Champions Cup (All-Ireland)

Last updated
Champions Cup
Unite-the-Union-Champions-Cup.jpg
Organising body Irish Football Association
Football Association of Ireland
Founded2019
Region Ulster Banner.svg Northern Ireland
Flag of Ireland.svg Republic of Ireland
Number of teams2
Current champions Dundalk Flag of Ireland.svg
Most successful club(s)Dundalk Flag of Ireland.svg (1 title) [1]

The Champions Cup (known as the Unite the Union Champions Cup for sponsorship purposes) is a cross-border association football super cup inaugurated in 2019 that features the league champions from both football associations on the island of Ireland. The competition sees the League of Ireland Premier Division champions from the Republic of Ireland face the NIFL Premiership champions from Northern Ireland. The Champions Cup is the successor to the Setanta Sports Cup, the previous all-Ireland competition which ran from 2005 until 2014. The Champions Cup is sponsored by Unite the Union, the British and Irish trade union. [2]

Contents

History

The Champions Cup is the seventh major all-Ireland competition since Irish football was split into two jurisdictions following the partition of Ireland in 1921. Previous competitions include the Dublin and Belfast Intercity Cup (1941–1949), the North-South Cup (1961–1963), the Blaxnit Cup (1967–1974), the Texaco Cup (1973–1975), the Tyler Cup (1978–1980), and the Setanta Sports Cup (2005–2014). There was also the Irish News Cup (1995–1999), however this is not counted among the major all-Ireland competitions, as neither the league champions or the cup winners were invited.

The final edition of the previous all-Ireland competition, the Setanta Sports Cup, took place in 2014. Linfield and Cliftonville declined the invitation to take part, citing inconvenient fixture scheduling and reduced prize money as their reasons for deciding not to enter. As a result, Ballinamallard United and Coleraine were invited to take part instead, and the tournament did eventually take place – for what turned out to be the final time. [3] The withdrawal of two high-profile Northern Ireland Football League clubs was a major blow for the competition, and raised doubts regarding its future. The 2015 tournament was initially scheduled to take place as planned, with four clubs from each league. However, in May 2015, NIFL clubs again voiced concerns over fixture scheduling – particularly plans for midweek games. [4] When suitable fixture dates could not be agreed upon by the clubs, the competition was ultimately postponed until 2016. [5] However, the 2016 tournament did not materialise. In December 2015, principal sponsor Setanta Sports was acquired by Eir and became Eir Sport in 2016, with the competition eventually being scrapped.

In February 2019, the FAI announced that a 'champions match' would take place between the League of Ireland champions and the Northern Ireland Football League champions. However, the Northern Ireland Football League said they were surprised at the announcement, adding that discussions were still ongoing. [6] In May 2019, after five years without an all-Ireland competition, it was confirmed that a new competition would take place between the champions of the Northern Ireland Football League and the League of Ireland. The inaugural competition was a two-legged tie played in November 2019, with each team playing home and away. The winners received 50,000, while the runners-up received €25,000. A further €25,000 was allocated to community-based projects in the local areas of the two competing clubs. [2]

Editions

2019

In the inaugural competition, the 2018–19 NIFL Premiership champions, Linfield, faced the 2019 League of Ireland Premier Division champions, Dundalk, with the matches played on 8 and 11 November 2019. Dundalk won 7-1 on aggregate to become the first holders. [7] [8]

First leg
Linfield Ulster Banner.svg 1–1 Flag of Ireland.svg Dundalk
Shayne Lavery Soccerball shade.svg 8' BBC Sport
SSE
Daniel Kelly Soccerball shade.svg 51'
Windsor Park, Belfast
Attendance: 2,819
Referee: Ian McNabb

Second leg
Dundalk Flag of Ireland.svg 6–0 Ulster Banner.svg Linfield
Georgie Kelly Soccerball shade.svg 11'Soccerball shade.svg 69'
Brian Gartland Soccerball shade.svg 16'
Jamie McGrath Soccerball shade.svg 39'
Robbie Benson Soccerball shade.svg 60'
Patrick Hoban Soccerball shade.svg 79'
Report
Oriel Park, Dundalk
Attendance: 2,412
Referee: Stéphanie Frappart

See also

Related Research Articles

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References

  1. "Dundalk crush Linfield 7-1 on aggregate to win new cross-border competition". the42. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  2. 1 2 "INTRODUCING THE UNITE THE UNION CHAMPIONS CUP". SSE Airtricity League. 9 May 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  3. "Cliftonville and Linfield withdraw from Setanta Cup". BBC Sport . 9 December 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  4. "Concerns over Setanta Sports Cup fixtures". BBC Sport . 7 May 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  5. "Setanta Sports Cup postponed to 2016 as clubs fails to agree dates". BBC Sport . 11 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  6. "NI Football League surprised at FAI's champions match announcement". BBC Sport . 12 February 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  7. "Dundalk crush Linfield 7-1 on aggregate to win new cross-border competition". The 42. 11 November 2019. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  8. "Champions Cup: Dundalk 6-0 Linfield (7-1 on aggregate)". BBC Sport. 11 November 2019. Retrieved 12 November 2019.