League of Ireland
The League of Ireland, together with the Football Association of Ireland, is one of the two main governing bodies responsible for organising association football in the Republic of Ireland. The term was used to refer to a single division league. However today the League of Ireland features four divisions – the Premier Division, the First Division, an U19 Division, the League of Ireland has always worked closely with the FAI and in 2006 the two bodies formally merged. All the divisions are currently sponsored by Airtricity and as a result the league is known as the SSE Airtricity League. In 2007, it one of the first leagues in Europe to introduce a salary cap. The leagues most successful club is Shamrock Rovers who have won 17 titles, together with Dundalk, Bohemians and Shelbourne they are one of four clubs in the league to feature a golden star above their badge in recognition of winning ten titles. Bohemians are the club in the league to have played every season in the top division. The League of Ireland was founded in 1921 as a division known as the A Division. The first season featured eight teams, all from County Dublin, the teams that competed in the first season were Bohemians, Dublin United, Frankfort, Jacobs, Olympia, St. Jamess Gate, Shelbourne and YMCA. The eight founding members had spent the 1920–21 season playing in the Leinster Senior League, Bohemians and Shelbourne had played in the 1919–20 Irish League. St Jamess Gate were the inaugural champions, Gate also went on to complete a treble having already won both the 1921–22 FAI Cup and 1921–22 Leinster Senior Cup. In 1922–23 the league was expanded to twelve clubs, among the new members were Shamrock Rovers, who finished as champions, and Athlone Town who became the first team from outside of County Dublin to compete in the league. Together with fellow Dublin clubs teams, Bohemians and Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers would go onto dominate the league during the 1920s, in 1924–25 Bray Unknowns and Fordsons became the second and third teams from outside of County Dublin to join the league. Fordsons also became the first team from Munster to play in the league, the league continued to expand numerically and geographically during its first two decades of existence. In 1926–27 Dundalk were elected to the league and in 1932–33 became the first club from outside of County Dublin to win the title, Dundalk were subsequently joined by Waterford in 1930–31, Cork Bohemians in 1932–33, Sligo Rovers in 1934–35 and Limerick F. C. in 1937–38. In 1936–37, Sligo Rovers became the club from outside of County Dublin to win the title. During The Emergency/Second World War era Cork United emerged as the leagues strongest team, the club won five league titles between 1940–41 and 1945–46, including three in succession. However they subsequently resigned from the league in 1948, the 1950s was marked by the emergence of St Patricks Athletic and the re-emergence of Shamrock Rovers
Sligo Rovers F.C.
Sligo Rovers Football Club is a professional Irish football club playing in the Premier Division of the League of Ireland. The club was founded in 1928 and have been in the League of Ireland since 1934, the club is a co-operative venture, owned by the people of Sligo. Rovers have played at The Showgrounds since their inception and they recently won a third FAI Cup in four years and in the season previous to this recent cup win became the 2012 Premier Division Champions, winning the title with two games to spare. In total they have won three titles, five FAI Cups and two League cups. On 27 February 2012 Rovers had announced an international sponsorship deal with local car dealers Connollys Volkswagen. Sligo Rovers Football Club was formed on 17 September 1928 as a result of an amalgamation of two sides, Sligo Town and Sligo Blues. Their first game was a 9-1 victory against Ballyshannon in Donegal on 23 September 1928 in the round of the Connacht Cup. The club, elected to the League of Ireland in 1934, hails from Sligo, the home colours are red with white sleeve uppers, with white shorts and socks while the away colours are white with red sides, red shorts and red socks. The third alternative kit is navy with red sleeve uppers, nacy shorts, the club started well by winning the FAI Junior Cup in their first ever season, beating Grangegorman in the final at the Showgrounds 3-0. The following season also brought silverware in the shape of the Connacht Junior Cup with Rovers beating Galway in the final 1-0 after a replay. After this success the club moved up another level the season by joining the Leinster Senior League and played their first game away to UCD in August 1932. The club performed well in their first season at this level eventually finishing third as Brideville won the league. This season also saw The Bit O Red make their first appearance in the FAI Cup, the next year brought yet more glory with the club winning the Leinster Senior League in only their second year at this level. They did so by beating Distillery in a play-off at Tolka Park 3-2 after the teams had finished the league level on points. Following this achievement the club was elected to the Free State League on 28 June 1934 along with Waterford as both Shelbourne and Cork Bohemians resigned from the league, the team finished a highly credible third in that season with Gerry McDaid finishing as top scorer. During this season local Paddy Monaghan won two caps for the Irish national team and is still the man to have achieved this while at the club. The 1936–37 season began in spectacular fashion with Sligo winning their first 11 games, trainer and captain that year was Jimmy Surgeoner in his only season at the club. Top scorer was Englishman Harry Litherland whose record of 19 league goals that season was surpassed by Eoin Doyle in 2011 season scoring 20 league goals, the club also won the Dublin City Cup this year beating Dundalk in the final
Shelbourne Football Club is an Irish association football club based in Drumcondra, Dublin, who play in the League of Ireland First Division. Shelbourne were founded in Dublin in 1895, in 1904 the club joined the Irish Football League, which was then an all Ireland competition, before becoming founding members of the League of Ireland in 1921. Shelbourne have won the league 13 times and are one of three clubs to have won both the IFA Cup and the FAI Cup and they play their home matches at Tolka Park, in the Dublin suburb of Drumcondra. The club colours are red and white, with home jerseys being predominantly red. Shels is the clubs most common nickname, an abbreviation of Shelbourne, in the 2004/2005 European season, Shelbourne became the first Irish club to reach the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. Their performances in European competition and former striker Jason Byrne being capped for the Republic of Ireland whilst with the club, the club lost their Premier Division licence for the 2007 season due to the clubs debt situation. Since then, Shelbourne have mainly played in the tier of the League of Ireland. Shelbourne Football Club was formed in 1895 in the Ringsend area of Dublin by a group of men led by Mr. James Rowan, the club took its name from the nearby Shelbourne Road. The clubs first pitch was at Havelock Square just behind the stand at the present day Aviva Stadium. Shelbournes second season was their first in competitive competition, Shelbourne played 28 matches, won 25, drew 2 and lost only 1. Their goal tally was 109 for and 15 against, Shelbourne won the principal junior competitions, the Leinster Junior Cup and League Championship. The club decided to enter the ranks for the 1897–98 Season and reached the Leinster Senior Cup Final at their first attempt. They also finished runners-up in the Leinster Senior League, the club won their first Leinster Senior Cup in 1899/1900, Shelbourne won the competition again in 1901 and 1904. The club made it into the Final of the IFA Cup in 1905 but were beaten by Distillery, in 1906 Shelbourne player Val Harris became the clubs first player to line out for Ireland. Shelbourne reached the IFA Cup Final again in 1907 and 1908 but were beaten on both occasion in replays against Cliftonville and Bohemians, in 1907 Shelbourne were also Irish Football League runners-up to Linfield. They won the Leinster Senior Cup again in 1908 and 1909, in 1909 Shelbourne were City Cup winners and finished 3rd place in the Irish Football League, behind champions Linfield and Glentoran. In 1911 Shelbourne won the IFA Cup for their second time, Shelbourne won the Leinster Senior Cup again in 1913 and 1914. Shelbourne were 1914 Gold Cup runners-up, and then winners in 1915, Shelbourne were Leinster Senior Cup winners again in 1917 and 1919
Dundalk Football Club is an Irish professional association football club based in Dundalk, County Louth. The club currently plays in the League of Ireland Premier Division and are the current reigning champions, founded in 1903, it is the second most successful team, in terms of trophies won, in the history of the League of Ireland. The traditional colours of the club are white jerseys with black shorts, because of the white jerseys, the team has been nicknamed The Lilywhites. Home games are played in Oriel Park, a local rivalry is shared with Drogheda United, their Louth neighbours, who entered the League in 1963 as Drogheda FC and later became Drogheda United in 1975. In 2002, the won the FAI Cup for a ninth time. Dundalk celebrated its 2000th league game against Finn Harps on Thursday 8 March 2007 in Oriel Park to a crowd of 3,000 spectators. In 2016, the became the first Irish side to reach the play-off round of the UEFA Champions League after their shock 3–1 aggregate win over FC BATE Borisov. They were beaten by Legia Warsaw in the final play-off round and they became the first Irish side to win a group stage game in European competition when they beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 1–0 at home. The Dundalk team had beaten Institution 2nd XI 1–0, the club continued to exist until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. However, other clubs began to make their presence felt in the locality. One in particular, the Great Northern Railway Association Club, otherwise known as the Dundalk GNR, founded in September 1903, the Dundalk GNR were located at the Athletic Grounds and competed in the Dundalk and District League from 1905 until 1914, although media coverage remained patchy. Sports coverage was re-instated in the media in 1919, with the Dundalk. Included among the teams was a representing the Dundalk GNR. The club were also partaking in the Newry League at the time, the Dundalk GNR was not involved in the fledgling League of Ireland, which began at the start of the 1921–22 season. It involved only Dublin-based clubs, all of which had stepped up from the Leinster Senior League Senior Division and this ultimately opened the way for the Dundalk GNR to move up to the Leinster Senior League. It was the club from outside the capital to compete in the 1922–23 season. The first game in the League of Ireland ended in a 2–1 loss to Fordsons on 21 August. The club, still known as the Dundalk GNR, and continuing in the black and amber kit from their pre-First World War origins, the match ended in a 2–1 defeat
Waterford Football Club is an Irish association football club based in Waterford. They currently play in the League of Ireland First Division, the club was founded and elected to the league in 1930 Originally the club was based at the greyhound stadium known as Kilcohan Park, but have now moved to the Waterford Regional Sports Centre. Waterford first participated in the league in the 1930–31 season finishing ninth, Waterford re-entered the league in the 1935–36 season along with Sligo Rovers. Waterford won the Shield in their first season, Waterford won the FAI cup for the first time in their history in 1937 beating St. James Gate and also won the Shield. The club were runners up in 1937–38 season and again in the 1940–41 season. At the end of the campaign, the original Waterford resigned from the League of Ireland, only for a new entity, with the name, to be elected in. Waterford won the Shield again in the 1952–53 season and were again runners-up in the League this time to St. Patricks Athletic in the 1954–55 season and again in the 1962–63 season. The club eventually won the title for the first time in the 1965–66 season. The 1965/66 title was the beginning of a successful spell for the club domestically. The following season played in the preliminary round of the Champions cup against Vorwärts Berlin. They won the Shield once again in 1968–69 season, Waterford won the league title three times in a row, in 1968,1969 and in 1970. The title was won by Cork Hibernians in 1971 but returned to Waterford in the 1971–1972 season, the following season Waterford won the League of Ireland Cup, however failed to regain the league title. The Club won the FAI Cup in 1980 beating St. Patricks Athletic with the winner from Brian Gardner, waterfords success in the league brought European football playing against famous clubs such as Manchester United and Celtic. Bobby Charlton had a spell at the club in 1976. In May 1982, the Club changed its name to Waterford United, in 1985 the leagues membership rose to 22 clubs with the election of six new clubs in 1985. This resulted in the introduction of the present two Division structure in 1985/86 of which Waterford was a member of the Premier Division, Waterford were relegated to the First Division in the 1988–89 season. Their stay there was short, gaining promotion and winning the First Division title the following season 1989–90 and they were unable to retain their Premier Division status the following season finishing in eleventh. The club was promoted to the top flight in the 1991–92 season finishing as runners up to Limerick, but again the club were unable to remain in the Premier Division for more than a single season suffering relegation on goal difference to Drogheda United