It doesn’t take much to figure out that those who like a tipple in the Stag’s Head are also into their football.
A quick glance around the back bar in the Linenhall Street establishment gives the game away. Pictures of Celtic legends adorn the wall and the pub is the base for the Sean McIlvenna Celtic Supporters Club.
Closer to home, those who frequent the bar are also spotted on the terraces or in the stand at Oriel Park - and many grounds throughout Ireland - cheering Dundalk FC on. With that in mind, the creation of a Dundalk Supporters Club was something of a no brainer.
The new organisation held their launch night on Friday evening with Lilywhites manager Stephen Kenny and co-owner Andy Connolly, along with the SSE Airtricity League and EA Sports Cup trophies, on hand to mark the occasion.
Joint treasurer of the Stag’s Head Supporters Club, Jim Conroy, spoke to the Dundalk Democrat about the formation of the group and he said he was hoping it would flourish in the weeks leading up to the new League of Ireland season.
“The Stag’s Head has always been a big Dundalk FC pub,” said Jim. “Over the past few years the Dundalk supporters who drink here have travelled far and wide, going home and away so we were all saying ‘wouldn’t it be great’ if we put something official together.
“It was James Callan, the secretary, who came up with the idea of a supporters club. Over the past few weeks we have put a committee together and now we’re really looking forward to seeing how it takes off.”
The club has only just been launched but Conroy said the initial response has been very positive.
“We have about 30 signed up already and there are more coming. When we get the word out, more people will know what we are doing and hopefully there will be bigger influx of members.”
The club have put strict guidelines in place for prospective members to follow. As an official, affiliated supporters club of Dundalk FC, all members must adhere to the ground regulations set down by the club and new applications will be scrutinised.
“Everybody who applies will be vetted and each member will have their own photographic ID,” explained Conroy. “There will be no messing around. It will be run properly.”
Membership of the club costs €20 per year for an adult or €35 per couple. Children under the age of 16 go free if they are named on a family member’s application form. A maximum of three U16s can be named on each form. For those over the age of 16, and in full time education, the cost is €12.
“The membership fee is very cheap,” agreed Conroy. “This is a working class pub and the people who drink in it don’t have an awful lot of money to be throwing away.”
Optional membership of the travel club is €2 per week and Conroy said the club are keen on making some of the trips an overnight stay.
“One game that has already been mentioned is the one away to Sligo Rovers,” explained Conroy. “We will possibly look at staying in the team hotel for that game. It’s a bit down the line but we’d like to do that, and possibly a European game aswell.”
As well as posing for pictures, Kenny gave a well received speech about the positive attributes a thriving fan base can bring to a club. And Conroy was fulsome in his praise of the Lilywhites boss and club co-owner Andy Connolly for making the effort to attend the launch.
“Andy is very accessible,” he said. “He has given us his phone number and any help that the supporters club might need, he is willing to help.
“Stephen is the same. To get him down to our launch night is fantastic. He is always open to things like this and he allows himself to be approached by supporters. It’s great to have them both here.”
Further information on the Stag’s Head Dundalk FC Supporters Club can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting any committee member.