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
Ballymena United F.C.
Ballymena United Football Club is a semi-professional football club from Northern Ireland. Based in Ballymena, County Antrim, the team competes in the NIFL Premiership, Ballymena United was formed in 1934 as a replacement for the earlier Ballymena that had folded following a dispute regarding the illegal payment of amateur players. The club has never won the title in its history. The club has won the County Antrim Shield on five occasions. The main club rivals of Ballymena United would be local club Coleraine, the traditional Boxing Day fixture between the two teams attracts large crowds and is one of the most high-profile fixtures in the Northern Irish football calendar. Ballymena Football Club was formed on 7 April 1928, when four local businessmen, four men – Albert McClelland, DB Elliott, John Gordon and James McIlhagga – tapped into the popular mood of the period that the time had arrived for Ballymena to be represented in senior circles. The newly formed club took the place of Barn United in the Irish League for the 1928–29 season, however, five days later Ballymena gained their first point in a 2–2 away to Larne and created another landmark when Jimmy McCambridge scored the clubs first ever goal. Ballymena defeated Glentoran, Broadway United and Coleraine en route to a showdown with League Champions Belfast Celtic at Solitude. A remarkable 2–1 victory over Celtic followed with goals from Jamie Shiels, a replica of the trophy was produced and awarded to the club for winning the Irish Cup in their first season. Ballymena were unlucky at Solitude as they lost 4–3 to the Windsor Park Blues, with goals from Davy Reid, however, this was arguably the most forgettable of the three cup finals as a poor effort saw Ballymena lose to Linfield again by three goals without reply. The following season brought wholesale changes at the Showgrounds, despite a poor start to the 1931–32 season the team began to gel in September, now renowned as cup specialists the Light Blues reached the final of the Gold Cup, eventually losing 3–0 to nearby rivals, Coleraine. Despite an early exit from the Irish Cup for the first time, Ballymena continued to threaten a very competitive league, despite a bright start the 1932–33 campaign proved to be the leanest so far during the clubs very short history. Early exits in all the cup competitions and failure to challenge in the Irish League summarised a disappointing season for Ballymena, little did anyone realise in August 1933 what the importance of the following nine months in the history of Ballymena FC. This was to be the last season in which the club took part in senior football, in 1934, club chairman Albert McClelland was overheard making a remark that something had to be done to curb the payments to amateurs. When word of his comments reached the Irish League they immediately suspended the club, Ballymenas directors refused claiming that they were being made scapegoats for a practice which was widespread among the other clubs in the Irish League. Failure to meet the deadline for the presentation of accounts stipulated by the League resulted in Ballymenas dismissal from senior football. Immediately attempts were made to reinstate the club but when these were rejected it was suggested that the club be renamed Ballymena United and merge with a junior club, Ballymena Crusaders. Happily this was acceptable to the League authorities although in reality it was virtually the same club as before with the ground, same players
Carrick Rangers F.C.
Carrick Rangers Football Club is a semi-professional Northern Irish football club playing in NIFL Premiership. The club, founded in 1939, hails from Carrickfergus, County Antrim, the Gers ground is the only sponsored stadium in Northern Irish Premiership. Carrick Rangers main rivals are Larne, with matches between the sides being known as, The East Antrim Derby, the club was formed in 1939, when two teams from the Carrickfergus & District Summer League - Barn Mills and Bubbles decided to merge. As members of the Alliance, Carrick won the McKelvey Cup, from 1983 until 2003, the club enjoyed senior status, but reverted to intermediate status when the Irish Premier League was established and the number of senior clubs was reduced from 20 to 16. The clubs greatest achievement was winning the Irish Cup in 1976, on 2 May 2011, the club secured a return to top flight football for the first time since the 1994–95 season, after being crowned champions of Championship 1. On 25 April 2015, Carrick sealed promotion back to the Premiership as champions following a 1–0 win over Dundela, miguels goal coming in the 90+3 minute after an incredible acrobatic effort to keep the Gers up. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality
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
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
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
Ards Football Club is a semi-professional, Northern Irish football club playing in NIFL Premiership. The club, founded in 1900, is formerly from Newtownards, but plays its matches at Clandeboye Park in Bangor. Club colours are red and blue, Ards were forced to sell their Castlereagh Park home in 1998 to try to reduce their crippling debts. The stadium remained well tended for another three years while plans for a new ground further down the road were developed. In 2002 Castlereagh Park was demolished, as planned, Ards hoped to play at a new community-owned site, a stones throw from Castlereagh Park that was due to be developed in 2010 by the local council. This plan has since been shelved, and they are still the nomads of Northern Irish football, for the 2012–13 season they played their home games at Clandeboye Park and were promoted to the NIFL Premiership for the 2013–14 season and went straight back down that season. Ards 2014–15 season was a season of change, with players coming and going from the club. The 2015–16 was a one with Ards reaching the league cup final by knocking out premiership sides Ballinamallard United. These included experienced Premiership players such as Ballymena United centre-back Johnny Taylor, other recruitments included defender Stuart McMullan and French striker Guillaume Keke, both signed from Larne. Ards started the season with a creditible 2–2 draw with Cliftonville, plans were under-way to develop Londonderry Park as the new grounds for the team. Planning officials gave Ards Borough Council the go-ahead on the £3.8 million plan in October 2010, in 2009, supporters launched a campaign, Bring Ards FC Home, in which they publicised the need in the media and had discussions with politicians. Back as far as November 2008, the Council had discussed the need for a new Ards stadium, plans included upgrades to the existing grass surfaces and the addition of new synthetic surfaces, and to allow for the possibility of future upgrading to meet regulations should the need arise. The ground would have continued to provide facilities for hockey. However, in August 2012 it was announced that Ards Borough Council would not be proceeding with the new stadium, and the plans were shelved. Andy Bothwell,5 caps, 1925–27 Tommy Forde,4 caps, 1958–60 Billy Humphries,1 cap,1962 Paul Kee,2 caps,1994 Ards FC Website Ards Statistics and Results at the Irish Football Club Project
Coleraine Football Club is a Northern Irish semi-professional football club, playing in the NIFL Premiership. The club, founded in 1927, hails from Coleraine, County Londonderry, Club colours are blue and white. The current manager is Oran Kearney of Linfield. The Bannsiders won the Irish League title once, the club was formed out of a merger between two local sides, Coleraine Olympic and Coleraine Alexandra. The original club colours were all white, hence the original nickname – the Lilywhites. The new club secured its first trophy in the 1931–32 season, in 1948, Coleraine reached its first Irish Cup final, going down 3–0 to Linfield. 1953 brought another appearance in the final and another defeat, again to Linfield, the 1950s saw the City Cup won for the first time and a second triumph in the Gold Cup. In 1961, chairman Jack Doherty persuaded Bertie Peacock to sign for Coleraine after he left Celtic and it would prove to be one of the most important transfers in the clubs history. In 1965, Coleraine won the Irish Cup for the first time, defeating Glenavon 2–1 at Windsor Park, with goals from Shaun Dunlop, Coleraine thus gained its first experience of European football, against Soviet outfit Dynamo Kiev. Coleraine also won the first two Blaxnit all-Ireland cups in 1969 and 1970, Coleraine faced Kilmarnock in the 1970 Fairs Cup, and after a 1–1 draw in the first leg, the Bannsiders pulled off an historic 3–2 victory thanks to a Des Dickson hat-trick. In 1972, the Irish Cup was won again, this time by beating Portadown 2–1, with goals from Des Dickson, the Holy Grail of the Gibson Cup was finally captured in 1974. Under the management of Bertie Peacock, the squad consisting of the likes of Des Dickson, Johnny McCurdy, Ivan Murray, Michael Guy, Bertie Peacock resigned in 1974 and Ivan Murray and Johnny McCurdy took over the reins. Murray continued as manager until 1978 and during his spell in charge the Irish Cup was won twice more – both times against Linfield, in 1975, it took three games before a goal from Jim Chang Smith in the second replay proved decisive. The 1977 victory was more emphatic with Liam Beckett, Des Dickson, Frankie Moffatt and it was to be the clubs last major trophy for 26 years. In the 1980s there were two cup finals, in 1982 and 1986, ending in defeats to Linfield and Glentoran respectively. For three seasons in a row in the mid-1980s the club finished second in the league behind Linfield, in 1995 they dropped into the First Division. The next 2 seasons saw Coleraine finish fourth both times – potential title challenges being ruined by inconsistency, in 2002–03, Coleraine ended the season in third place and reached their first Irish Cup Final since 1986. In the final, they faced Glentoran as massive underdogs as the east Belfast side were looking to complete a sweep of trophies. After an early strike from Gareth McAuley was harshly ruled out, Coleraine kept going, despite increasing Glentoran pressure, Coleraine held on and the trophy famine was over
Ballyclare Comrades F.C.
Ballyclare Comrades Football Club is a semi-professional, Northern Irish football club playing in the NIFL Championship. The club hails from Ballyclare, County Antrim and plays its matches at Dixon Park. Club colours are red and white, the current manager is Stephen Hughes, who combines his role with continuing to be youth co-ordinater. His assistant manager is Eddie Hill and first team coach is William Waite, the clubs rivals are Carrick Rangers and Larne and games between the three clubs are referred to as The East Antrim Derbies. From 1990 until 2003, the club enjoyed senior status, but reverted to intermediate status when the Irish Premier League was established, the clubs reserve team play in the Junior Section of the Ballymena Premier Intermediate League, winning Division 1 in 2011–12, 2012–13 and 2013–14. The club also has a partnership with local youth club Ballyclare Colts, whose sides (from under 11 to under 15 provide players to progress to Comrades own youth sides at under-17, the under-18 side play in the IFA Youth League. One of the clubs most famous products was Northern Ireland and Sunderland defender Paddy McNair who attends games when possible, players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality. Ballyclare Comrades F. C. Website Irish Football Club Project nifootball. co. uk
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
Bangor Football Club is a Northern Irish football club playing in the NIFL Premier Intermediate League. The club, founded in 1918, hails from Bangor and plays its matches at the Bangor Fuels Arena. Club colours are gold and royal blue, connected with this announcement, manager Marty Quinn resigned and was appointed as manager of Glenavon. Marty Quinn was replaced by Colin McCurdy who guided Bangor through their first season back in Intermediate Football, Colin McCurdy resigned from his position on 18 September 2010 and former player Frankie Wilson was appointed. After a poor run of results which saw Bangor plunge to the bottom of Championship 1 at the end of 2012, Spike Hill was named as first team coach in October 2016 after Garth Scates and Jeff Montgomery resigned during a league game away to Limavady United. Kyle Spiers joined Spike Hill as Director of Football at the club at the time as Spikes arrival. The first Bangor FC was founded, according to local legend, back on dry land, a committee was formed and the new Bangor FC played at the Recreation Ground off the Brunswick Road, as a successful member of the Irish Football Alliance. Others were convinced that life should continue as normally as possible and within a matter of days a new Bangor FC was born, taking over the fixtures and many of the players of the old Bangor FC. Encouraged by early success, Bangor joined the then Intermediate league where they played until gaining admission into the Irish League in 1927 and their first senior match was a local derby against Ards at Castlereagh Park on 20 August 1927. The late twenties and thirties were times of depression, money was scarce, gates disappointing. Against this background, Bangor were able to field a team which was able to keep its head above water, at that time Bangor FC played at the Ballyholme Showgrounds where they had moved from their second home in Castle Street in 1923. They Showgrounds were situated just behind the Ballyholme Esplanade and, being based, had one of the best and robust surfaces in the Irish League. In 1934, the club was given notice to quit as the ground was required for building houses, Bangor enjoyed the most successful period in its history during the 1990s when the club qualified for Europe for the first time in its history after finishing second in the Irish League. This success was followed by winning the Irish Cup in 1993 after two replays against bitter rivals, Ards, paul Byrne, who scored the winning goal with the last kick of the game, moved on to Celtic. In October 2007, the announced that a deal had been struck with property developers to sell land at the rear of the ground. Unfortunately, their stay in the Premiership only lasted a season as midway through the campaign the Club decided not to re-apply for the Domestic Licence that was required to compete at this level. As a result, Bangor FC were relegated at the end of the season, the first season back in Intermediate football proved quite difficult with a hastily arranged, young squad. A draw in the match of the season against Ballymoney United ensured that they avoided the ignominy of relegation to Championship 2 by a single point
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
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 -
Glenavon Football Club is a semi-professional, Northern Irish football club playing in the NIFL Premiership. The club, founded in 1889, hails from Lurgan and plays its matches at Mourneview Park. Club colours are blue and white, Gary Hamilton has been player-manager of the Lurgan Blues since December 2011 following the resignation of Marty Quinn. Their matches are known as the Mid-Ulster Derby and Glenavons current player-manager Gary Hamilton played for Portadown before joining the Lurgan Blues, mcBrides reign lasted seven months before he was relieved of his managerial duties with Glenavon at the bottom of the IFA Premiership. The Director of Football, Alan Fraser, was relieved from his duties. The club chairman is Adrian Teer, Glenavon was the first provincial club to win the Irish League title and also the first provincial club to do the league and cup double. The latter triumph made them the first Northern Irish team to enter the European Cup. Glenavon has had a number of talented and famous players, none more so than Wilbur Cush and Jimmy Jones, the club then suffered a relatively poor spell during the early 2000s, which culminated in relegation to the second tier in the 2003–04 Irish League season. This was followed up by a 9th-place finish in the 2012–13 season, following on from this cup triumph was a successful 2014–15 season. Even more success was to follow, as the club claimed a 2nd Irish Cup win in three years, defeating David Healys Linfield 2–0 in the final, Glenavon was the first Northern Irish team to enter the European Cup. In their first tie they drew AGF of Denmark, drawing 0–0 at home, Glenavon achieved some more notable results in Europe in the 1990s. In the 1992–93 season, they drew both legs of their Cup Winners Cup tie with Royal Antwerp and lost on penalties, in 1995–96 they reached the first round proper of the UEFA Cup, and were beaten by Werder Bremen. Mourneview Park is now considered to be one of the best grounds in the Irish League, along the side of the pitch runs the Geddis Stand and on the other side the newly built Glenfield Road Stand. One end of the ground has the Crescent Stand, and at the end the Hospital End remains undeveloped. In addition to Glenavons home matches, the stadium is also a regular host for Northern Ireland under-21 matches, due to ongoing renovation of Windsor Park, Mourneview Park was chosen as the venue for Linfields home ties in the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality, Glenavon FCs Academy consists of teams at Under 7, Under 8, Under 9, Under 10, Under 11, Under 12, Under 13, Under 14, Under 15 and Under 16. There is also an Under 19 team which comes under the auspices of the Senior Club, gordons first task was to bring ex Glenavon legend Stephen McBride back to the club as the Academy head coach. The Glenavon FC Academy is now headed by Ryan Prentice, the Academy currently has three UEFA A Licence and two UEFA B Licence coaches
Lisburn Distillery F.C.
Lisburn Distillery Football Club is a Northern Irish, intermediate football club based in Ballyskeagh, County Down. The club, founded in 1880, originated in west Belfast, after sharing Skegoneill Avenue and Seaview for some years the club moved in 1980 to a permanent new home at New Grosvenor Stadium, Ballyskeagh, County Antrim, on the southern outskirts of Belfast. The club was known as Distillery until 1999, when it changed its name to Lisburn Distillery in an attempt to itself more closely with its adopted borough of Lisburn. The club, a member of the Irish League in 1890, was relegated in May 2013. Note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules, players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality. Jimmy McIntosh Maurice Tadman George Eastham, Sr
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
Institute Football Club is a Northern Irish semi-professional association football club playing in the NIFL Championship. The club, founded in 1905, are based in the Drumahoe area of Derry, Club colours are sky blue and white. They are currently managed by Kevin Deery after former boss Paul Kee was relieved of his duties in April 2015, a meeting was accordingly held in the rooms, of the Diamond Hotel, with the late Mr. William Buchanan, acting as chairman. It was thereupon decided to form a Junior football club known as Institute F. C. affiliated with the North-End Football Association, the club played their first ever match against St Columbs Court at Magee College grounds, winning the match 2–1. Those who played in this match were, J. Parkhill, D. Patton, Wm. Neely, R. A. Bogle, W. M. Wilton, D. Gillespie, J. Holland, D. McCleery, D. Gilfillan, G. Young, and A. Doherty. Institute arranged many other friendlies during that season and continued to grow in strength, in the 1906–07 season the club entered the North-West Junior League. Their first ever match was a league match away to Farm Wanderers which ended in a 4–4 draw. In the season of 1907–08, Billy Gillespie began playing for the club, the club won the North-West Charity Cup that season, beating Derry Celtic Wanderers 4–1 in the final, making them the first Junior team ever to win the trophy. Mr William Logue became chairman of the club and remained chairman until the year 1914, the 1911–12 season saw the club reach the final of the Irish Junior Cup, narrowly losing out on winning the trophy after a 2–1 defeat by Brantwood at Grosvenor Park, Belfast. In 1981 Institute joined the Intermediate League and their first season in the Intermediate league turned out to be the clubs most successful ever in the league. Their first ever match was a league match against Roe Valley. They met Chimney Corner in the final, but were beaten 2–0 in an unconvincing performance and their Irish Cup first round match against Coleraine also ended in defeat, Coleraine winning 2–1. In 1996 Institute entered the Irish League B Division for the 1996–97 season and they also won the Smirnoff Cup that season, beating Chimney Corner 4–2 in the final. They finished 7th in the league, in the 1998–99 season the club gained promotion to the Irish First Division. On 14 August 1999 the club played their first ever match as a football team. The match was at home to Bangor in the Irish League First Division, the first victory of that season was a 1-0 win away to local North-West rivals Limavady United. Institute ended the season in 6th place, in the 2000–01 season the club finished in the top half of the league, securing 5th place. The following season, the finished in 2nd place in the First Division