'I'm from Lisbon but supporting Cork City is really special'

Vitor Vicente explains how a Portuguese exile in Ireland fell in love with the Rebel Army
'I'm from Lisbon but supporting Cork City is really special'

Cork City supporters celebrate after their side's third goal, scored by Kevin Custovic, against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

"COMING from Cork?" I was asked at the entrance of the visiting team's supporters.

"No, actually, I'm based in Dublin..."

The staff member looks genuinely astonished.

"There are some, I suppose, like me."

I bet he couldn't buy the whole story if I had shared it with him. Instead, I saved it for the reader; I think I owe a brief introduction before my discourse.

I am a Portuguese person, inhabiting the Emerald Isle for a few years now. About five were spent in Dublin and the other two in Cork; during the latter, I developed a strong connection with CCFC.

Football is nothing new to me. From a very early age, probably about four years of age, I have been a passionate FC Porto fan. The odd thing is that I was born/grown on the outskirts of Lisbon; kind of Carrigaline or Mallow if we were talking about Cork city. 

My fate was sealed to cheer for Benfica, but I was too clever a kid to fall into that trap.


Here I am, perhaps the first Cork City fan with a Portuguese accent. At least, the only Lisbon lad shouting for the Leesiders and Dragões (Porto). Surely, we can find City supporters somewhere in Not-Cork: so I'll move it to another level, originally from ‘Not Not-Cork’ and gladly singing along with the Rebel Army.

Speaking of the Rebel Army. It's great to join a crowd at a football stadium. There is a sense of family and a relief to stop being an individual when you experience that wonderful feeling of belonging.

We may explore those sentiments on another occasion. The action has already started on the pitch and it is not dull at all; the spectators couldn't have guessed the hectic event about to unfold in front of their eyes.

Shamrock scored first. One would have thought that City, away and facing the League of Ireland champions, would be demoralised and the game would be over. But that was not the case! 

Two goals in about five minutes put the visitors in the driving seat; the second is certainly a candidate for Goal of the Season; just as the match will as the match of the season, but no one was ever going to predict it at half-time.

Shamrock, as everyone expected, put a lot of pressure on the restart. Their slight domination led to their second goal. Back to how it all began.

I've only watched two games at Turner's Cross; I know it's only a few, but I'll fix it! Both were goalless draws.

However, the 0-0 against Wexford stamped City's promotion to the Premier Division. In that regard, Sérgio Conceição, current FC Porto manager, repeatedly says: 'I don't celebrate goals or wins, I celebrate trophies'.

Cork City may well have surprised the audience, and Rovers' clueless defence, by scoring two more goals.

Yes, the ball was put into the Rovers net for the fourth time. Unbelievable!

I remember looking at the scoreboard, it was 70 minutes and saying to the gentleman on my right-hand side, "This is it." 

Kevin Custovic of Cork City celebrates his goal against Shamrock Rovers. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Kevin Custovic of Cork City celebrates his goal against Shamrock Rovers. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

He was cautious: '"We'll see." 

In fairness, I didn't want to be part of another tie or anything like that. Of course, this time I had the opportunity to finally shout 'goal', and we all know the delights of doing that in the stadium, alongside your fellows.

We were all disappointed with Rovers scoring their fourth a few minutes before the final whistle. 

That's how it all finished in Tallaght on that cold Monday evening. Sweet and sour.

Once again, City dropped another two points at the end of their following away game at Sligo. I'd say that was a bitter pill to swallow, considering the home squad were never in front and their equaliser came from an injury-time penalty.

Two consecutive cursed away results for Cork City. In this context, what better than a visit to St Patrick's Atheltic, whose standards have been, to put it mildly, below expectations? The game is scheduled for next Friday.

How about ending that last-minute malediction in Inchicore against the Saints on a Good Friday? Sounds like a mission. I'll be there doing mine: cheering for City.

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