Ulster Senior League (association football)

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Ulster Senior League
Founded 1986
Country Republic of Ireland Ireland
Region County Donegal
Number of teams 7
Level on pyramid 3
Domestic cup(s) FAI Cup
FAI Intermediate Cup
Knockalla Caravans Senior Cup
League cup(s) Ulster Senior League Cup
Current champions Cockhill Celtic
Most championships Fanad United (14)
Website www.uslfootball.com

The Ulster Senior League is an association football league featuring amateur, intermediate, and League of Ireland reserve teams. Together with the Leinster Senior League Senior Division and the Munster Senior League Senior Premier Division, it forms the third level of the Republic of Ireland football league system. Ulster Senior League teams also compete in the FAI Cup and the FAI Intermediate Cup. The winners of the Ulster Senior League have also been invited to play in the League of Ireland Cup. Despite using the Ulster name in its title, almost all of its clubs are based in County Donegal. The most successful club in the league has been Fanad United who have won fourteen league titles and ten league cups. Since 2006 the USL has operated as a summer league with the season typically operating from April to October.


The Ulster Senior League was formed in 1986. The driving force behind the establishment of the league was Fr. Michael Sweeney, a pioneer of junior and intermediate association football in County Donegal. In addition to founding the USL, Sweeney had earlier been instrumental in both establishing the Donegal League and forming Fanad United.[1][2] Fanad United were the inaugural USL champions in 1986–87 and they subsequently went on to become the league's most successful club, winning fourteen league titles and ten league cups. In more recent seasons, Cockhill Celtic have challenged Fanad United's dominance, winning their first title in 2010 and then four consecutive titles between 2013 and 2016.[3][4] The winners of the Ulster Senior League have regularly been invited to participate in the League of Ireland Cup. In 1987–88 Fanad United were semi-finalists. Cockhill Celtic, Culdaff and Swilly Rovers have all represented the USL in the League of Ireland Cup.[2][5] Fanad United have also won the FAI Intermediate Cup twice while Letterkenny Rovers were finalists in 2015–16.[6][7]

2016 teams[edit]

Team Home town/suburb Home ground
Bonagee United Letterkenny Dry Arch Park
Cockhill Celtic Buncrana Charlie O'Donnell Sports Grounds
Derry City Reserves Derry Brandywell Stadium
Fanad United Fanad Traigh-a-Loch
Finn Harps Reserves Ballybofey Finn Park
Letterkenny Rovers Letterkenny Leckview Park
Swilly Rovers Ramelton Swilly Park

Source: [8]


List of winners by season[edit]

Season Winner Runner-up
2016 Cockhill Celtic
2015 Cockhill Celtic
2014 Cockhill Celtic Derry City Reserves [9]
2013 Cockhill Celtic Drumkeen United [10]
2012 Derry City Reserves Cockhill Celtic [11]
2011 Fanad United
2010 Cockhill Celtic
2009 Letterkenny Rovers Kildrum Tigers
2008 Kildrum Tigers Fanad United
2007 Kildrum Tigers Fanad United
2006–07 Fanad United Kildrum Tigers
2005–06 Fanad United Kildrum Tigers
2004–05 Letterkenny Rovers Kildrum Tigers
2003–04 Kildrum Tigers Letterkenny Rovers
2002–03 Quigleys Point Swifts Letterkenny Rovers
2001–02 Quigleys Point Swifts
2000–01 Fanad United Quigleys Point Swifts
1999–00 Swilly Rovers Keadue Rovers
1998–99 Finn Harps Reserves Swilly Rovers
1997–98 Fanad United Swilly Rovers
1996–97 Fanad United
1995–96 Fanad United Derry City Reserves
1994–95 Fanad United
1993–94 Fanad United
1992–93 Fanad United Finn Harps Reserves
1991–92 Buncrana Hearts Fanad United
1990–91 Fanad United
1989–90 Fanad United
1988–89 Culdaff Fanad United/Letterkenny Rovers
1987–88 Fanad United Letterkenny Rovers
1986–87 Fanad United


List of winners by club[edit]

Club Titles Seasons
Fanad United 14 1986–87, 1987–88, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98, 2000–01, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2011
Cockhill Celtic 5 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Kildrum Tigers 3 2003–04, 2007, 2008
Letterkenny Rovers 2 2004–05, 2009
Quigley's Point Swifts 2 2001–02, 2002–03
Buncrana Hearts 1 1991–92
Culdaff 1 1988–89
Derry City Reserves 1 2012
Finn Harps Reserves 1 1998–99
Swilly Rovers 1 1999–00


Ulster Senior League Cup[edit]

The Ulster Senior League Cup has had four different sponsors since first being played for in 1986–87. Initially, the competition was sponsored by the Hotel Glenveagh in Gweedore before being sponsored by Hydro Seafoods and then Marine Harvest. It is now known as the Donegal News Ulster Senior League Cup.[4]


Season Winner Score Runner-up Venue
1986–87 Carndonagh 1–0 Culdaff
1987–88 Fanad United 4–4 Buncrana Hearts
Replay Fanad United 1–0 Buncrana Hearts
1988–89 Fanad United 3–0 Derry City Reserves
1989–90 St Catherine's 4–3 Swilly Rovers
1990–91 Derry City Reserves 0–0 Fanad United
Replay Derry City Reserves 0–0 Fanad United
2nd Replay Derry City Reserves 2–0 Fanad United
1991–92 Letterkenny Rovers 3–0 Bonagee United
1992–93 Fanad United 1–0 [note 1] Buncrana Hearts
1994–95 Fanad United 3–1 Buncrana Hearts
1995–96 Fanad United 2–1 Drumoghill Celtic
1996–97 Derry City Reserves 2–0 Drumkeen United
1997–98 Swilly Rovers 5–0 [note 2] Derry City Reserves
1998–99 Swilly Rovers 2–1 Fanad United
1999–00 Drumoghill Celtic 3–0 Fanad United
2000–01 Derry City Reserves 2–0 Quigleys Point Swifts
2001–02 Letterkenny Rovers 3–0 Swilly Rovers
2002–03 Bonagee United 2–0 Fanad United
2003–04 Letterkenny Rovers 4–0 Keadue Rovers
2004–05 Fanad United 3–0 Swilly Rovers 0
2005–06 Fanad United 1–1 [note 3] Killea
2006–07 Kildrum Tigers 2–0 Fanad United
2007 Fanad United 1–0 Swilly Rovers
2008 Fanad United 2–0 Buncrana Hearts
2009 Drumkeen United 2–2 [note 4] Fanad United
2010 Cockhill Celtic 3–0 Derry City Reserves
2011 Fanad United 2–1 Cockhill Celtic
2012 Letterkenny Rovers 5–3 Drumkeen United
2013 Cockhill Celtic 1–0 Drumkeen United
2014 Cockhill Celtic 1–0 Swilly Rovers
2015 Cockhill Celtic 2–1 Bonagee United
2016 Cockhill Celtic 2–0 Letterkenny Rovers


  1. ^ After extra time
  2. ^ Final abandoned with Swilly Rovers leading Derry City Reserves 5–0 at half-time
  3. ^ After extra time. Fanad United win 4–2 on penalties
  4. ^ After extra time. Drumkeen United win 4–2 on penalties

Representative team[edit]

An Ulster Senior League representative team competes in the FAI Intermediate Interprovincial Tournament against teams representing the Leinster Senior League, the Munster Senior League and Connacht.[12]

Notable former players[edit]

Republic of Ireland internationals
Northern Ireland U21 international
League of Ireland First Division Top Scorer
League of Ireland manager


  1. ^ "USL founder member and Fanad United legend Fr Mick honoured". www.uslfootball.com. 2 October 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "'Fr Mick': Founding Father, guiding light and history maker". www.donegalsporthub.com. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "Ulster Senior League – Roll of Honour". www.uslfootball.com. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c "Ulster Senior League – League Cup". www.uslfootball.com. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  5. ^ "Ireland - Ireland League Cup 1973/74-2006". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  6. ^ "Ireland - FA Intermediate Cup Winners and Runners-Up". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  7. ^ "Crumlin United retain FAI Intermediate Cup". www.fai.ie. 14 May 2016. Retrieved 15 May 2016. 
  8. ^ "League Table 4 Lanterns Ulster Senior League". www.uslfootball.com. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  9. ^ "(2014) League Table Ulster Senior League". www.uslfootball.com. Retrieved 22 November 2016. 
  10. ^ "(2013) League Table Ulster Senior League". www.uslfootball.com. Retrieved 22 November 2016. 
  11. ^ "(2012) League Table Ulster Senior League". www.uslfootball.com. Retrieved 22 November 2016. 
  12. ^ "League Table 2016 FAI Intermediate Interprovincial Tournament". www.uslfootball.com. Retrieved 22 November 2016.