As part of the CAFE #MyMatchday series, we interviewed Bohemians fan Eamonn Gallagher.

How long have you been a supporter of your club?

I always had an interest in football and supported Liverpool from an early age, but going to Anfield wasn’t something I could do often with the cost of getting to Liverpool and accommodation.

So I started going to Bohemians matches when I was about 18 or 19 years old. My friend’s brother’s signed for the club. and everyone within our friendship group started to go to the matches mainly because of him. 

After losing the majority of my sight a few years ago, I didn’t expect I’d ever go to a match again. It was down to Bohs introducing audio-descriptive commentary that brought me back to going to matches again. I never thought I would be able to take my kids to matches, but because of ADC I can!

I go with my eldest daughter who is 17, and she loves the whole matchday experience. The other kids have been to games with me on occasions as well. In fact, my six year old son really enjoys going so I think he will be following his dad and sister in becoming a Bohemians season ticket holder soon. 

What is your earliest memory of going to a match?

My first ever live match was a pre-season friendly at the old Lansdowne Road stadium when I was 10 – University College Dublin against Liverpool. My grandfather took me and my brother. Liverpool had the likes of Robbie Fowler, Steve McMananan and Jamie Redknapp all playing.

My first Bohs match was in 2004, an UEFA Cup qualifying match against Levadia Tallinn. My friend’s brother played in the game. I have still got the ticket in a memories box in the attic.

Who is your favourite ever player and why?

For Bohs, I am going to have to say my friend’s brother – Thomas Heary. He is the reason that I started to go to Bohemians matches in the first place. For Liverpool, it would have to be Steven Gerrard. The impact he had, and the goals he scored in finals, he gave everything for the team.

What does your typical matchday routine look like?

Nothing out of the ordinary really. I tend to get to the stadium a little earlier to collect an ADC receiver. Then we’ll go to our seats, there is no designated seating at the ground, so we can sit wherever we like. We always try to go by the halfway line.

I can see a limited amount, and the halfway line seats allow me to have some view of the match. Sitting there whilst listening to the ADC gives me an overall picture of everything. My daughter and friends also have good views from the halfway line seating.

How important is it to you that you have an inclusive experience when attending your club’s matches?

It’s good for me to have the matches to go to, as it gives me something to look forward to. Not only does it allow for time spent with my daughter, but I am also able to meet up with mates who I may not see all that often if it wasn’t for going to Bohs.

If ADC wasn’t provided, and I wasn’t able to sit wherever I liked, I wouldn’t have become a season ticket holder as the experience wouldn’t allow me to enjoy the match in the same way as I do now. Having ADC is everything for me now. Without it, it just wouldn’t be right - just seeing small bits of the play, but not really knowing what is going on.

I am planning to go to some away games this season. I know ADC won’t be available at some of these games, but I still want to go, as going to away match is a great day out with friends. It would be nice if ADC was more wildly available throughout Ireland, as I know it won’t be the same going to these matches.

What in your opinion are the differences in ADC commentary than standard radio or TV commentary?

The main difference for me is the level of detail provided by ADC. For example, if there is a corner, ADC helps me to know what type of corner is being taken, from which corner of the ground, where other players are in relation to the taker so I can visualise things in my head. Normal radio commentary doesn’t give any fine detail, so all I can really understand is that there is a corner being taken.

What do you think that clubs can do to help improve the matchday experience for all disabled supporters?

It is probably very simplistic, but for me clubs should listen to their disabled fans more and make it as easy as possible for disabled fans to communicate with the club. We’re able to reach out to our access officer, James, via email or phone and he is always telling disabled fans to let him know of any issues so he can resolve them.

Disabled fans are the ones who are going to games, so it is important that they are listened to by clubs as they are living the matchday experience.

Do you feel valued by your club as a disabled fan?

Bohs do a great deal for disabled fans and to help make their matchday as inclusive as possible. While games were being played without fans, the club still provided ADC commentary via an online link. So I was at home with my headphones on listening to the detailed commentary just like I would if I had been at the ground.

I thought that was a really great thing to do, and was much appreciated during a time when everyone was missing going to the games. Season tickets were only available online, so I spoke with our access officer and he put in place a different way for me to purchase our season tickets that didn’t involve going online. We now have a Disabled Supporters Association (DSA) which I am sure will make a big difference going forward too.

What impact has attending your club’s matches had on you?

It has helped me a great deal as I was lost when I first became disabled. I couldn’t drive anymore, I had to give up work and I just didn’t know what to do with myself really. Going back to Bohs has given me something to look forward to each fortnight.

I have been able to take my kids to matches, I see my friends and meet new people. I am part of the DSA, so that has given me something new to get involved in as well and I am looking forward to being able to meet up with the members in person, as we’ve not been able to do so yet due to Covid.

What message would you give to a disabled fan who has not yet been to a live match?

Just come along and try it. I don’t think you would regret it. I sure haven’t, as it has given me something to enjoy again. You can watch as many games as you like on the TV, but you won’t get that buzz and that sense of excitement of being part of the live atmosphere. I can’t wait for the new season to start in February and to get back to Dalymount Park again.

We would like to thank Eamonn for sharing his powerful story with us and taking part in the #MyMatchday series. Eamonn's story highlights some of the common issues faced by many disabled fans, as well as the importance of ADC at matches.

For more information on ADC, please visit our dedicated webpage or contact the CAFE Media & Communications Manager and ADC Lead, Michael Rice, by email at [email protected] or call +44 (0)203 355 9867.

If you are a disabled fan, or know a disabled fan who would like to participate in our #MyMatchday interviews, please feel free to contact CAFE’s Fan Liaison, Access and Administration Officer, Amy Wilson, by email at [email protected] or call +44 (0)203 355 9867. You can also contact CAFE via Twitter at @cafefootball and Facebook on

Published 18/1/2022