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
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
Sligo Rovers F.C.
Sligo Rovers Football Club is a professional Irish football club playing in the Premier Division of the League of Ireland. The club was founded in 1928 and have been in the League of Ireland since 1934, the club is a co-operative venture, owned by the people of Sligo. Rovers have played at The Showgrounds since their inception and they recently won a third FAI Cup in four years and in the season previous to this recent cup win became the 2012 Premier Division Champions, winning the title with two games to spare. In total they have won three titles, five FAI Cups and two League cups. On 27 February 2012 Rovers had announced an international sponsorship deal with local car dealers Connollys Volkswagen. Sligo Rovers Football Club was formed on 17 September 1928 as a result of an amalgamation of two sides, Sligo Town and Sligo Blues. Their first game was a 9-1 victory against Ballyshannon in Donegal on 23 September 1928 in the round of the Connacht Cup. The club, elected to the League of Ireland in 1934, hails from Sligo, the home colours are red with white sleeve uppers, with white shorts and socks while the away colours are white with red sides, red shorts and red socks. The third alternative kit is navy with red sleeve uppers, nacy shorts, the club started well by winning the FAI Junior Cup in their first ever season, beating Grangegorman in the final at the Showgrounds 3-0. The following season also brought silverware in the shape of the Connacht Junior Cup with Rovers beating Galway in the final 1-0 after a replay. After this success the club moved up another level the season by joining the Leinster Senior League and played their first game away to UCD in August 1932. The club performed well in their first season at this level eventually finishing third as Brideville won the league. This season also saw The Bit O Red make their first appearance in the FAI Cup, the next year brought yet more glory with the club winning the Leinster Senior League in only their second year at this level. They did so by beating Distillery in a play-off at Tolka Park 3-2 after the teams had finished the league level on points. Following this achievement the club was elected to the Free State League on 28 June 1934 along with Waterford as both Shelbourne and Cork Bohemians resigned from the league, the team finished a highly credible third in that season with Gerry McDaid finishing as top scorer. During this season local Paddy Monaghan won two caps for the Irish national team and is still the man to have achieved this while at the club. The 1936–37 season began in spectacular fashion with Sligo winning their first 11 games, trainer and captain that year was Jimmy Surgeoner in his only season at the club. Top scorer was Englishman Harry Litherland whose record of 19 league goals that season was surpassed by Eoin Doyle in 2011 season scoring 20 league goals, the club also won the Dublin City Cup this year beating Dundalk in the final
St Patrick's Athletic F.C.
St Patricks Athletic F. C. is an Irish association football club based in Inchicore, Dublin, that plays in the Irish Premier Division. Founded in May 1929, they played originally in the Phoenix Park, St Patricks Athletic have won numerous trophies in Irish Club Football, including nine League Titles, the fifth most in Irish Football, as well as three FAI Cups and two League Cups. The current manager is Liam Buckley, who is in his spell in charge at the club after replacing Pete Mahon in 2011. The club graduated through the ranks of the Leinster Senior League and duly took their place in the League of Ireland in 1951, the clubs glory years came in the 1950s and 1990s when they won 7 of their 9 league titles. The club also have the record for never having been relegated from the Premier Division, the club play in red and white colours, and their nicknames include The Saints, Supersaints and Pats. The Saints also have a lot of Dublin Derby games with the likes of Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers, during the late 1940s and 1950s St Pats played in the Leinster Senior League. During this period won the league title on six occasions. This included four successive titles between 1947–48 and 1950–51, in 1947–48 St Pats completed a treble after also winning both the FAI Intermediate Cup and Leinster Senior Cup. The 1948–49 season would see St Pats win a Leinster Senior League / FAI Intermediate Cup double, in 1950–51 a young Shay Gibbons helped St Pats win the Leinster Senior League title for a fourth time. After St Pats first team joined the League of Ireland in 1951–52, in 1951–52 the club was admitted, along with Cork side Evergreen United, to the League of Ireland. St Pats made an impact, winning the league championship at their first attempt. Two more league championship successes followed in 1954–55 and 1955–56, the club had to wait until 1959 before their first FAI Cup success, repeating the feat in 1961. and Willie Peyton are players who contributed greatly during this era. St Pats struggled throughout the late 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s with only the odd cup final or young star emerging to brighten things for long suffering Pats fans, among those players to emerge was Noel Campbell. Campbell spent a number of years with St Pats before moving to SC Fortuna Köln where he would play 8 seasons, perhaps the brightest star to play for St Pats was Paul McGrath. McGrath was signed by Saints manager Charlie Walker from junior side Dalkey United, within a year he had won the PFAI Player of the Year award and earned himself a move to Manchester United. The World cup Winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks also played one match for St Pats, the appointment of Brian Kerr as manager in 1986 was a major turning point in the fortunes of the club. Kerr worked on limited resources to create team capable of challenging the best, at the end of the 1988/89 season St Pats left Richmond Park for what the board of directors called a short time while redevelopment work was done. Playing in Harolds Cross, Kerrs blend of players and experienced campaigners disregarded by other clubs won the clubs first league championship in 34 years on Easter Monday 1990
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
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