Ards Football Club is a semi-professional, Northern Irish football club playing in NIFL Premiership. The club, founded in 1900, is formerly from Newtownards, but plays its matches at Clandeboye Park in Bangor. Club colours are red and blue, Ards were forced to sell their Castlereagh Park home in 1998 to try to reduce their crippling debts. The stadium remained well tended for another three years while plans for a new ground further down the road were developed. In 2002 Castlereagh Park was demolished, as planned, Ards hoped to play at a new community-owned site, a stones throw from Castlereagh Park that was due to be developed in 2010 by the local council. This plan has since been shelved, and they are still the nomads of Northern Irish football, for the 2012–13 season they played their home games at Clandeboye Park and were promoted to the NIFL Premiership for the 2013–14 season and went straight back down that season. Ards 2014–15 season was a season of change, with players coming and going from the club. The 2015–16 was a one with Ards reaching the league cup final by knocking out premiership sides Ballinamallard United. These included experienced Premiership players such as Ballymena United centre-back Johnny Taylor, other recruitments included defender Stuart McMullan and French striker Guillaume Keke, both signed from Larne. Ards started the season with a creditible 2–2 draw with Cliftonville, plans were under-way to develop Londonderry Park as the new grounds for the team. Planning officials gave Ards Borough Council the go-ahead on the £3.8 million plan in October 2010, in 2009, supporters launched a campaign, Bring Ards FC Home, in which they publicised the need in the media and had discussions with politicians. Back as far as November 2008, the Council had discussed the need for a new Ards stadium, plans included upgrades to the existing grass surfaces and the addition of new synthetic surfaces, and to allow for the possibility of future upgrading to meet regulations should the need arise. The ground would have continued to provide facilities for hockey. However, in August 2012 it was announced that Ards Borough Council would not be proceeding with the new stadium, and the plans were shelved. Andy Bothwell,5 caps, 1925–27 Tommy Forde,4 caps, 1958–60 Billy Humphries,1 cap,1962 Paul Kee,2 caps,1994 Ards FC Website Ards Statistics and Results at the Irish Football Club Project
Ballymena United F.C.
Ballymena United Football Club is a semi-professional football club from Northern Ireland. Based in Ballymena, County Antrim, the team competes in the NIFL Premiership, Ballymena United was formed in 1934 as a replacement for the earlier Ballymena that had folded following a dispute regarding the illegal payment of amateur players. The club has never won the title in its history. The club has won the County Antrim Shield on five occasions. The main club rivals of Ballymena United would be local club Coleraine, the traditional Boxing Day fixture between the two teams attracts large crowds and is one of the most high-profile fixtures in the Northern Irish football calendar. Ballymena Football Club was formed on 7 April 1928, when four local businessmen, four men – Albert McClelland, DB Elliott, John Gordon and James McIlhagga – tapped into the popular mood of the period that the time had arrived for Ballymena to be represented in senior circles. The newly formed club took the place of Barn United in the Irish League for the 1928–29 season, however, five days later Ballymena gained their first point in a 2–2 away to Larne and created another landmark when Jimmy McCambridge scored the clubs first ever goal. Ballymena defeated Glentoran, Broadway United and Coleraine en route to a showdown with League Champions Belfast Celtic at Solitude. A remarkable 2–1 victory over Celtic followed with goals from Jamie Shiels, a replica of the trophy was produced and awarded to the club for winning the Irish Cup in their first season. Ballymena were unlucky at Solitude as they lost 4–3 to the Windsor Park Blues, with goals from Davy Reid, however, this was arguably the most forgettable of the three cup finals as a poor effort saw Ballymena lose to Linfield again by three goals without reply. The following season brought wholesale changes at the Showgrounds, despite a poor start to the 1931–32 season the team began to gel in September, now renowned as cup specialists the Light Blues reached the final of the Gold Cup, eventually losing 3–0 to nearby rivals, Coleraine. Despite an early exit from the Irish Cup for the first time, Ballymena continued to threaten a very competitive league, despite a bright start the 1932–33 campaign proved to be the leanest so far during the clubs very short history. Early exits in all the cup competitions and failure to challenge in the Irish League summarised a disappointing season for Ballymena, little did anyone realise in August 1933 what the importance of the following nine months in the history of Ballymena FC. This was to be the last season in which the club took part in senior football, in 1934, club chairman Albert McClelland was overheard making a remark that something had to be done to curb the payments to amateurs. When word of his comments reached the Irish League they immediately suspended the club, Ballymenas directors refused claiming that they were being made scapegoats for a practice which was widespread among the other clubs in the Irish League. Failure to meet the deadline for the presentation of accounts stipulated by the League resulted in Ballymenas dismissal from senior football. Immediately attempts were made to reinstate the club but when these were rejected it was suggested that the club be renamed Ballymena United and merge with a junior club, Ballymena Crusaders. Happily this was acceptable to the League authorities although in reality it was virtually the same club as before with the ground, same players
Bangor Football Club is a Northern Irish football club playing in the NIFL Premier Intermediate League. The club, founded in 1918, hails from Bangor and plays its matches at the Bangor Fuels Arena. Club colours are gold and royal blue, connected with this announcement, manager Marty Quinn resigned and was appointed as manager of Glenavon. Marty Quinn was replaced by Colin McCurdy who guided Bangor through their first season back in Intermediate Football, Colin McCurdy resigned from his position on 18 September 2010 and former player Frankie Wilson was appointed. After a poor run of results which saw Bangor plunge to the bottom of Championship 1 at the end of 2012, Spike Hill was named as first team coach in October 2016 after Garth Scates and Jeff Montgomery resigned during a league game away to Limavady United. Kyle Spiers joined Spike Hill as Director of Football at the club at the time as Spikes arrival. The first Bangor FC was founded, according to local legend, back on dry land, a committee was formed and the new Bangor FC played at the Recreation Ground off the Brunswick Road, as a successful member of the Irish Football Alliance. Others were convinced that life should continue as normally as possible and within a matter of days a new Bangor FC was born, taking over the fixtures and many of the players of the old Bangor FC. Encouraged by early success, Bangor joined the then Intermediate league where they played until gaining admission into the Irish League in 1927 and their first senior match was a local derby against Ards at Castlereagh Park on 20 August 1927. The late twenties and thirties were times of depression, money was scarce, gates disappointing. Against this background, Bangor were able to field a team which was able to keep its head above water, at that time Bangor FC played at the Ballyholme Showgrounds where they had moved from their second home in Castle Street in 1923. They Showgrounds were situated just behind the Ballyholme Esplanade and, being based, had one of the best and robust surfaces in the Irish League. In 1934, the club was given notice to quit as the ground was required for building houses, Bangor enjoyed the most successful period in its history during the 1990s when the club qualified for Europe for the first time in its history after finishing second in the Irish League. This success was followed by winning the Irish Cup in 1993 after two replays against bitter rivals, Ards, paul Byrne, who scored the winning goal with the last kick of the game, moved on to Celtic. In October 2007, the announced that a deal had been struck with property developers to sell land at the rear of the ground. Unfortunately, their stay in the Premiership only lasted a season as midway through the campaign the Club decided not to re-apply for the Domestic Licence that was required to compete at this level. As a result, Bangor FC were relegated at the end of the season, the first season back in Intermediate football proved quite difficult with a hastily arranged, young squad. A draw in the match of the season against Ballymoney United ensured that they avoided the ignominy of relegation to Championship 2 by a single point
Coleraine Football Club is a Northern Irish semi-professional football club, playing in the NIFL Premiership. The club, founded in 1927, hails from Coleraine, County Londonderry, Club colours are blue and white. The current manager is Oran Kearney of Linfield. The Bannsiders won the Irish League title once, the club was formed out of a merger between two local sides, Coleraine Olympic and Coleraine Alexandra. The original club colours were all white, hence the original nickname – the Lilywhites. The new club secured its first trophy in the 1931–32 season, in 1948, Coleraine reached its first Irish Cup final, going down 3–0 to Linfield. 1953 brought another appearance in the final and another defeat, again to Linfield, the 1950s saw the City Cup won for the first time and a second triumph in the Gold Cup. In 1961, chairman Jack Doherty persuaded Bertie Peacock to sign for Coleraine after he left Celtic and it would prove to be one of the most important transfers in the clubs history. In 1965, Coleraine won the Irish Cup for the first time, defeating Glenavon 2–1 at Windsor Park, with goals from Shaun Dunlop, Coleraine thus gained its first experience of European football, against Soviet outfit Dynamo Kiev. Coleraine also won the first two Blaxnit all-Ireland cups in 1969 and 1970, Coleraine faced Kilmarnock in the 1970 Fairs Cup, and after a 1–1 draw in the first leg, the Bannsiders pulled off an historic 3–2 victory thanks to a Des Dickson hat-trick. In 1972, the Irish Cup was won again, this time by beating Portadown 2–1, with goals from Des Dickson, the Holy Grail of the Gibson Cup was finally captured in 1974. Under the management of Bertie Peacock, the squad consisting of the likes of Des Dickson, Johnny McCurdy, Ivan Murray, Michael Guy, Bertie Peacock resigned in 1974 and Ivan Murray and Johnny McCurdy took over the reins. Murray continued as manager until 1978 and during his spell in charge the Irish Cup was won twice more – both times against Linfield, in 1975, it took three games before a goal from Jim Chang Smith in the second replay proved decisive. The 1977 victory was more emphatic with Liam Beckett, Des Dickson, Frankie Moffatt and it was to be the clubs last major trophy for 26 years. In the 1980s there were two cup finals, in 1982 and 1986, ending in defeats to Linfield and Glentoran respectively. For three seasons in a row in the mid-1980s the club finished second in the league behind Linfield, in 1995 they dropped into the First Division. The next 2 seasons saw Coleraine finish fourth both times – potential title challenges being ruined by inconsistency, in 2002–03, Coleraine ended the season in third place and reached their first Irish Cup Final since 1986. In the final, they faced Glentoran as massive underdogs as the east Belfast side were looking to complete a sweep of trophies. After an early strike from Gareth McAuley was harshly ruled out, Coleraine kept going, despite increasing Glentoran pressure, Coleraine held on and the trophy famine was over
Derry City F.C.
Derry City Football Club is a professional football club based in Derry, Northern Ireland. It plays in the League of Ireland Premier Division and it was reinstated a few weeks later but demoted to the First Division, the second tier. The club are the League of Irelands only participant from Northern Ireland, the clubs home ground is the Brandywell Stadium and the players wear red and white striped shirts from which its nickname, the Candystripes, derives. Others refer to the club as the Red and White Army or abbreviate the name to Derry or City, the club, founded in 1928, initially played in the Irish League, the domestic league in Northern Ireland, and won a title in 1964–65. In 1971, security concerns related to the Troubles meant matches could not be played at the Brandywell, the team played home fixtures 30 miles away in Coleraine. After 13 years in football, it joined the League of Irelands new First Division for 1985–86. Derry won the First Division title and achieved promotion to the Premier Division in 1987, the club won a domestic treble in 1988–89, the only League of Ireland club so far to do so. Derry City was granted entry into the Irish League in 1929 as professionals and was given permission by the Londonderry Corporation to use the municipal Brandywell Stadium, the clubs first significant success came in 1935 when it lifted the City Cup. It repeated the feat in 1937, but did not win major trophy until 1949. This led to the clubs first entry into European competition, in the 1964–65 UEFA Cup Winners Cup, in which it was beaten by Steaua Bucharest 5–0 on aggregate. The club won the 1964–65 Irish League and subsequently became the first Irish League team to win a European tie over two legs, beating FK Lyn 8–6 on aggregate in the 1965–66 European Cup. Derry did not complete the round, as the Irish Football Association declared its ground was not up to standard. Derry suspected sectarian motives, as it played in a mainly nationalist city, the IFA, Belfast-based, was dominated by Protestants and it was widely suspected that it would rather have been represented by a traditionally unionist team. Relations between the club and IFA quickly deteriorated, despite the social and political unrest, Derry reached the Irish Cup final in 1971, in which it was beaten 3–0 by Distillery. As the republican locality surrounding the Brandywell saw some of the worst violence and this situation lasted from September 1971 until October 1972 when, faced with dwindling crowds and dire finances, the club formally requested permission to return to the Brandywell. Continuing without a ground was seen as unsustainable and on 13 October 1972 Derry withdrew from the league amidst a perception that it was forced out. The club continued as a team during the 13-year-long flim flam years, playing in the local Saturday morning league. Each time, the club nominated the Brandywell as its home ground
Glenavon Football Club is a semi-professional, Northern Irish football club playing in the NIFL Premiership. The club, founded in 1889, hails from Lurgan and plays its matches at Mourneview Park. Club colours are blue and white, Gary Hamilton has been player-manager of the Lurgan Blues since December 2011 following the resignation of Marty Quinn. Their matches are known as the Mid-Ulster Derby and Glenavons current player-manager Gary Hamilton played for Portadown before joining the Lurgan Blues, mcBrides reign lasted seven months before he was relieved of his managerial duties with Glenavon at the bottom of the IFA Premiership. The Director of Football, Alan Fraser, was relieved from his duties. The club chairman is Adrian Teer, Glenavon was the first provincial club to win the Irish League title and also the first provincial club to do the league and cup double. The latter triumph made them the first Northern Irish team to enter the European Cup. Glenavon has had a number of talented and famous players, none more so than Wilbur Cush and Jimmy Jones, the club then suffered a relatively poor spell during the early 2000s, which culminated in relegation to the second tier in the 2003–04 Irish League season. This was followed up by a 9th-place finish in the 2012–13 season, following on from this cup triumph was a successful 2014–15 season. Even more success was to follow, as the club claimed a 2nd Irish Cup win in three years, defeating David Healys Linfield 2–0 in the final, Glenavon was the first Northern Irish team to enter the European Cup. In their first tie they drew AGF of Denmark, drawing 0–0 at home, Glenavon achieved some more notable results in Europe in the 1990s. In the 1992–93 season, they drew both legs of their Cup Winners Cup tie with Royal Antwerp and lost on penalties, in 1995–96 they reached the first round proper of the UEFA Cup, and were beaten by Werder Bremen. Mourneview Park is now considered to be one of the best grounds in the Irish League, along the side of the pitch runs the Geddis Stand and on the other side the newly built Glenfield Road Stand. One end of the ground has the Crescent Stand, and at the end the Hospital End remains undeveloped. In addition to Glenavons home matches, the stadium is also a regular host for Northern Ireland under-21 matches, due to ongoing renovation of Windsor Park, Mourneview Park was chosen as the venue for Linfields home ties in the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality, Glenavon FCs Academy consists of teams at Under 7, Under 8, Under 9, Under 10, Under 11, Under 12, Under 13, Under 14, Under 15 and Under 16. There is also an Under 19 team which comes under the auspices of the Senior Club, gordons first task was to bring ex Glenavon legend Stephen McBride back to the club as the Academy head coach. The Glenavon FC Academy is now headed by Ryan Prentice, the Academy currently has three UEFA A Licence and two UEFA B Licence coaches
Larne Football Club is a semi-professional, Northern Irish football club playing in the NIFL Championship. The club, founded in 1889, hails from Larne and plays its matches at Inver Park. Club colours are red and white, the current manager is David McAlinden who was appointed to replace Graham McConnell as first team manager in November 2013. From 1972 until 2008, the club enjoyed senior status, and they also support a ladies team, whose colours are red, white and black. The ladies also have a team for ages 8–14. The ladies team has since pulled away from the side of the club. The club holds the record of appearing in five finals of the Irish Cup. They have been runners-up of the Irish Cup on five occasions and this makes it a combined seven major domestic cup finals without ever winning either competition - a record in Northern Irish football. The clubs greatest rival is Carrick Rangers, their matches are known as The East Antrim Derby, players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality. Larne FC Website Larne Ladies FC Website
Newry City F.C.
Newry City Football Club was a Northern Irish football club founded in 1918 and dissolved in 2012. It was based in Newry, County Down and played its matches at the Showgrounds. Club colours were blue and white, the formation of a new club called Newry City Athletic was finalised in March 2013, with the club starting life in the Mid-Ulster Football League for the 2013–14 season. The club was known as Newry Town - it was renamed in 2004. The club was formed in the autumn of 1918 and played its first season in the Newry and District League, the following season, Newry finished second in the league and joined the more competitive and higher standard Portadown and District League in 1921. In 1923, the applied to join the Irish League and on 20 July 1923 the club was admitted on a unanimous vote. The club played originally at the Marshes until the 1946-47 season, when a factory was built on the site, the club used this money to develop a new ground - the Showgrounds - adjacent to the Marshes, which opened at the start of the 1948-49 season. The Irish League was suspended because of the Second World War in 1940, when the Irish League resumed in 1947, it was with twelve rather than fourteen members, Newry and Larne losing their places. Newry played instead in the Irish Intermediate League until 1954, when the league folded due to the loss of members to the Irish League B Division, Newry, along with Dundela and Carrick Rangers failed to be accepted as B Division members and instead joined the Irish Alliance League. Newry were Alliance champions for the three seasons, before eventually securing admission to the B Division in 1957. In 1957-58, the Intermediate Cup was won for the first time, a feat repeated in 1966-67, in 1963, Pat Jennings was sold to Watford for £5,600. Newry won the Southern section of the B Division in 1974-75, a double was achieved in 1980-81, when Town won the B Division and the Intermediate Cup. On the back of this success, the applied to join the Irish League in 1981. The clubs most successful period was the late 1990s, after winning the First Division in the 1997–98 season, the club managed to finish fourth in the Premier Division, thus qualifying for the Intertoto Cup. In this, their first ever appearance in European competition, Newry Town were drawn against the Croatian side Hrvatski Dragovoljac, a 1–0 defeat in Croatia was followed by an historic 2–0 win at home to send the club into the second round. There they met Bundesliga side MSV Duisburg, again, Newry were drawn away in the first leg, coming away with a respectable 2–0 defeat to the German professionals. A 1–0 win at home was not enough to force extra time, since the 1999–2000 season, the club went into decline, culminating in a last-place finish in the league in 2002–03. However, thanks to the restructuring of the Irish Football League they were given the chance to avoid relegation, a 0–0 away draw and a 2–1 home win kept the club in the top flight
Portadown Football Club is a semi-professional, Northern Irish football club which plays in the NIFL Premiership. The club was founded in 1887 as a team looking to participate in the Mid-Ulster Cup. They eventually joined the Irish League with the help of local clubs in 1924. They are based in Portadown in County Armagh and play their games at Shamrock Park. The clubs colours are red and white, their home kit consists of red shirts, red shorts and red socks with white trim on all, the clubs main rivals are Glenavon with their derby game being known as the Mid Ulster Derby. The league fixtures are compiled each season so that one of their league meetings always takes place on Boxing Day, the club is also bitter rivals with Glentoran. Ronnie McFall served the club for 29 years as manager from 1986 to 2016, in 1887 the Mid Ulster Football Association was established and in Portadown a young group of men set about creating a football club to participate in the Mid-Ulster Cup. Early meetings of the committee were held in a dimly lit room for the Young Mens Institute in Edwards Street in Portadown where club secretary William Mullen would read the minutes by candlelight. Early games were played at Tavanagh and Ripleys Field, Armagh Road and Old Shamrock Park, among the early names to turn out for The Ports were Val Wilson who would later become High Sheriff for County Armagh and Harry Bell, whose father owned brickworks on the Armagh Road. They won the Irish Junior Cup beating Larne at Grosvenor Park on 18 March 1899 and that same season The Ports won their first ever cup double by bringing home the Mid-Ulster Cup for the first time. Portadown retained the trophy the following season and the five seasons before the outbreak of World War 1. The junior game was strong in the town at the time and The Ports had to compete for talent with teams such as Edenderry Arrows, Greenview from Edgarstown, Portadown Celtic. Portadown is the one of those clubs that remains today. In 1916 the new Irish Intermediate League was formed and Portadown were selected as one of the clubs for the new competition. However, they were forced to withdraw due to the number of players who had gone off to fight in the Great War. With the return of the men from the war the clamour for senior football was growing. The many junior clubs in that area put aside their rivalry with The Ports to back the bid to join the Irish League. This was in a time of expansionism in Irish Football with the league keen to take the game beyond the boundary of Belfast, the only team who were in the league at the time were bitter rivals Glenavon