today, in the final chapter of their remarkable history. From struggling to field 11 players five years ago, watching two teammates lose their lives and receiving broken promises from the Taoiseach, Eddie Keogh remains determined to provide a positive outlet for the local community.

“I do it for love,” said manager Oliver Bond, before training at Brickfield Park last week.

“If I can stop a boy from going down a dangerous path, that’s my job. We try to keep guys from going the wrong way, it’s a fine line. Five years from now, the city council will be complaining that some guys are anti-social, so support us. We need support.

Keogh’s father signed the papers for a clubhouse in the apartments 20 years ago. Despite protests from the tight-knit community, Dublin City Council demolished it in 2020 and has not replaced it since. Keogh brought a detailed funding proposal for the club to their Wood Quay offices, but was again ignored.

“From where we were five years ago, to where we are now, we had no support whatsoever,” added Keogh, pointing to the club’s U-13 and U-15 squads which are ‘train nearby.

“All we get is €500 a year from Dublin City Council. We have to rent our training and match grounds. We only have two garden sheds. This is exactly where they should be injecting money.

“The Taoiseach even came and promised us everything. It is very frustrating. They only seem to come down when something negative happens. It’s sad because we have over 150 girls and boys with the club now, plus three senior teams and an academy.

Keogh revealed they had to play their home games at seven different venues last season, with a weekly lotto being the club’s only source of income to pay for expensive pitch hire and refereeing fees.

The club overcame adversity, however, and achieved great success in its short existence, including two AUL hat-tricks and two Leinster Senior League titles. The Dublin 8 side will play midfield football for the first time this season, but it was the tragic death of best friend and former Keogh player Martin Luby that proved to be a catalyst for the team.

“It took a toll on me and all of us,” the Liberties native admitted.

“Instead of folding like other clubs, we all got together after the funeral and said let’s do this for Martin. The club has gone from strength to strength ever since. We’ve only been beaten four times in five years in the league since, and won two unbeaten hat-tricks.

The Oliver Bond boss is drawing up a five-year fundraising plan and intends to return to Dublin City Council to apply for a grant to develop much-needed facilities in Dublin 8.

“We got to the FAI Junior Cup semi-final in May,” Keogh said.

“Over 2,500 supporters came to Richmond Park, it was amazing. The city council congratulated us, but you also tell them with a little support, this is what we are capable of doing.

“It’s hard to see teams like others receiving €150,000 or €200,000 just to modernize their facilities. We ask them to build an Astro in our area. Everyone rents facilities and it costs a lot to maintain them. “

Keogh was keen to thank the many local businesses around Oliver Bond who each sponsored a player for the FAI Cup clash. The community around the area is particularly close, with several buses organized for the journey to the Brandywell today.

“The fundraising has been amazing,” smiles Keogh.

“You can sponsor a player for €100 and we have an incredible response. It always comes down to our own local people. When we are asked to do something, we do it. We do fundraisers every year for different causes, like for Pieta House after Martin died. We launched a 100km challenge for Stephen Burke last year, one of our players who died of cancer. The people here are the salt of the earth.

There is no doubt Derry City will be a tough test for the non-League side, but Keogh insists there will be no fear factor involved and hopes his club meet League opponents more regularly. of Ireland in the years to come.

“We have no pressure, there is nothing to lose and everything to gain,” Keogh said.

“It’s 11v11, and just another game of football, that’s how we see it. They’re all buzzing. It’s been a real Roy of the Rovers story, to be in Division Three on Saturday , to rub shoulders with Derry is what dreams are made of. On Saturday we will test ourselves against one of the best teams in Ireland, and hopefully we will soon make the club a powerhouse in Dublin.


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