Ulster F.C.

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Ulster F.C.
Full nameUlster Football Club
Nickname(s)the Red Hand[1]
GroundProspect 1877-79
Ulster Cricket Ground 1879-1930s
LeagueIrish Football League

Ulster Football Club is a defunct Irish association football club that was based in Ballynafeigh, Belfast. It was initially founded in 1877 as a rugby club, but later switched codes to association football. It was subsequently a founding member of the Irish Football League in 1890. The club later switched back to rugby and continued playing into the 1930s.[citation needed]

The club was founded by members of Ulster Cricket Club and played its home games at the Ulster Cricket Ground. It is listed as a rugby club in Richard M. Peter’s Irish Football Annual 1880 and during the 1879-80 season it played 24 games, taking on, among others, local rivals North of Ireland and Queen's College, Belfast.[2] On October 24, 1878 the club hosted a demonstration game between two Scottish association football teams, Queen's Park and Caledonian. This game is recognised as the earliest organised association football match played in Ireland.[3] The club continued, however, playing rugby before switching to association football for the 1882-83 season. During the 1880s and early 1890s, both Ulster and its home ground played a prominent role in the early history of association football in Ireland. Ulster reached the Irish Cup final on three occasions, winning the competition in 1887 after defeating Cliftonville 3-0 in the final.[4] They were also founder members of the Irish Football League and finished as runners-up during its first two seasons, 1890-91 and 1891-92. The club was a member of the League for six seasons in total: four between 1890 and 1894 and two from 1901 to 1903.[5] In between times, the club reverted to rugby, playing in the Ulster Senior League from 1894-1901.[6] During the 1880s, Ballynafeigh also hosted several Irish Cup finals and Ireland international games.[7][8]


Notable former players[edit]

Ireland internationals[edit]

Twelve Ulster F.C. players represented Ireland at international level, winning 44 caps between them.[9][10] Reynolds also went on to play for England.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Belfast News-Letter, 5 January 1892
  2. ^ Neal Garnham The Origins and Development of Football in Ireland. Ulster Historical Foundation, 1999. ISBN 0-901905-93-3
  3. ^ Neal Garnham The Origins and Development of Football in Ireland. Ulster Historical Foundation, 1999. ISBN 0-901905-93-3
  4. ^ Northern Ireland - Cup Finals
  5. ^ Northern Ireland - Final League Tables 1890-1998
  6. ^ Belfast News-Letter, 24 July 1894
  7. ^ England - International Results 1872-1899
  8. ^ Scotland - International Matches 1881-1890
  9. ^ Northern Ireland’s Footballing Greats
  10. ^ "Fred McKee" (in German). weltfussball.de. Retrieved 22 Aug 2014.