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
Finn Harps F.C.
Finn Harps Football Club are an Irish football club playing in the Premier Division of the League of Ireland. The club was founded in 1954 and elected to the league in 1969 and they hail from Ballybofey, County Donegal and play their home matches at Finn Park. The clubs colours are blue and white, and they go by the nickname the Harps, the main successes of the club include winning an FAI Cup in 1973–74 and the First Division title in 2004. Finn Harps share a rivalry with Derry City with whom they contest the Northwest Derby. Finn Harps was formed in 1954 as a junior club, the clubs name derives from the river that runs through Ballybofey — the River Finn — and a traditional Irish symbol — the harp. They first came to prominence by winning the 1968 FAI Junior Cup. This enabled them to compete in the 1969 FAI Intermediate Cup, after they were knocked out of that competition, club directors Fran Fields and Patsy McGowan decided to apply to the League of Ireland for membership. The club was admitted into the ranks in May 1969. After initial worries that the club were not of sufficient standard the club became a force during the 1970s. Two years later, Dalymount Park was again the scene of the clubs only FAI Cup win, two goals from Brendan Bradley and one by Charlie Ferry saw off the challenge of St. Patricks Athletic. Finn Harps qualified for European competitions on four occasions during the 1970s, the club was again runner-up in the League of Ireland Cup finals of 1974 and 1975 to Waterford and Bohemians respectively. Through the 1970s, the club never finished in the bottom half of the table and were widely respected for their attractive. The 1980s saw a decline of the club in terms of competing with the best in Ireland. A series of changes were effected over the next few years in an attempt to raise the club. Patsy McGowan took over as manager for the time at the start of the 1992–93 season. The next three seasons saw the finish in the play-off position twice, although they were beaten both times, once by Cobh Ramblers and once by Athlone Town. McGowan was let go by the club before his aim of promotion could be completed, nevertheless, Finn Harps went on to win promotion at the end of the 1995–96 season to end their 11-season spell in the First Division. Charlie McGeever was appointed manager and despite time being against him, by the seasons conclusion, he had ensured that the clubs Premier Division status was retained
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
Dalymount Park is a football stadium in Phibsborough on the Northside of Dublin, Ireland. It is the home of Bohemian F. C. who have played there since the early 20th century, affectionately known as Dalyer by fans, it was also historically the home of Irish football, holding many Irish internationals and FAI Cup finals. It has also hosted UEFA Champions League qualifiers, UEFA Cup, however, the ground was largely undeveloped between the 1940s and the 2000s, and has now fallen out of use as a major venue, except for the home games of Bohemians. Bohemians have redeveloped the ground to some extent, in 1999 the old main stand was replaced by a modern structure with 2,742 seats, known as the Jodi Stand. This was at a cost of £1.1 million and this new structure replaced the 90-year-old wooden stand and at the time was meant to be phase one of the redevelopment of Dalymount Park. Half of the terrace on the side was knocked down. The old Shed End, now called The Des Kelly Carpets Stand has similarly had seats added, the terrace behind the opposite goal has been sold and is therefore closed. The modern capacity of Dalymount that is in use is 3,193, Bohs average crowd is about 2,000. There is no designated stand for fans with traveling support accommodated in different stands depending on the numbers expected. The Bohemians fans meanwhile, gather at the end of the main stand. Dalymount Park was originally common land with a vegetable plot. It hosted its first game on 7 September 1901, between Bohemians and Shelbourne F. C. and in front of an attendance of around 5,000, harold Sloan scored the first ever goal at the ground in a 4–2 win for Bohs. Within a few weeks, paling had replaced the ropes and the line of demarcation between reserved and unreserved was fixed by a 6 ft high hoarding, an unreserved entrance was then erected at the Connaught Street side. A small wooden stand to the east of the reserved entrance soon appeared as did a similar stand behind each goal, over the following years, the main stand on the reserved side was roofed and a similar addition made on the unreserved side. In 1915, Dalymount hosted the IFA Intermediate Cup final when UCD beat Portadown 2-1, a new steel stand was erected in the reserved enclosure and provision was made for fitting out club rooms, offices, etc. when more money was available. Entrance to the stand was by steps placed at points along the front, other additions included an iron railing along the pitch on the reserved side, new banking on both reserved and unreserved sides and a gymnasium and kicking alley. Within a few years, the Bohemian F. C. committee engaged the services of famous Scottish architect Archibald Leitch who drew up plans for building of Dalyer. Another section was added to the stand, new entrances
Mick Leech was an Irish professional football player who made his name with Shamrock Rovers in the 1960s. He was signed by Paddy Ambrose and Liam Tuohy for Rovers in September 1966 from junior side Ormeau and he spent 6 weeks in the reserves before he made his first team debut against Dundalk at Milltown on New Years Day 1967. Rovers drew 1–1 and Mick was substituted by Billy Dixon in the second half, Leech scored his first goal for the Hoops on 4 January 1967. He played his first FAI Cup tie for Rovers in the semi-final against Dundalk, the Hoops made no mistake in the replay as Mick scored twice in a 3–0 win. He went to score the equaliser in the final against St Pats. That summer Rovers toured the United States as Boston Rovers and at the end he. In 1968 Leech again stamped his mark on the Cup, scoring both in the semi-final and the final. It was during the season, 1968/69, that Mick really stormed on the scene as he notched up an incredible total of 55 goals during the season. These included 2 in the Cup Final replay against Cork Celtic and he was top league goal scorer that season with 19 goals. Tuohy managed the Irish team that took part in the mini World Cup in Brazil in 1972, Mick became disheartened with the game and left Rovers, in a swap with Tommy McConville in December 1973 for Waterford. In December 1975 Leech played in a game at Croke Park. When Johnny Giles took over the following season Leech didnt figure in his plans and he later played for Drogheda United, Dundalk F. C. and St Patricks Athletic. He was assistant manager at Dundalk in the 1981/82 season, one of the greatest ever strikers in the League of Ireland Mick Leech made 6 appearances in European competition for the Hoops. He also earned 4 Inter-League caps scoring once and scored 84 league goals and 18 goals in the FAI Cup and he also played 8 times for the Republic of Ireland national football team, scoring twice. His international debut came on 4 May 1969 in a 2–1 defeat to Czechoslovakia in a World Cup qualifier in Dalymount Park, Mick later managed Athlone Town in the 1990/91 season. His son Mark Leech and brother Bobby also played for Rovers, at the end of the 2012 League of Ireland season Leech is fifteenth in the all-time League of Ireland goalscoring list with 132 league goals The Hoops by Paul Doolan and Robert Goggins