Northern Ireland is a constituent unit of the United Kingdom in the north-east of Ireland. It is variously described as a country, province, region, or part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the total population. Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland by an act of the British parliament, Northern Ireland has historically been the most industrialised region of Ireland. After declining as a result of the political and social turmoil of the Troubles, its economy has grown significantly since the late 1990s. Unemployment in Northern Ireland peaked at 17. 2% in 1986, dropping to 6. 1% for June–August 2014,58. 2% of those unemployed had been unemployed for over a year. Prominent artists and sports persons from Northern Ireland include Van Morrison, Rory McIlroy, Joey Dunlop, Wayne McCullough, some people from Northern Ireland prefer to identify as Irish while others prefer to identify as British. Cultural links between Northern Ireland, the rest of Ireland, and the rest of the UK are complex, in many sports, the island of Ireland fields a single team, a notable exception being association football. Northern Ireland competes separately at the Commonwealth Games, and people from Northern Ireland may compete for either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympic Games. The region that is now Northern Ireland was the bedrock of the Irish war of resistance against English programmes of colonialism in the late 16th century, the English-controlled Kingdom of Ireland had been declared by the English king Henry VIII in 1542, but Irish resistance made English control fragmentary. Victories by English forces in war and further Protestant victories in the Williamite War in Ireland toward the close of the 17th century solidified Anglican rule in Ireland. In Northern Ireland, the victories of the Siege of Derry and their intention was to materially disadvantage the Catholic community and, to a lesser extent, the Presbyterian community. In the context of open institutional discrimination, the 18th century saw secret, militant societies develop in communities in the region and act on sectarian tensions in violent attacks. Following this, in an attempt to quell sectarianism and force the removal of discriminatory laws, the new state, formed in 1801, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, was governed from a single government and parliament based in London. Between 1717 and 1775 some 250,000 people from Ulster emigrated to the British North American colonies and it is estimated that there are more than 27 million Scotch-Irish Americans now living in the US. By the close of the century, autonomy for Ireland within the United Kingdom, in 1912, after decades of obstruction from the House of Lords, Home Rule became a near-certainty. A clash between the House of Commons and House of Lords over a controversial budget produced the Parliament Act 1911, which enabled the veto of the Lords to be overturned. The House of Lords veto had been the unionists main guarantee that Home Rule would not be enacted, in 1914, they smuggled thousands of rifles and rounds of ammunition from Imperial Germany for use by the Ulster Volunteers, a paramilitary organisation opposed to the implementation of Home Rule
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies making it the worlds most popular sport, the game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by getting the ball into the opposing goal, players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms while it is in play, unless they are goalkeepers. Other players mainly use their feet to strike or pass the ball, the team that scores the most goals by the end of the match wins. If the score is level at the end of the game, the Laws of the Game were originally codified in England by The Football Association in 1863. Association football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football, the first written reference to the inflated ball used in the game was in the mid-14th century, Þe heued fro þe body went, Als it were a foteballe. The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the word soccer was split off in 1863, according to Partha Mazumdar, the term soccer originated in England, first appearing in the 1880s as an Oxford -er abbreviation of the word association. Within the English-speaking world, association football is now usually called football in the United Kingdom and mainly soccer in Canada and the United States. People in Australia, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand use either or both terms, although national associations in Australia and New Zealand now primarily use football for the formal name. According to FIFA, the Chinese competitive game cuju is the earliest form of football for which there is scientific evidence, cuju players could use any part of the body apart from hands and the intent was kicking a ball through an opening into a net. It was remarkably similar to football, though similarities to rugby occurred. During the Han Dynasty, cuju games were standardised and rules were established, phaininda and episkyros were Greek ball games. An image of an episkyros player depicted in low relief on a vase at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens appears on the UEFA European Championship Cup, athenaeus, writing in 228 AD, referenced the Roman ball game harpastum. Phaininda, episkyros and harpastum were played involving hands and violence and they all appear to have resembled rugby football, wrestling and volleyball more than what is recognizable as modern football. As with pre-codified mob football, the antecedent of all football codes. Non-competitive games included kemari in Japan, chuk-guk in Korea and woggabaliri in Australia, Association football in itself does not have a classical history. Notwithstanding any similarities to other games played around the world FIFA have recognised that no historical connection exists with any game played in antiquity outside Europe. The modern rules of football are based on the mid-19th century efforts to standardise the widely varying forms of football played in the public schools of England
Linfield Football Club is a semi-professional football club based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The club was founded in 1886 as Linfield Athletic Club, and in 1905 moved into the current home of Windsor Park, the club plays in the NIFL Premiership – the highest level of the Northern Ireland Football League. Linfields main rival is Glentoran – the other half of Belfasts Big Two and this rivalry traditionally includes a league derby played on Boxing Day each year, which usually attracts the largest league attendance of the season. The Blues are managed by former Northern Ireland international and record goalscorer David Healy, Feeney resigned in order to become assistant manager of Newport County. Historically, as the most dominant club in Northern Irish football, Linfield holds several domestic records, Linfield won a clean sweep of all the trophies in a single season in the 1921–22 season and again in 2006. They narrowly missed out on claiming 7 trophies in a season in 1961–62 season only failing to win the North South cup. Glenavon won the trophy for the 1961–62 season, similarly due to fixture congestion the final for that season was played at the start of 1963, Glenavon to this day still hold the trophy as it was never competed for again. Linfield won all four domestic trophies to achieve a quadruple. The club has lifted the Irish Cup a record 42 times, the League Cup a record nine times, the club has never won a European trophy, but did reach the quarter-finals of the 1966–67 European Cup. The club was founded in March 1886 in an area of south Belfast known as Sandy Row by workers at the Ulster Spinning Companys Linfield Mill, originally known as Linfield Athletic Club, the team played on ground at the back of the mill known as the Meadow. However, success on the field meant that the club had to accommodate bigger crowds, in 1890, Bob Milne signed for the club from the Gordon Highlanders. The Scot would soon become a key member of the team, the club stayed at Ulsterville for five years before housing development on the ground in 1894 meant that the club had to move on once again. However, this was temporary home. The club stayed here until 1905, when moved into Windsor Park. The clubs first silverware at Windsor arrived in the 1906–07 season and this would be the first of a trio of league titles, with the 1907–08 and 1908–09 league titles to follow. In 1910, team captain Bob Milne left the club with a legacy as one of Linfields best ever players and he had amassed nine Irish Cups, eight league titles, and had earned 27 international caps for Ireland during his time at the club. Another Scot, Marshall McEwan, joined Linfield in 1911 at the age of 26 and he had previously played for Blackpool, Bolton Wanderers and Chelsea. McEwan is perhaps best remembered for his performance in the 1913 Irish Cup final, McEwan retired in 1916, but remained in Belfast and later opened several businesses
Glentoran Football Club is a semi-professional football club that plays in the NIFL Premiership. The club was founded in 1882 and plays its games at the Oval in east Belfast. Club colours are red, green and black, Linfield and Glentoran are nicknamed Belfasts Big Two, as they have traditionally dominated local football in Northern Ireland since the demise of Belfast Celtic. The two play a match on Boxing Day each year, which regularly attracts the largest attendance of the Irish League season. George Best watched Glentoran with his grandfather as a youth, but was rejected by the club for being too small, however, Best did make one appearance for Glentoran, in the clubs centenary match against Manchester United. In 1964–65, Glentoran faced Panathinaikos in the European Cup and drew 2–2 at home, in the following seasons Fairs Cup, they faced Antwerp resulting a 1–0 defeat away and 3–3 draw at home. The Cup-Winners Cup in 1966–67 saw Glentoran draw 1–1 with Rangers in front of a packed Oval before losing the away leg 4–0, Glentorans finest hour came in a European Cup encounter with Benfica in 1967. The tie was played two legs, the first being at the Oval. Glentoran scored a penalty early on and held out for nearly sixty minutes until football great Eusébio equalised, the return tie was at Benficas Estádio da Luz. Part-time Glentoran were expected to crumble under the pressure of the occasion, Benfica advanced to the next round on the away goals rule. Glentoran were the first team to lose out to this rule, in 1967, the club ran the Detroit Cougars football franchise in the United Soccer Association. The two leagues would merge and form the North American Soccer League the following year. In 1973–74, Glentoran reached the quarter-finals of the Cup-Winners Cup and they faced Borussia Mönchengladbach in the quarter-finals and were beaten 2–0 and 5–0. Four seasons later they faced Juventus in a European Cup match and lost 1–0 at home, in 1981–82, Glentoran reached the second round of the European Cup and faced eventual semi-finalists CSKA Sofia. After a 2–0 defeat away, Glentoran went 2–0 up in the leg to force the game into extra time. The final result was 2–1, Glentoran going out 3–2 on aggregate, the 1985 Irish Cup final between the big two saw another famous incident. Glentoran supporters brought a cockerel, the emblem, to the match and a pig, painted in royal blue colour. The two animals stayed on the sidelines for the duration of the match and this run of 5 victories over Linfield in post-war finals which started in 1966 continued until Glentorans defeat in the 2006 final
Crusaders Football Club is a Northern Irish semi-professional football club, playing in the NIFL Premiership. The club, founded in 1898, hails from Belfast and plays its matches at Seaview. Club colours are red and black, the current manager is former player Stephen Baxter, who is the clubs longest serving manager, having been appointed in 2005. Crusaders played intermediate football until 1949, and during time they were one of the top non-league teams in the country. The withdrawal of Belfast Celtic from the ranks in 1949 resulted in Crusaders being elected in their place in time for the start of the 1949–50 season. The clubs fierce rivals are Cliftonville, matches between the two clubs are known as the North Belfast derby. Rivalries also exist with other Belfast sides such as Linfield and Glentoran, Crusaders Football Club was formed in the year 1898, with the exact date unknown. Many names were suggested for the club, including Rowan Star, Cultra United, Mervue Wanderers, Moyola, and others such as Queens Rovers, thomas Palmer felt that a name of more international significance should be adopted and he suggested Crusaders, after the medieval Christian knights. Initially the club was able to undertake friendly fixtures until it was admitted to one of the local junior leagues. Players were compelled to pay a fee of two pence before they could take the field. It was strictly no pay-no play, the very first competitive game of which there is any existing record was on 10 December 1898. It came in the North Belfast Alliance against opponents named Bedford at Alexandra Park and reports state that, in addition, the side were very successful in the top junior cup competition, the Steel & Sons Cup, winning the competition on seven occasions as a junior side. The side also reached the Irish Cup semi finals three times in the 1920s, the first came in the 1923–24 season, where they were defeated by that seasons Irish League champions Queens Island in a replay at Pirrie Park. In the 1924–25 season the Crues knocked out senior sides Larne and they reached the semi-finals once again in 1927, losing 2–4 at home to derby rivals Cliftonville. The Crues also reached the final of the Belfast Charities Cup in 1923, also an achievement as the competition was open to all senior clubs in Belfast. Despite these feats, all applications for entry to the senior Irish League were turned down, the frustration was such that consideration was given to making application either to the Scottish Football League or to the League of Ireland. The Second World War meant that there was no football played by the Crues between April 1941 and September 1945, Crusaders began competing once more in the Intermediate League after the war, beginning with the 1945–46 season. Morrison would also go on to be the top scorer of their first senior season with 11 goals in all competitions
Omagh Town F.C.
Omagh Town Football and Athletic Club was a Northern Irish association football club that was based in Omagh, County Tyrone. Founded in 1962, the played in the Irish Football League from 1990 until its closure in 2005. They won the North West Senior Cup on six occasions and competed in the UEFA Intertoto Cup twice, Omagh Town was dissolved on 7 June 2005, owing to financial problems. Omagh Town Football and Athletic Club was formed in August 1962 by Aines McGeehan, the team was called Omagh Celtic Football Club and started off with maroon shirts with blue shorts. The team played at Quarry Field Mullaghmena in Omagh, in 1969, the club changed its name to Omagh Town Football and Athletic Club and also changed their accommodation to the Military Holm for three years, moving to The Showgrounds afterwards. Following 1974 the kit changed again, this time to white shirts. This combination would change several more time before the club settled on a combination of red, black. In 1990, Omagh Town moved to St Julians Road, a site that was previously a council dump, Omagh leased the land and developed a football stadium. The stadium had a grass pitch, with a capacity of 5000 with 30 VIP places,250 covered seats,3220 covered standing places and 1500 uncovered standing places. Supporters of Omagh Town called the club The Town, the club also supported darts, womens football and poolmembers. In total the club had about 470 members, of which 180 were youth members, support for the club derived mainly from the towns of Omagh, Castlederg, Dromore and Ballygawley. Omagh Towns main rivalry was with north-west derby rivals Coleraine as well as with Glentoran, the club were elected to senior football for the first time in the 1990–91 season, and would remain in the top flight for the next five years. In 1994–95, a change in makeup of the league, dropping the number of teams in the top flight to 8, the results and points accumulated over two seasons were taken into account. Roy McCreadies departure had caused problems, Paul Kee was left in charge, McCreadie returned and Town were promoted again, coming in as runners-up to Ballymena in the first division. After losing in the 1997–98 Irish cup semi-final with one of the best squads assembled, indeed, the addition of a couple of key players could have seen Omagh challenge for the following seasons premiership. Instead, a weakened squad struggled and were relegated at the end of the 1998–99 season, however, a tremendous 1999–2000 campaign in the first division saw Omagh under Roy McCreadie promoted as champions, Eamon Kavanagh collecting the cup at St Julians Road despite a loss to Limavady. Omagh would remain in the Premier Division for the two years finishing 9th and 10th, respectively. Roy McCreadies departure left a void Town could not fill, frankie Wilson and Eamon Kavanagh were caretaker managers for a time but rather than give them the job, Former Derry City star Johnny Speak took over
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
Crewe United F.C.
The club hails from Glenavy in County Antrim. The club was formed as Sparta in 1961 and played in the West Belfast League before joining the Northern Amateur League in 1968, in 1971, the club switched to the Lisburn League, and during its time there it change its name to Crewe United. In 1978, Crewe returned to the Amateur League, and gained intermediate status following a Junior Cup win in 1983, george Best played his last ever game in Northern Ireland for Crewe United in 1995 at Crewe Park in a Charity game. Many English league sides such as Brentford and Luton Town have played at Crewe Park Irish Junior Cup,1 1982–83 Note, players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality. Crewe United Official Club website Daily Mirror Mid-Ulster Football League Official website nifootball. co. uk -
Harland & Wolff Welders F.C.
Harland & Wolff Welders Football Club is a semi-professional, Northern Irish football club playing in the NIFL Championship. The club, founded in 1965, hails from Belfast and plays its matches at Tillysburn Park in the East of the city. The club was formed by the welders of the nearby Harland & Wolff shipyard, the current manager is former Glentoran FC player Gary Smyth. The clubs colours are yellow and black to display the link with Harland & Wolff shipyard, Harland & Wolff Welders share a long running rivalry with fellow East Belfast Championship 1 side Dundela. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality
Islandmagee Football Club is a Northern Irish football club from Islandmagee, County Antrim and playing in Division 1A of the Northern Amateur Football League. The club plays at Wilbourne Park, Islandmagee, the home strip is red shirts, blue shorts, red socks, while the away strip is royal blue shirts, navy shorts and socks. After formation there was a series of fixtures before joining the Larne. Then, in the 1957–58 season, their application to join the Northern Amateur Football League was successful, the clubs first Amateur League game was in Division 1B on 17 August 1957, when they defeated local rivals Barn United 5–3. Five years later, both gained promotion to Division 1A, then the League’s premier section. The following season, they were Border Cup winners, defeating Albert Foundry 1–0 in the final, three out of the next four years saw the club contest the final only to lose out to RUC, Ards Rangers and Chimney Corner. This achievement had never been done before and will not be equalled again as the number of teams in the league have been reduced to 14 instead of 16. Relegation in the mid-1970s brought lean times on the playing front, relegation followed a year later, however, and almost a decade passed before they again put in a meaningful challenge. In season 1993–94, promotion to the section was denied them by Crumlin United in a play-off for runners-up place. A year later, they contested the Border Cup final, this time against Coagh United. This Steel & Sons Cup run was particularly unique as club secretary, the run in the Steel & Sons presented the club with an opportunity to compete in the last 16 of the County Antrim Shield, where they met Linfield at Windsor Park. Despite losing 4–0 defeat, they held the Premier League outfit for 57 minutes, League form was worryingly inconsistent, with pressure on the team to avoid a late relegation battle run in. But with many games in hand, they achieved a mid-table finish, a new website is planned for the future