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
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
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
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
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
Drogheda United F.C.
Drogheda United Football Club is an Irish association football club based in Drogheda, County Louth. The club are members of the League of Ireland First Division and they play their home matches at United Park. The current club is the amalgamation of two clubs in the town, Drogheda United, a non-league club founded in 1919. In their first season there they finished tenth and also in each of the three seasons finished in the bottom three. In the 1967–68 season they achieved a respectable fifth-place finish and the season finished in sixth place. They did, however, get to FAI Cup final that season where they were beaten 3–0 by Limerick, for the next three seasons, quite the opposite at what had happened before, they finished in third place. During these seasons Drogheda United also achieved two club records - their biggest league victory and Cathal Muckian scoring 21 league goals in a season and they did win their first ever trophy during these seasons also, the League of Ireland Cup in the 1983–84 season. They remained in the First Division until the 1988–89 season when they went up as First Division Champions and their joy was short-lived, however, as the following season they were relegated although this time they achieved promotion at the first time of asking. In the next two seasons Drogheda battled bravely against relegation surviving by one point and on goal difference in the respective seasons, however, they were relegated for the third time in the 1993–94 season. Paul Doolin took over and upped the standard of training and fitness levels, however, he found that to compete with the big clubs like Bohemians and Shelbourne he would need a professional squad. In 2004, he made the fully professional and gave part-time players the option to turn professional or leave the club. The change to full-time saw the clubs fortunes drastically improve and they won their first FAI Cup in 2005, beating Cork City in the final and won back-to-back Setanta Cups in 2006 and 2007. They also qualified for the UEFA Cup for the 2006–07 season thanks to their 2005 FAI Cup success and they were also in the UEFA Cup Qualifying stages for the 2007–08 campaign, losing to Helsingborgs IF in the second round. United finally won the League Of Ireland for the first time in 2007, guy Bates scored the winning goal for Drogheda that day, shooting himself into Drogs folklore. Drogheda were dominant in the league, only losing three games and winning the title by seven points, the league win meant that Drogheda would be playing in the Champions League Qualifiers for the first time in their history in the 2008–09 season. They succeeded in their first qualifier against Levadia Tallinn, beating them 3–1 on aggregate and they played the Second Qualifying Round against Dynamo Kyiv which, they ended up losing 4–3 on aggregate. In the first a goal for Kiev secured a 2–1 victory at Dalymount Park. In the second game, an early Kiev goal after 13 minutes seemed to have finished the tie, Shane Robinson stepped up and slotted home the spot-kick
Limerick Football Club is an association football club based in Limerick, Ireland who play in the League of Ireland Premier Division. The first Limerick Football Club was founded in 1937 and has had a number of guises through its history, known at different times as Limerick, Limerick United, Limerick City, each manifestation of the club has been the sole representative of senior football in Limerick city since 1937. Limerick won the League of Ireland title twice, in the 1959–60 and 1979–80 seasons, and they also won the League of Ireland Cup three times, 1975–76, 1992–93 and 2001–02. The club has competed in European competitions on six occasions, the success of these fixtures prompted the LDMC to form a senior side and attempt to gain entry to the Free State League. Their application was accepted in June 1937 and a Limerick senior team replaced Dolphin who had withdrawn from the league, on 19 July 1937, a new, private company, Limerick Association Football and Sports Co. On 22 August 1937, Limerick played its first match and it was against Shamrock Rovers in the Dublin City Cup, a prominent competition that ran from the 1930s to the 1970s, and won 1–0. During those early seasons, Limerick lined out in red-and-white striped jerseys, when Waterford resigned from the league in 1941, the club purchased their blue jerseys and would wear blue and white for the next 40 years. The latter was the forerunner of the League Cup, the third most important competition after the League and they won the Munster Senior Cup again in 1948–49. It was not until the 1950s that Limerick captured their first national title when they won the Shield in 1953 and they added to this when they captured the Dublin City Cup in 1958–59, beating Drumcondra in the final. Limerick captured their first League of Ireland championship in the 1959–60 season under the management of Limerick man Sonny Price, who had played for Limerick, Waterford and Glentoran. Although they lost their last match 3–2 to St. Patricks Athletic on Sunday,17 April 1960, they still managed to win the league by two points from Cork Celtic. The Limerick board decided they wanted to develop a team and so they brought in Ewan Fenton, then aged 29, from Wrexham to implement their plan. He was a hit with staff, players and fans and his quiet. He also helped build on the success that Sonny Price had gained with the team, Limerick lost FAI Cup finals in 1965 and again in 1966 to Shamrock Rovers before they finally captured the title in 1971, beating Drogheda United 3–0 in a replay. That team included Andy McEvoy, Richie Hall, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Al Finucane, Sean Byrnes, Tony Meaney, Joe O’Mahony, Hughie Hamilton and Paddy Shortt. Fenton also advanced the careers of other notable Limerick players such as Dessie McNamara, Gerry McCarthy, Mick Doyle, Dick O’Connor, Johnny Walsh, Pat Nolan, Limerick had captured a further two Dublin City Cups under Fenton, in 1967 and 1970. Ewan Fenton left Limerick in 1967 to talk up the position with Linfield. The early 1970s saw some turbulent financial times for Limerick coupled with diminishing fortunes on the field, frankie Johnson took over as manager for the 1976–77 season and Limerick were beaten 2–0 by Dundalk in the FAI Cup Final, but this was again coupled with a poor league performance