There was an international flavour to Saturday’s domestic meeting between Portadown and Ballyclare Comrades at Shamrock Park.
Two interested observers from Norway were part of the Bluefin Sport Championship crowd during the pair’s three-day football tour that included the Ports match within a four-game schedule.
Lars Erik Bolstad and Geir Florhaug spent part of Saturday afternoon enjoying the sights and sounds of the Irish League game.
It marked the penultimate match for the two football fans that also included World Cup qualifiers for England and the Republic of Ireland before wrapping up the trip with Shelbourne’s League of Ireland win.
Bolstad and Florhaug work in software and advertising respectively but have turned a love of football into an innovative app designed to bring the global game’s fan community closer together thanks to modern technology.
The Groundhopper app, available across iTunes and Google Play, has a database of over 12,000 stadiums covering fixtures across 600-plus leagues.
“We set it up about five years ago and the app is building a steady audience,” said Bolstad. “You can open the app and it will tell you about any games in the area.
“You can log a game you have been to watch and even search the history to find past fixtures then add your details.
“It is a fun way to interact with other fans.”
Both enjoyed a first match in Northern Ireland.
“We arrived early, thinking it was a 2 o’clock kick-off,” said Florhaug. “Everyone was really helpful and we enjoyed a few pre-match drinks, chatting to fans before heading into the match.
“We had only really seen a photograph online of the ground but Shamrock Park was impressive and had fun on a pre-match tour around the inside and home changing room.
“We received a warm welcome, with everyone extremely friendly.”
Visit the Groundhopper account on Twitter and Facebook for more information.