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
St Patrick's Athletic F.C.
St Patricks Athletic F. C. is an Irish association football club based in Inchicore, Dublin, that plays in the Irish Premier Division. Founded in May 1929, they played originally in the Phoenix Park, St Patricks Athletic have won numerous trophies in Irish Club Football, including nine League Titles, the fifth most in Irish Football, as well as three FAI Cups and two League Cups. The current manager is Liam Buckley, who is in his spell in charge at the club after replacing Pete Mahon in 2011. The club graduated through the ranks of the Leinster Senior League and duly took their place in the League of Ireland in 1951, the clubs glory years came in the 1950s and 1990s when they won 7 of their 9 league titles. The club also have the record for never having been relegated from the Premier Division, the club play in red and white colours, and their nicknames include The Saints, Supersaints and Pats. The Saints also have a lot of Dublin Derby games with the likes of Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers, during the late 1940s and 1950s St Pats played in the Leinster Senior League. During this period won the league title on six occasions. This included four successive titles between 1947–48 and 1950–51, in 1947–48 St Pats completed a treble after also winning both the FAI Intermediate Cup and Leinster Senior Cup. The 1948–49 season would see St Pats win a Leinster Senior League / FAI Intermediate Cup double, in 1950–51 a young Shay Gibbons helped St Pats win the Leinster Senior League title for a fourth time. After St Pats first team joined the League of Ireland in 1951–52, in 1951–52 the club was admitted, along with Cork side Evergreen United, to the League of Ireland. St Pats made an impact, winning the league championship at their first attempt. Two more league championship successes followed in 1954–55 and 1955–56, the club had to wait until 1959 before their first FAI Cup success, repeating the feat in 1961. and Willie Peyton are players who contributed greatly during this era. St Pats struggled throughout the late 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s with only the odd cup final or young star emerging to brighten things for long suffering Pats fans, among those players to emerge was Noel Campbell. Campbell spent a number of years with St Pats before moving to SC Fortuna Köln where he would play 8 seasons, perhaps the brightest star to play for St Pats was Paul McGrath. McGrath was signed by Saints manager Charlie Walker from junior side Dalkey United, within a year he had won the PFAI Player of the Year award and earned himself a move to Manchester United. The World cup Winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks also played one match for St Pats, the appointment of Brian Kerr as manager in 1986 was a major turning point in the fortunes of the club. Kerr worked on limited resources to create team capable of challenging the best, at the end of the 1988/89 season St Pats left Richmond Park for what the board of directors called a short time while redevelopment work was done. Playing in Harolds Cross, Kerrs blend of players and experienced campaigners disregarded by other clubs won the clubs first league championship in 34 years on Easter Monday 1990
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
Shamrock Rovers F.C.
Shamrock Rovers Football Club is an Irish association football club based in Tallaght, South Dublin. The clubs senior team competes in the League of Ireland Premier Division, the club has won the League of Ireland title a record 17 times and the FAI Cup a record 24 times. Shamrock Rovers have supplied more players to the Republic of Ireland national football team than any other club, in All-Ireland competitions, such as the Intercity Cup, they hold the record for winning the most titles, having won seven cups overall. Shamrock Rovers were founded in Ringsend, Dublin, the official date of the clubs foundation is 1899. They won the League title at the first attempt in the 1922–23 season and established themselves as Republic of Ireland most successful club by 1949, winning 44 major trophies. During the 1950s, the club won three League titles and two FAI Cups and became the first Irish team to compete in European competition, playing in the European Cup in 1957. They won the first of four League titles in a row in 1983–84, the club played at Glenmalure Park from 1926 to 1987, when the owners controversially sold the stadium to property developers. Shamrock Rovers spent the next 22 years playing home games at various venues around Dublin and on occasions and they moved into Tallaght Stadium prior to the start of the 2009 season after years of delays and legal disputes, during which time the clubs supporters saved them from extinction. Shamrock Rovers wore green and white striped jerseys until 1926, when adopted the green. Their club badge has featured a football and a shamrock throughout their history, the club has a relatively large support base and shares an intense rivalry with Bohemian Football Club. On 26 August 2011 Rovers became the first Irish side to reach the stages of either of the top two European competitions by beating Partizan Belgrade in the play-off round of the Europa League. The foundation of Shamrock Rovers is disputed amongst supporters of the club, no official documentation of the era exists. Essentially, the dispute is whether the two years of exhibition games were played before or after the registration. In light of the discovery of evidence supporting a date before April 1899 the club opened a 1899 Suite in Tallaght Stadium in February 2017. Shamrock Rovers originate from Ringsend, a Southside inner suburb of Dublin, the name of the club derives from Shamrock Avenue in Ringsend, where the first club rooms were secured. In September 1906, after a few seasons in operation, Rovers withdrew from the First Division of the Leinster Senior League, in 1914, they were resurrected and started playing their matches at Ringsend Park. However, the park became unavailable within two years, the club disbanded and played only exhibition games for the next five years. The following season, the won the League of Ireland title at the first attempt, going 21 games unbeaten
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
Cork Celtic F.C.
Cork Celtic F. C. originally Evergreen United F. C. was an Irish football club based in Cork. They played in the League of Ireland between 1951 and 1979 and played their games at Turners Cross. In 1974 they were League of Ireland champions and the season they reached the second round of the European Cup. The clubs foundation date is unknown, but its earliest appearance in the FAI Cup was in 1936-37, Evergreen finished as League runners-up in 1953 and 1959. In 1953 they also played in an all-Cork FAI Cup final against Cork Athletic, during the 1956-57 season Evergreen’s Donal Leahy finished as joint top goalscorer in the league with 15 goals. In the following two seasons Leahy finished top goalscorer outright with 16 and 22 goals respectively. Irish international Tommy Moroney finished his career with Evergreen and, on October 4,1953 in a World Cup qualifier against France. In 1959 the club changed its name to Cork Celtic, as Celtic in the 1960s they enjoyed a local rivalry with Cork Hibernians. In 1974 with a team that included Alfie Hale and Bobby Tambling, Tambling, a former Chelsea player and England international had initially moved to Ireland to work as a Jehovahs Witness missionary. He scored 7 league goals in his first season as he helped Celtic win the title, in subsequent seasons Celtic attracted several other notable players. On the back of League success in 1974, Paul ODonovan signed George Best, in December 1975 George Best had a brief spell with Celtic in between equally brief spells at Stockport County and Los Angeles Aztecs. He played only three games, against Drogheda United, Bohemians and Shelbourne, but despite attracting big crowds he failed to score or impress. In 1976 Geoff Hurst spent a month with Celtic, scoring three goals during his brief stay, uwe Seeler also played one game for Celtic during the 1977-78 season and scored twice in a 6–2 defeat to Shamrock Rovers