Dundalk FC’s Sean Gannon was at Oriel Park on Wednesday to cheer on the town’s EStars team.
While Dundalk FC's stars took to the field on Monday and Friday last week - securing four points against St Patrick's Athletic and Waterford FC - Oriel Park was the venue for competition of a whole new form on Wednesday evening (March 14th), the Three Ireland EStars.
For once, the focus wasn't on Stephen Kenny's band of stars but instead Ireland's biggest ever e-sports tournament unfolding on board the huge mobile gaming truck Big Betty, parked for the evening outside Oriel's Main Stand.
Esports, essentially competitive muti-player video gaming, is an emerging competition in Ireland and Three Ireland’s EStars is competitive esports on a scale never seen before in Ireland. Wednesday night marked the first of eight weeks of events to he held nationwide - aimed at finding the country's best gaming talent.
Ten teams, representing nine League of Ireland football clubs including Dundalk FC and main sponsors Three, competed for a place in the Grand Finals at the 3Arena on May 13th ,
where the winners will walk away with €20,000 and a trip to Las Vegas.
Sadly, there was no luck for Dundalk's team however - comprising of Michael Duffy, Connor O'Brien, Marti Walker, Joe McGreevy and Cian Costello.
Despite having Dundalk FC stalwart Sean Gannon at Oriel Park offering his support (above), they went down to defeat against gamers from representing Bray Wanderers.
In the other games, St. Pat’s were definitively victorious over
Limerick, while Cork City were surprise winners over early tournament favourites, Shamrock Rovers. Sligo Rovers prevailed over Derry City, before sponsors Team Three dispatched the challenge by Bohemians.
Those who came to watch the event could choose brave the weather to watch all of the action direct from Big Betty (below), or enjoy all of the action via a big screen live feed in the comfort of the Lilywhite Lounge.
The night had began with presenters Connor Phillips and Holly Hamilton introducing percussion troupe The Hit Machine Drummers, stunning the crowd with an electric performance to get things kicked off before expert “shoutcasters” explained the unfolding action as the games commenced.
"The first league night in Dundalk was nail-biting. The competition has already proven fierce and we can’t wait to see what the next face-off
will produce," Mags Byrne of Three Ireland’s EStars said.
"With the best gaming talent from across Ireland in our teams, we know Three Ireland’s EStars tournament will have us all gripped until the finals at the 3Arena in May."
Next up for Dundalk's EStars team, they travel to Curraheen Park Greyhound Stadium in Cork where they face off against Derry City. That's this Wednesday (March 21st).
You can follow all of their progress at www.estars.pro.