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
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
Bohemian Football Club, more commonly referred to as Bohs, is a professional football club from Dublin, Ireland. Bohemians compete in the Premier Division of the League of Ireland, during that period they won the Irish Cup once and finished runners up 5 times. They share the record for most wins in European competition with archrivals Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians were founded on 6 September 1890 in the Phoenix Park Gate Lodge beside the North Circular Road entrance and played its first games in the Parks Polo Grounds. One of the members of the League of Ireland in 1921. Bohemians dropped their amateur ethos in 1969 and proceeded to win 2 League titles,2 FAI Cups and 2 League cups during the 1970s. They suffered a further decline throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s before claiming League and Cup doubles in 2001 and 2008, alongside the 2003, Bohemians play their home matches at Dalymount Park in the Northside neighbourhood of Phibsborough. They are owned 100% by the members of the club and their club colours are red and black, which they adopted at the 4th AGM in October 1893. Bohemians supporters often refer to their club by a number of nicknames including Bohs and The Gypsies, seasons Bohemians were founded on 6 September 1890. They were members of the Irish Football League from 1902 to 1911, during this time the clubs greatest success was winning the Irish Cup in 1908. In its first season it finished second in the league, just two points behind St. James Gate, the club won its first league title in 1924. In 1928 the club won its league title and completed a double that season by winning its first FAI Cup also. The club was one of the forces in the early years of the league. The club went 34 seasons without winning a major trophy, in 1969 the club ended its amateur status, and the first player to sign professional terms was Tony OConnell, who signed on 11 March 1969. The club then went on to win two titles, two FAI Cups and two league cups in the 1970s, more trophies than any other club that decade. In 1970 the club entered European competition for the first time where it was beaten in the first qualifying round of the European Cup Winners Cup. The club went through another trophy-less spell after its 1979 league cup victory and it was not until 2001 that it regained the league title, also winning the FAI Cup that season to complete its second double. In September 2009, Bohemians claimed the League Cup for the time in the clubs history with a 3–1 win over Waterford United in the final. On 6 November 2009, Bohemians retained the title after a 1–1 draw against Bray Wanderers and they were already assured of the league title before the final round of matches as they held a three-point lead and 16-goal difference advantage over their nearest rivals Shamrock Rovers
Athlone Town A.F.C.
Athlone Town Football Club is an Irish football club from Athlone who are playing in the League of Ireland. The club is the oldest in the League as it was founded in 1887, First elected to the League of Ireland in 1922, they play their home matches in Lissywollen their new stadium which opened in 2007. The clubs colours are blue and black, Athlone first competed in the League of Ireland in the 1922–23 season finishing sixth. They were the first non-Dublin club in the Irish Free State to compete in the national Free State League and they competed in the league until 1928 and not again until the 1969–70 season. Athlone Town won the FAI Cup, their first domestic success in 1924, dinny Hannon scored the only goal of the game, as Athlone went through the whole competition without conceding a goal. Hannon was one of five Athlone Town players chosen to represent the Irish Free State at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games, the other players were Tommy Muldoon, Frank Ghent, John Joe Dykes and Paddy OReilly. The club finished second in the league in the 1974–75 season earning a place in the UEFA Cup and their first round game was against Norwegian side Vålerenga who they beat. Athlones second round tie was against Italian side AC Milan drawing 0–0 in the first leg at St. Mels Park setting an attendance of 9,000 before losing the second leg at the San Siro 3–0. Athlone won their first league title in the 1980–81 season and they played KB in Europe the following season earning a draw in the first leg in Denmark and again at St. Mels Park going out on the away goal rule. In the 1981–82 season Athlone Town won the League Cup for the time beating Shamrock Rovers. However they failed to retain their title that year finishing 4th. Athlone Town were again crowned champions in the 1982–83 season and qualifying for Europe. Their opponents in Europe on this occasion were Belgian outfit Raymond Goethals managed Standard Liège, losing 3–2 at home, in 1985 six new clubs were elected to the league increasing the leagues participation to 22. As a result, the current two division structure was adapted with Athlone Town in Premier Division, in 1987 the club finished last and were relegated to the First Division. Their stay there was short, finishing top of First Division the following season, the club remained in the top flight until the 1991–92 season, when they finished eleventh and were subsequently relegated to the First Division. Athlone Town again gained promotion to the Premier Division in the 1993–94 season, the club were once again relegated in 1996, narrowly missing out on promotion in 2001 by one point to Monaghan United. Since 2001 Athlone have finished each season in the half of the first division. In that time eight different managers have been appointed, in 2007 the club moved from St Mels Park to a new stadium, which was opened on 9 March when the home side hosted Kilkenny City in the opening game of the season
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
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
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