League of Ireland Premier Division
The division was formed in 1985 following a reorganisation of the League of Ireland. St. Patricks Athletic and Bohemians are the only current League of Ireland clubs never to have been relegated from the Premier Division, since 2003 the Premier Division has operated as a summer league. The inaugural members of the Premier Division included the League of Irelands traditional top four clubs – Shamrock Rovers, Shelbourne, Bohemians, Shamrock Rovers were the inaugural champions and then retained the title in 1986–87. This saw Rovers complete a four in a row of league titles, Dundalk were champions in 1987–88 and Derry City achieved a treble in 1988–89 by also winning the League of Ireland Cup and the FAI Cup. The 1990s saw the re-emergence of St Patricks Athletic following years of obscurity, during the decade St Pats won four titles. Brian Kerr guided the club to success in 1989–90 and 1995–96 before Pat Dolan and Liam Buckley added further titles in 1997–98, the 1992–93 season saw Cork City win their first title in dramatic circumstances after a series of three-way play-offs that also involved Bohemians and Shelbourne. The turn of the century saw Shelbourne win the first of five titles in seven years, dermot Keely guided Shelbourne to the title in 1999–2000 and 2001–02. Shelbourne won the title in controversial circumstances in 2001–02 and they were only declared champions after St Patricks Athletic were deducted 15 points for fielding Charles Livingstone Mbabazi while he was ineligible. The league decided to become a league in 2003. Pat Fenlon added further titles in 2003,2004 and 2006, Fenlon had also been a prominent member of the Shelbourne playing squads in 1999–2000 and 2001–02. As a manager Fenlon would also guide Bohemians to title successes in 2008 and 2009, Cork City denied Shelbourne a third league title in a row when they claimed their second title in 2005, defeating fellow challengers Derry City in a last game decider at Turners Cross. During the second half of the decade a number of Premier Division clubs suffered financial difficulties, during the 2005 season Shamrock Rovers entered into examinership and it was revealed that the club had debts of nearly €3 million. It was also discovered that Rovers were not playing PAYE and PRSI, as a result of these financial irregularities, Rovers were deducted eight points. This ultimately resulted in the club being relegated to the First Division after they lost the playoff to Dublin City. This was the first time Rovers senior team had dropped out of the top level of the Republic of Ireland football league system since the club had joined the League of Ireland in 1922–23. During the 2006 season the Revenue Commissioners took High Court action, Shelbourne also struggled to pay its players during the season. Despite winning the title Shelbourne were subsequently demoted to the First Division due to their financial difficulties, midway through the season Dublin City also went out of business and withdrew from the league, unable to complete the season. During the 2008 season both Cork City and Drogheda United were deducted ten points going into administration
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
Finn Harps F.C.
Finn Harps Football Club are an Irish football club playing in the Premier Division of the League of Ireland. The club was founded in 1954 and elected to the league in 1969 and they hail from Ballybofey, County Donegal and play their home matches at Finn Park. The clubs colours are blue and white, and they go by the nickname the Harps, the main successes of the club include winning an FAI Cup in 1973–74 and the First Division title in 2004. Finn Harps share a rivalry with Derry City with whom they contest the Northwest Derby. Finn Harps was formed in 1954 as a junior club, the clubs name derives from the river that runs through Ballybofey — the River Finn — and a traditional Irish symbol — the harp. They first came to prominence by winning the 1968 FAI Junior Cup. This enabled them to compete in the 1969 FAI Intermediate Cup, after they were knocked out of that competition, club directors Fran Fields and Patsy McGowan decided to apply to the League of Ireland for membership. The club was admitted into the ranks in May 1969. After initial worries that the club were not of sufficient standard the club became a force during the 1970s. Two years later, Dalymount Park was again the scene of the clubs only FAI Cup win, two goals from Brendan Bradley and one by Charlie Ferry saw off the challenge of St. Patricks Athletic. Finn Harps qualified for European competitions on four occasions during the 1970s, the club was again runner-up in the League of Ireland Cup finals of 1974 and 1975 to Waterford and Bohemians respectively. Through the 1970s, the club never finished in the bottom half of the table and were widely respected for their attractive. The 1980s saw a decline of the club in terms of competing with the best in Ireland. A series of changes were effected over the next few years in an attempt to raise the club. Patsy McGowan took over as manager for the time at the start of the 1992–93 season. The next three seasons saw the finish in the play-off position twice, although they were beaten both times, once by Cobh Ramblers and once by Athlone Town. McGowan was let go by the club before his aim of promotion could be completed, nevertheless, Finn Harps went on to win promotion at the end of the 1995–96 season to end their 11-season spell in the First Division. Charlie McGeever was appointed manager and despite time being against him, by the seasons conclusion, he had ensured that the clubs Premier Division status was retained
Kilkenny City A.F.C.
Kilkenny City Association Football Club was an Irish football club. The club hails from Kilkenny and used Buckley Park as their home pitch, Buckley Park has hosted many International under age soccer games. Kilkenny City will be entering the under 20 division this season which run co-currently with the schoolboy season, in 1966 a group of Leaving Certificate students made the most of having a free class at the local Christian Brothers school. They debated the pros and cons, devised a plan and, finally, the club was originally known as EMFA, becoming Kilkenny City in 1989. Jim Rhatigan was appointed as the secretary a position he still holds. EM stood for Emmett Street and FA for Fatima Place where Jim Rhatigan grew up, initially EMFA competed in the U18 Kilkenny and District Youth League under the management of Donie Butler. Donie Butler served as Commercial Manager of the FAI during the Jack Charlton years, the club was unable to afford a new set of jerseys and so agreed to play in an all white strip. The logic being that all the players had at least one white t-shirt or shirt they could wear, the clubs colours changed to claret and blue before changing again to black and amber, coinciding with the renaming of the club. EMFA graduated from junior football in 1971–72 season, Jim Rhatigan became their manager and the club remained in junior football until 1984. During this period the club purchased 5.7 acres of land from a farmer by the name of Mick Murphy, owner of the adjacent Tennypark House. They had previously played their games at the Freshford Road grounds. The ground was originally called Tennypark and was later named Buckley Park in honour of Marty Buckley, a bid of One million was made for the clubs grounds in the late eighties but was rejected in the favour of football. In 1984 the club won the Junior league and cup remaining undefeated throughout the entire season and it was decided that he club should apply for admission to the then League of Ireland. In their maiden season Kilkenny City then known as EMFA, finished tenth in the First Division and their first League of Ireland game was played on 8 October 1985 at home to Derry City and ended in a 1–1 draw. EMFA won their first honour in 1987, winning the League of Ireland First Division Shield defeating Finn Harps 4–2 in Oriel Park, the club changed its name to Kilkenny City in 1989. In 1991 under Joe McGrath they reached the FAI Cup semi-final before suffering defeat to Shamrock Rovers, in the 1996–97 season Kilkenny City won the First Division title with 11 points to spare over their nearest rivals Drogheda United thus gaining promotion to the Premier Division. Their stay in the premier was short however as they finished in eleventh the following season and were relegated back to the First Division, in the 1999–00 season Kilkenny city finished third and beat Waterford United in a promotion-relegation playoff returning to the Premier. However, Kilkenny city were unable to extend their stay in the top flight beyond a single season managing only a league victory throughout the whole season
UEFA Champions League
The UEFA Champions League is an annual continental club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations and contested by top-division European clubs. It is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world, the UEFA Champions League final is the most watched annual sporting event worldwide. The final of the 2012–13 tournament had the highest TV ratings to date, the pre-1992 competition was initially a straight knockout tournament open only to the champion club of each country. During the 1990s, the format was expanded, incorporating a round-robin group stage to include clubs that finished runner-up of some nations top-level league. Clubs that finish next-in-line in each top level league, having not qualified for the UEFA Champions League competition. In its present format, the UEFA Champions League begins in mid-July with three qualifying rounds and a play-off round. The 10 surviving teams enter the stage, joining 22 other teams qualified in advance. The 32 teams are drawn into eight groups of four teams, the eight group winners and eight runners-up proceed to the knockout phase that culminates with the final match in May. The winner of the UEFA Champions League qualifies for the UEFA Super Cup, Real Madrid is the most successful club in the competitions history, having won the tournament 11 times, including its first five seasons. Spanish clubs have accumulated the highest number of victories, followed by England, the competition has been won by 22 different clubs,12 of which have won it more than once. Since the tournament changed name and structure in 1992, no club has managed consecutive wins, Milan were the last holders to defend their title. The reigning champions are Real Madrid, who secured their title in the competition after defeating Atlético Madrid on penalties following a 1–1 draw in the 2016 final. The first pan-European tournament was the Challenge Cup, a competition between clubs in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Mitropa Cup, a competition modelled after the Challenge Cup, was created in 1927, an idea of Austrian Hugo Meisl, and played between Central European clubs. In 1930, the Coupe des Nations, the first attempt to create a cup for national clubs of Europe, was played and organised by Swiss club Servette. Held in Geneva, it brought together ten champions from across the continent, the tournament was won by Újpest of Hungary. Latin European nations came together to form the Latin Cup in 1949 and it was conceived in Paris in 1955 as the European Champion Clubs Cup. The first edition of the European Cup took place during the 1955–56 season, the first European Cup match took place on 4 September 1955, and ended in a 3–3 draw between Sporting CP and Partizan. The first goal in European Cup history was scored by João Baptista Martins of Sporting CP, the inaugural final took place at the Parc des Princes between Stade de Reims and Real Madrid
UEFA Europa League
The UEFA Europa League, previously called the UEFA Cup, is an annual football club competition organized by UEFA since 1971 for eligible European football clubs. Clubs qualify for the competition based on their performance in their national leagues, previously called the UEFA Cup, the competition has been known as the UEFA Europa League since the 2009–10 season, following a change in format. For UEFA footballing records purposes, the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League are considered the same competition, in 1999, the UEFA Cup Winners Cup was abolished and merged with the UEFA Cup. For the 2004–05 competition a group stage was added prior to the knockout phase, the 2009 re-branding included a merge with the UEFA Intertoto Cup, producing an enlarged competition format, with an expanded group stage and changed qualifying criteria. The winner enters at least at the round, and will enter the group stage if the berth reserved for the Champions League title holders is not used. The title has been won by 27 different clubs,12 of which have won the more than once. The UEFA Cup was preceded by the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, which was a European football competition played between 1955 and 1971, the competition grew from 11 teams during the first cup to 64 teams by the last cup which was played in 1970–71. It had become so important on the European football scene that in the end it was taken over by UEFA, the UEFA Cup was first played in the 1971–72 season, with an all-English final of Wolverhampton Wanderers versus Tottenham Hotspur, with Spurs taking the first honours. The title was retained by another English club, Liverpool in 1973, Borussia would win the competition in 1975 and 1979, and reach the final again in 1980. Liverpool won the competition for the time in 1976, beating Club Brugge in the final. During the 1980s, IFK Göteborg and Real Madrid won the competition twice each,1989 saw the commencement of the Italian clubs domination, when Maradonas Napoli beat Stuttgart. The 1990s started with two finals, and in 1992, Torino lost the final to Ajax on the away goals rule. Juventus won the competition for a time in 1993 and Internazionale kept the cup in Italy the following year. 1995 saw a third final, with Parma proving their consistency. The only final with no Italians during that decade was in 1996, Parma won the cup in 1999, which ended the Italian club era. Liverpool won the competition for the time in 2001 and Porto triumphed in the 2003 and 2011 tournaments. In 2004, the cup returned to Spain with Valencia being victorious, either side of Sevillas success, two Russian teams, CSKA Moscow in 2005 and Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2008, had their glory and yet another former Soviet club, Ukraines Shakhtar Donetsk, won in 2009. Atlético Madrid would themselves win twice in three seasons, in 2010 and 2012, the latter in another all-Spanish final, in 2013, Chelsea would become the first Champions League holders to win the UEFA Cup/Europa League the following year
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
Longford Town F.C.
Longford Town Football Club is an Irish football club playing in the League of Ireland First Division. Club colours are red and black, and the club goes by the nickname De Town, in October 2016, the clubs senior side suffered relegation from the Premier Division at the end of a very disappointing 2016 season. Previously the Town was promoted to the Premier Division at the end of the 2014 season following a stint in the First Division. Longford Town was founded in 1924 but had to wait 60 years for election to the League of Ireland in 1984. In their first season in the league they finished last in the Premier Division and were one of the four sides to be relegated to the newly created First Division for the following season, in their second season they finished bottom of the First Division with only 7 points. They finished in the six of the ten team First Division in each of the next eleven seasons. In the 1998–99 season they missed out a place in the playoff by just four points. The following season saw an improvement when they finished 2nd in the First Division. Longford had a decent season in the Premier Division in 2000–01 finishing in mid-table and that season also saw the club reach the FAI Cup final for the first time where they lost 1–0 to Bohemian. As Bohemian also won the League title that season, Longford Town FC qualified to play in the UEFA Cup in July 2001, a meeting over 2 games with Bulgarian club side PFC Litex Lovech ended in a 3–1 aggregate victory for the Bulgarians. Things were less comfortable in the league during the 2001–02 season after that as they ended up in the relegation/promotion playoff and they had to play Finn Harps and they survived in Premier Division just about. They won in a penalty shootout after the tie ended 3–3 on aggregate, after that tough season the club became an established top division team with four successive top six finishes in the four seasons immediately after that. They also reached three more FAI Cup finals winning two of them, in 2004 they produced a cup double by winning the League of Ireland Cup in addition to retaining the FAI Cup. Because of their back-to-back FAI Cup successes the club entered European competition for two seasons in a row, on both occasions, however, they lost in their opening tie. In 2006 Longford finished in 8th place in the league, the 2007 season was a disappointing one for the midlands club as they finished last in the division and as a result were relegated. That is not the story, though, as the club were deducted six points during the season for failing to comply with club licensing procedures. These six points proved crucial in the end, as without this deduction they would have finished safe from relegation and this cost the club dearly, as there followed six frustrating years in the First Division, before being promoted as champions at the end of the 2014 season. The title was clinched following a resounding 5–0 victory at home to Shamrock Rovers B on October 3,2014, in their first season back in the Premier Division, the Town finished off the 2015 season in 6th position
UEFA Intertoto Cup
The competition was discontinued after the 2008 tournament. Teams who originally would have entered the Intertoto Cup now directly enter the qualifying stages of the UEFA Europa League from this point, the tournament was founded in 1961–62, but was only taken over by UEFA in 1995. Any club who wished to participate had to apply for entry, the cup billed itself as providing both an opportunity for clubs who otherwise would not get the chance to enter the UEFA Cup and as an opportunity for sports lotteries to continue during the summer. This reflects its background, which was as a tournament solely for football pools, in 1995, the tournament came under official UEFA sanctioning and UEFA Cup qualification places were granted. Initially, two were provided, this was increased to three after one year, but in 2006, it was increased to the final total of 11. The Intertoto Cup was the idea of Malmö FF chairman Eric Persson, thommen, and the Austrian coach Karl Rappan, who coached the Swiss national team at the 1938 FIFA World Cup and at the 1954 World Cup. The Cup for the Cupless was also promoted by the Swiss newspaper Sport. It derived its name from Toto, the German term for football pool, thommen, who had set up football betting pools in Switzerland in 1932, had a major interest in having purposeful matches played in the summer break. UEFA were initially disinclined to support the tournament, finding its betting background distasteful, nevertheless they permitted the new tournament, clubs which qualified for one of the official continental competitions, such as the European Champions Cups and Cup Winners Cup, were not allowed to participate. The first tournament was held in 1961 as the International Football Cup, initially the Cup had a group stage, which led to knock-out matches culminating in a final. By 1967, it had become difficult to organize the games, and so the knock-out rounds, instead, group winners received prizes of CHF10, 000-15,000. By 1995, UEFA had reconsidered its opinion, took control of the tournament. Initially, two winners were given a place in the UEFA Cup, the success of one of the first winners, Bordeaux, in reaching the final of the 1995–96 UEFA Cup encouraged UEFA to add a third UEFA Cup place in 1996. Many clubs disliked the competition and saw it as disruptive in the preparation for the new season, as a consequence, they did not nominate themselves for participation even if entitled. Following the threat of bans of English teams from all UEFA competitions, in following years, UEFA made it possible for nations to forfeit Intertoto places. Other clubs have built upon their success in the UI Cup, furthermore, UEFA rejected this assertion that the tournament is disruptive. In December 2007, following the election of new UEFA president Michel Platini and this was a part of a range of changes that were to be made to the UEFA Cup/Champions League System. Instead of teams qualifying for the Intertoto Cup, they now qualify directly for the qualifying stages of the UEFA Europa League
Cork City F.C.
Cork City Football Club is an Irish association football club based in Cork. The club currently plays in the League of Ireland Premier Division, the club was founded and elected to the League of Ireland in 1984. It was one of the first clubs in Ireland to field a team of professional footballers, between 2008 and 2010 however, the club suffered financial and management issues and entered a period of examinership. While the clubs holding company was wound up by the courts, fans were awarded a licence under the name Cork City FORAS Co-op, the club subsequently re-acquired rights to the name Cork City Football Club, and were promoted back to the premier division for the 2012 season. Citys traditional colours are green and white with red trim, the club play home games at Turners Cross. The current club are not the first to use the name Cork City, during the 1920s teams referred to as Cork City competed in both the Munster Senior League and the Munster Senior Cup. A team named Cork City finished as Munster Senior Cup runners up in 1924–25, another Cork City F. C. also played in the League of Ireland between 1938 and 1940. Following the bankruptcy of Cork United in 1982, senior football returned to the city with the formation of a new Cork City FC in 1984, founded by officials from several Cork clubs, the new club was elected to the League of Ireland. Bobby Tambling was the first manager appointed to the club, the FAI Cup offered some respite, however Shamrock Rovers knocked City out in the semi-finals – in the last match played at the Lodge. In 1986 the club moved to a new home at Turners Cross, the following year, former Ireland striker Eamon OKeefe arrived as manager, delivering the Munster Senior Cup, and the League of Ireland Cup. By 1988, OMahony was re-installed as manager, and the side finished eighth in the league, while Torpedo Moscow knocked the club out of the 1989–90 European Cup Winners Cup, City earned a fifth-place finish in the Premier Division, and the Munster Senior Cup was reclaimed. The early 1990s saw lengthy unbeaten league runs, high league positions, retention of the Munster Senior Cup through four years, and a number of games in European competition. The most notable European game was a UEFA Cup tie with Bayern Munich,1993 saw Cork City land the League of Ireland Premier Division title for the first time, after a complicated three team play-off. OMahoney resigned and the moved to a new stadium in Bishopstown at the end of the season. Damien Richardson took the helm and the 1993/94 season began with City coming from three goals down to beat Welsh side Cwmbran Town in the UEFA Champions League, in the following round they suffered odd-goal defeats both home and away to Turkish side Galatasaray. City finished in position in the league that year. 1994/95 was a season for Cork City. Noel OMahony was re-appointed as manager but the title challenge collapsed, the club did have successes in the Munster Senior Cup and League of Ireland Cup that season however