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
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
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
Shelbourne Football Club is an Irish association football club based in Drumcondra, Dublin, who play in the League of Ireland First Division. Shelbourne were founded in Dublin in 1895, in 1904 the club joined the Irish Football League, which was then an all Ireland competition, before becoming founding members of the League of Ireland in 1921. Shelbourne have won the league 13 times and are one of three clubs to have won both the IFA Cup and the FAI Cup and they play their home matches at Tolka Park, in the Dublin suburb of Drumcondra. The club colours are red and white, with home jerseys being predominantly red. Shels is the clubs most common nickname, an abbreviation of Shelbourne, in the 2004/2005 European season, Shelbourne became the first Irish club to reach the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. Their performances in European competition and former striker Jason Byrne being capped for the Republic of Ireland whilst with the club, the club lost their Premier Division licence for the 2007 season due to the clubs debt situation. Since then, Shelbourne have mainly played in the tier of the League of Ireland. Shelbourne Football Club was formed in 1895 in the Ringsend area of Dublin by a group of men led by Mr. James Rowan, the club took its name from the nearby Shelbourne Road. The clubs first pitch was at Havelock Square just behind the stand at the present day Aviva Stadium. Shelbournes second season was their first in competitive competition, Shelbourne played 28 matches, won 25, drew 2 and lost only 1. Their goal tally was 109 for and 15 against, Shelbourne won the principal junior competitions, the Leinster Junior Cup and League Championship. The club decided to enter the ranks for the 1897–98 Season and reached the Leinster Senior Cup Final at their first attempt. They also finished runners-up in the Leinster Senior League, the club won their first Leinster Senior Cup in 1899/1900, Shelbourne won the competition again in 1901 and 1904. The club made it into the Final of the IFA Cup in 1905 but were beaten by Distillery, in 1906 Shelbourne player Val Harris became the clubs first player to line out for Ireland. Shelbourne reached the IFA Cup Final again in 1907 and 1908 but were beaten on both occasion in replays against Cliftonville and Bohemians, in 1907 Shelbourne were also Irish Football League runners-up to Linfield. They won the Leinster Senior Cup again in 1908 and 1909, in 1909 Shelbourne were City Cup winners and finished 3rd place in the Irish Football League, behind champions Linfield and Glentoran. In 1911 Shelbourne won the IFA Cup for their second time, Shelbourne won the Leinster Senior Cup again in 1913 and 1914. Shelbourne were 1914 Gold Cup runners-up, and then winners in 1915, Shelbourne were Leinster Senior Cup winners again in 1917 and 1919
University College Dublin A.F.C.
University College Dublin Association Football Club, known commonly as UCD, is the football team of University College Dublin. They play in the League of Ireland, the club, founded in 1895 was elected to the league in 1979 under the management of Dr. Tony ONeill. Since the 2008 season they have played at the UCD Bowl, the Students play in sky blue and navy. University College Dublin A. F. C. was founded in 1895 as the Catholic University Medical School Football Club and they began playing regular games the following year. A First XI played College games against other Universities and a Second XI entered outside competitions, the club was founder members of the Leinster Junior League in 1896 and reached the semi-finals of the Leinster Senior Cup in 1897. The club became University College Dublin when the new University annexed the Medical school in 1908, UCD won the inaugural Intervarsities competition, the Collingwood Cup, in 1914 and added the Irish Intermediate Cup the following year beating Portadown 2–1 in a replayed final. The game took place in Windy Arbour and the Hoops won 6–2, in 1945 they won the FAI Intermediate Cup when UCD beat fellow future League of Ireland members Cobh Ramblers 4–2 in the final. UCD appeared in the FAI Cup in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, a second invitation to join the League of Ireland was accepted on 22 July 1979, when Cork Celtic were expelled for not having their financial affairs in order. Their first competitive game was on 26 August losing to Drogheda United 2–1 in the FAI League Cup. Theo Dunne was appointed first team coach, and apart from a spell at Home Farm 1990–1994. Dr. Tony ONeill who was manager when the club joined the League remained in that role until his untimely death from cancer in October 1999. However, important changes within the club in 1983 marked an upturn in fortunes. The previously amateur club turned semi-pro, and players outside of the college were allowed to represent the first team and this is still the situation today, although in practice most of the players are either students or ex-students. By the end of the 1983–84 season, UCD had won the FAI Cup, Shamrock Rovers werent to lose another game in the competition for over three years – until they lost to UCD in 1988. That win saw UCD qualify for European competition – the European Cup Winners Cup – for the first time. The draw pitted them against Everton, then one of the sides in England and boasting players of the calibre of Neville Southall, Kevin Sheedy, Graham Sharp, Peter Reid. The home leg was played in Tolka Park and a crowd of 9,000 – many times UCD’s average league crowd – saw the Students come away with a scarcely believable 0–0 draw. Another remarkable performance was to two weeks later as a solitary Graham Sharp goal gave Everton a 1–0 win
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