League of Ireland

Last updated

League of Ireland
League of Ireland logo.png
Founded 1921
Country Republic of Ireland
Other club(s) from Northern Ireland (1 team)
Confederation UEFA
Divisions Premier Division
First Division
U19 Division
U17 Division
U15 Division
U13 Division
Domestic cup(s) FAI Cup
President's Cup
League cup(s) League of Ireland Cup
Current champions Shamrock Rovers
Most championshipsShamrock Rovers (18)
TV partners RTÉ2 (ROI)
Eir Sport (ROI)
Premier Sports (UK)
FreeSports (UK) [1] [2]
Website SSEAirtricityLeague.ie
Current: 2020 League of Ireland

The League of Ireland (Irish : Sraith na hÉireann), together with the Football Association of Ireland, is one of the two main governing bodies responsible for organising association football in the Republic of Ireland. The term was originally used to refer to a single division league. However today the League of Ireland features five divisions – the Premier Division, the First Division, U19 Division, U17 Division, U15 Division and starting U13 Division. The League of Ireland has always worked closely with the FAI and in 2006 the two bodies formally merged. All the divisions are currently sponsored by Airtricity and as a result the league is also known as the SSE Airtricity League. In 2007, it became one of the first leagues in Europe to introduce a salary cap. [3]

Contents

History

A Division

The League of Ireland was founded in 1921 as a single division known as the A Division. The first season featured eight teams, all from County Dublin. The teams that competed in the first season were Bohemians, Dublin United, Frankfort, Jacobs, Olympia, St. James's Gate, Shelbourne and YMCA. [4] [5] The eight founding members had spent the 1920–21 season playing in the Leinster Senior League. Bohemians and Shelbourne had played in the 1919–20 Irish League. St James's Gate were the inaugural champions. Gate also went on to complete a treble having already won both the 1921–22 FAI Cup and 1921–22 Leinster Senior Cup. In 1922–23 the league was expanded to twelve clubs. Among the new members were Shamrock Rovers, who finished as champions, and Athlone Town who became the first team from outside County Dublin to compete in the league. Together with fellow Dublin clubs teams, Bohemians and Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers would go onto dominate the league during the 1920s and the 1930s.[ citation needed ]

In 1924–25 Bray Unknowns and Fordsons became the second and third teams from outside County Dublin to join the league. Fordsons also became the first team from Munster to play in the league. The league continued to expand numerically and geographically during its first two decades of existence. In 1926–27 Dundalk were elected to the league and in 1932–33 became the first club from outside County Dublin to win the title. Dundalk were subsequently joined by Waterford in 1930–31, Cork Bohemians in 1932–33, Sligo Rovers in 1934–35 and Limerick F.C. in 1937–38. In 1936–37, Sligo Rovers became the second club from outside County Dublin to win the title. [4] [5] During The Emergency/Second World War era Cork United emerged as the league's strongest team. The club won five league titles between 1940–41 and 1945–46, including three in succession. However they subsequently resigned from the league in 1948. [6]

The 1950s was marked by the emergence of St Patrick's Athletic and the re-emergence of Shamrock Rovers. The former succeeded in winning the title at the first attempt in 1951–52 and claimed a further two in the middle of the decade. In 1953–54 the Coad's Colts earned Shamrock Rovers their first title in fifteen years. Drumcondra and Dundalk claimed two League of Ireland titles each during the 1960s but Waterford secured their status as the team of the decade with four league titles, including three in succession between 1967–68 and 1969–70. Six clubs won the League of Ireland title during the 1970s with Waterford, Bohemians and Dundalk winning two titles each. Athlone Town won two league titles at the start of the 1980s but the decade was marked by the four successive league titles won by Shamrock Rovers between 1983–84 and 1986–87. Following the conclusion of the 1984–85 season the league was restructured and the A Division was replaced by the League of Ireland Premier Division. [4] [5]

Second level

The League of Ireland first organised a second level division in 1964–65. The B Division featured reserve teams and emerging senior teams. Although there was no relegation and promotion to and from the A Division, a number of B Division teams, including Home Farm, Bray Wanderers, Athlone Town, UCD, Longford Town and Monaghan United, were subsequently elected to the A Division. [7] [8] In 1985–86 the B Division was replaced as the second level division by the First Division. The First Division featured first teams and a relegation and promotion system operated with the new Premier Division. [4] [9] [10]

Third level

Between 2008 and 2011 the FAI organised a short lived national third level league known as the A Championship. Like the earlier the B Division, the A Championship featured a mixture of League of Ireland reserve teams and emerging senior teams. Unlike the B Division, a promotion and relegation system operated between the Premier Division, the First Division and the A Championship. [3] [11]

Youth leagues

Since 2000–01 the League of Ireland has organised a youth league. It was originally an under-21 league, later becoming an under-20 league, but is now an U19 league. The winners of the overall competition are awarded the Dr Tony O'Neill Cup. [12] [13] In 2015, the League of Ireland also introduced an U17 league. [14] [15] An under-15 league was introduced in 2017, beginning with a truncated season, before fully aligning with the League of Ireland calendar in 2018. An under-13 league is planned to start April 2019. [16] [17] [18]

League of Ireland clubs

2021 Premier Division

Dublin map.png
Locations of Dublin Premier Division teams
TeamHome city/suburbStadiumCapacity
Bohemians Dublin (Phibsborough) Dalymount Park 3,400
Derry City Derry Brandywell 3,700
Drogheda United Drogheda United Park 3,500
Dundalk Dundalk Oriel Park 4,500
Finn Harps Ballybofey Finn Park 4,500
Longford Town Longford Bishopsgate 5,097
St Patrick's Athletic Dublin (Inchicore) Richmond Park 5,350
Shamrock Rovers Dublin (Tallaght) Tallaght Stadium 8,000
Sligo Rovers Sligo The Showgrounds 4,000
Waterford Waterford RSC 5,500

2021 First Division

Dublin map.png
Red pog.svg
UCD
Locations of Dublin First Division teams
TeamHome city/suburbStadium
Athlone Town Athlone Athlone Town Stadium
Cabinteely Dublin (Blackrock) Stradbrook Road
Bray Wanderers Bray Carlisle Grounds
Cobh Ramblers Cobh St. Colman's Park
Cork City Cork Turners Cross
Galway United Galway Eamonn Deacy Park
Shelbourne Dublin (Drumcondra) Tallaght Stadium
Treaty United Limerick Markets Field
UCD Dublin (Belfield) UCD Bowl
Wexford Crossabeg Ferrycarrig Park

Former League of Ireland clubs

Apart from the current twenty members, at least 38 other clubs have competed in the League of Ireland at one time or another. Some of these clubs are still active, playing in intermediate and junior leagues. The list below only includes teams that played in the A Division, the Premier Division and the First Division.

TeamHome town/suburbHome groundCurrent league
Albert Rovers Cork Flower Lodge
Bray Unknowns Bray Carlisle Grounds
Brideville The Liberties, Dublin Richmond Park
Harold's Cross Stadium
Brooklyn Merchants Quay Chalgrove Terrace
Cork Cork The Mardyke
Cork City Cork The Mardyke
Cork Alberts Cork Flower Lodge
Turners Cross
Cork Athletic Cork The Mardyke
Cork Bohemians Cork Turners Cross
Cork Hibernians Cork The Mardyke
Cork United Cork The Mardyke
Dolphin Dolphin's Barn Dolphin Park
Harold's Cross Stadium
Tolka Park
Drumcondra Drumcondra, Dublin Tolka Park Leinster Senior League
Dublin City Fingal various
Dublin United Donnybrook, Dublin Beech Hill
Anglesea Road
Evergreen United / Cork Celtic Cork Turners Cross
Fordsons Cork Ballinlough Road
Frankfort Drumcondra, Dublin Richmond Road
Home Farm Whitehall, Dublin Tolka Park Leinster Senior League
Jacobs Crumlin, Dublin Rutland Avenue
Kildare County Newbridge, County Kildare Station Road
Kilkenny City Kilkenny Buckley Park
Limerick Limerick Markets Field
Mervue United Galway Fahy's Field Galway & District League
Midland Athletic Whitehall, Dublin The Thatch
Monaghan United Monaghan Gortakeegan Dublin Women's Soccer League
Newcastlewest Newcastle West Ballygowan Park Limerick Desmond League
Olympia The Coombe, Dublin Bellevue Lodge
Pioneers Dublin Strand Hall
The Thatch
Leinster Senior League
Rathmines Athletic Rathmines Rathmines Park
Reds United Ringsend Glenmalure Park
Salthill Devon Salthill Drom Soccer Park Galway & District League
St. Francis The Liberties/Clondalkin John Hyland Park Leinster Senior League
St. James's Gate Crumlin, Dublin Iveagh Grounds Leinster Senior League
Shelbourne United Ringsend Beech Hill
Anglesea Road
Glenmalure Park
Shamrock Rovers B Tallaght Tallaght Stadium
Sporting Fingal Fingal Morton Stadium
Thurles Town Thurles Thurles Greyhound StadiumNorth Tipperary District League
Transport Bray/Harold's Cross Carlisle Grounds
Harold's Cross Stadium
Leinster Senior League
YMCA Sandymount YMCA Sports Grounds

Champions

List of winners by season

A Division

SeasonChampionsRunners-upThird Place
1921–22 St. James's Gate (1) Bohemians Shelbourne
1922–23 Shamrock Rovers (1) Shelbourne Bohemians
1923–24 Bohemians (1) Shelbourne Jacobs
1924–25 Shamrock Rovers (2) Bohemians Shelbourne
1925–26 Shelbourne (1) Shamrock Rovers Fordsons
1926–27 Shamrock Rovers (3) Shelbourne Bohemians
1927–28 Bohemians (2) Shelbourne Shamrock Rovers
1928–29 Shelbourne (2) Bohemians Shamrock Rovers
1929–30 Bohemians (3) Shelbourne Shamrock Rovers
1930–31 Shelbourne (3) Dundalk Bohemians
1931–32 Shamrock Rovers (4) Cork Waterford
1932–33 Dundalk (1) Shamrock Rovers Shelbourne
1933–34 Bohemians (4) Cork Shamrock Rovers
1934–35 Dolphin (1) St. James's Gate Sligo Rovers
1935–36 Bohemians (5) Dolphin Cork
1936–37 Sligo Rovers (1) Dundalk Waterford
1937–38 Shamrock Rovers (5) Waterford Dundalk
1938–39 Shamrock Rovers (6) Sligo Rovers Dundalk
1939–40 St. James's Gate (2) Shamrock Rovers Sligo Rovers
1940–41 Cork United (1) Waterford Bohemians
1941–42 Cork United (2) Shamrock Rovers Shelbourne
1942–43 Cork United (3) Dundalk Drumcondra
1943–44 Shelbourne (4) Limerick Shamrock Rovers
1944–45 Cork United (4) Limerick Shamrock Rovers
1945–46 Cork United (5) Drumcondra Waterford
1946–47 Shelbourne (5) Drumcondra Shamrock Rovers
1947–48 Drumcondra (1) Dundalk Shelbourne
1948–49 Drumcondra (2) Shelbourne Dundalk
1949–50 Cork Athletic (1) Drumcondra Shelbourne
1950–51 Cork Athletic (2) Sligo Rovers Drumcondra
1951–52 St. Patrick's Athletic (1) Shelbourne Shamrock Rovers
1952–53 Shelbourne (6) Drumcondra Shamrock Rovers
1953–54 Shamrock Rovers (7) Evergreen United Drumcondra
1954–55 St. Patrick's Athletic (2) Waterford Shamrock Rovers
1955–56 St. Patrick's Athletic (3) Shamrock Rovers Waterford
1956–57 Shamrock Rovers (8) Drumcondra Sligo Rovers
1957–58 Drumcondra (3) Shamrock Rovers Evergreen United
1958–59 Shamrock Rovers (9) Evergreen United Waterford
1959–60 Limerick (1) Cork Celtic Shelbourne
1960–61 Drumcondra (4) St. Patrick's Athletic Waterford
1961–62 Shelbourne (7) Cork Celtic Shamrock Rovers
1962–63 Dundalk (2) Waterford Drumcondra
1963–64 Shamrock Rovers (10) Dundalk Limerick
1964–65 Drumcondra (5) Shamrock Rovers Bohemians
1965–66 Waterford (1) Shamrock Rovers Bohemians
1966–67 Dundalk (3) Bohemians Sligo Rovers
1967–68 Waterford (2) Dundalk Cork Celtic
1968–69 Waterford (3) Shamrock Rovers Cork Hibernians
1969–70 Waterford (4) Shamrock Rovers Cork Hibernians
1970–71 Cork Hibernians (1) Shamrock Rovers Waterford
1971–72 Waterford (5) Cork Hibernians Bohemians
1972–73 Waterford (6) Finn Harps Bohemians
1973–74 Cork Celtic (1) Bohemians Cork Hibernians
1974–75 Bohemians (6) Athlone Town Finn Harps
1975–76 Dundalk (4) Finn Harps Waterford
1976–77 Sligo Rovers (2) Bohemians Drogheda United
1977–78 Bohemians (7) Finn Harps Drogheda United
1978–79 Dundalk (5) Bohemians Drogheda United
1979–80 Limerick United (2) Dundalk Athlone Town
1980–81 Athlone Town (1) Dundalk Limerick United
1981–82 Dundalk (6) Shamrock Rovers Bohemians
1982–83 Athlone Town (2) Drogheda United Dundalk
1983–84 Shamrock Rovers (11) Bohemians Athlone Town
1984–85 Shamrock Rovers (12) Bohemians Athlone Town

Source: [4] [5]


League of Ireland Premier Division

SeasonChampionsRunners-upThird Place
1985-86 Shamrock Rovers (13) Galway United Dundalk
1986-87 Shamrock Rovers (14) Dundalk Bohemians
1987-88 Dundalk (7) St Patrick's Athletic Bohemians
1988-89 Derry City (1) Dundalk Limerick City
1989-90 St Patrick's Athletic (4) Derry City Dundalk
1990-91 Dundalk (8) Cork City St Patrick's Athletic
1991-92 Shelbourne (8) Derry City Cork City
1992-93 Cork City (1) Bohemians Shelbourne
1993-94 Shamrock Rovers (15) Cork City Galway United
1994-95 Dundalk (9) Derry City Shelbourne
1995-96 St Patrick's Athletic (5) Bohemians Sligo Rovers
1996-97 Derry City (2) Bohemians Shelbourne
1997-98 St Patrick's Athletic (6) Shelbourne Cork City
1998-99 St Patrick's Athletic (7) Cork City Shelbourne
1999-00 Shelbourne (9) Cork City Bohemians
2000-01 Bohemians (8) Shelbourne Cork City
2001-02 Shelbourne (10) St Patrick's Athletic Shamrock Rovers
2002-03 Bohemians (9) Shelbourne Shamrock Rovers
2003 Shelbourne (11) Bohemians Cork City
2004 Shelbourne (12) Cork City Bohemians
2005 Cork City (2) Derry City Shelbourne
2006 Shelbourne (13) Derry City Drogheda United
2007 Drogheda United (1) St Patrick's Athletic Bohemians
2008 Bohemians (10) St Patrick's Athletic Derry City
2009 Bohemians (11) Shamrock Rovers Cork City
2010 Shamrock Rovers (16) Bohemians Sligo Rovers
2011 Shamrock Rovers (17) Sligo Rovers Derry City
2012 Sligo Rovers (3) Drogheda United St Patrick's Athletic
2013 St Patrick’s Athletic (8) Dundalk Sligo Rovers
2014 Dundalk (10) Cork City Sligo Rovers
2015 Dundalk (11) Cork City Shamrock Rovers
2016 Dundalk (12) Cork City Derry City
2017 Cork City (3) Dundalk Shamrock Rovers
2018 Dundalk (13) Cork City Shamrock Rovers
2019 Dundalk (14) Shamrock Rovers Bohemians
2020 Shamrock Rovers (18) Bohemians Dundalk

Source: [4] [5]

List of winners by club

ClubTitlesSeasonsRunners-upSeasons
Shamrock Rovers
18
1922–23, 1924–25, 1926–27, 1931–32, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1953–54, 1956–57, 1958–59, 1963–64, 1983–84, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1993–94, 2010, 2011, 2020
14
1925-26, 1932–33, 1939–40, 1941–42, 1955–56, 1957–58, 1964–65, 1965–66, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1970–71, 1981–82, 2001–02, 2019
Dundalk
14
1932–33, 1962–63, 1966–67, 1975–76, 1978–79, 1981–82, 1987–88, 1990–91, 1994–95, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019
12
1930-31, 1936–37, 1942–43, 1947–48, 1963–64, 1967–68, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1986–87, 1988–89, 2013, 2017
Shelbourne
13
1925–26, 1928–29, 1930–31, 1943–44, 1946–47, 1952–53, 1961–62, 1991–92, 1999–2000, 2001-02, 2003, 2004, 2006
9
1922-23, 1923–24, 1926–27, 1927–28, 1929–30, 1948–49, 1951–52, 1997–98, 2002–03
Bohemians
11
1923–24, 1927–28, 1929–30, 1933–34, 1935–36, 1974–75, 1977–78, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2008, 2009
15
1921-22, 1924–25, 1928–29, 1966–67, 1973–74, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1983–84, 1984–85, 1992–93, 1995–96, 1996–97, 2003, 2010, 2020
St Patrick's Athletic
8
1951–52, 1954–55, 1955–56, 1989–90, 1995–96, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2013
4
1960-61, 1987–88, 2007, 2008
Waterford
6
1965–66, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1971–72, 1972–73
4
1937-38, 1940–41, 1954–55, 1962-63
Drumcondra
5
1947–48, 1948–49, 1957–58, 1960–61, 1964–65
5
1945-46, 1946–47, 1949–50, 1952–53, 1956–57
Cork United
5
1940–41, 1941–42, 1942–43, 1944–45, 1945–46
0
Cork City
3
1992–93, 2005, 2017
9
1990-91, 1993–94, 1998–99, 1999-2000, 2004, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018
Sligo Rovers
3
1936–37, 1976–77, 2012
3
1938-39, 1950–51, 2011
Derry City
2
1988–89, 1996–97
5
1989-90, 1991–92, 1994–95, 2005, 2006
Limerick
2
1959–60, 1979–80
2
1943-44, 1944–45
St James's Gate
2
1921–22, 1939–40
1
1934-35
Athlone Town
2
1980–81, 1982–83
1
1974-75
Cork Athletic
2
1949–50, 1950–51
0
Cork Celtic
1
1973–74
4
1953-54, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1961-62
Drogheda United
1
2007
2
1982-83, 2012
Dolphin
1
1934–35
1
1935-36
Cork Hibernians
1
1970–71
1
1971-72
Finn Harps
0
3
1972-73, 1975–76, 1977–78
Cork
0
2
1931-32, 1933–34
Galway United
0
1
1985-86

List of winners by county

CountyTitlesMost Successful Club
Colours of Dublin.svg Dublin 58 Shamrock Rovers (18)
Colours of Louth.svg Louth 15 Dundalk (14)
Colours of Cork.svg Cork 12 Cork United (5)
Colours of Waterford.svg Waterford 6 Waterford (6)
Colours of Sligo.svg Sligo 3 Sligo Rovers (3)
Colours of Derry.svg Derry 2 Derry City (2)
Colours of Limerick.svg Limerick 2 Limerick (2)
Colours of Westmeath.svg Westmeath 2 Athlone Town (2)

Media coverage

League of Ireland games are broadcast by both RTÉ and Eir Sport. In 2014 it was announced that RTÉ will show 78 live Premier Division and FAI Cup games as part of a new agreement with the FAI. The agreement expires in November 2018. RTÉ also broadcast a highlights show, Soccer Republic , throughout the season. [19] [20] [21] [22] In 2015 the FAI agreed a deal with TrackChamp to stream all Premier Division and First Division outside Ireland - though customers criticised this as they had to sign up for a betting account first. [23]

Premier Division Attendance

SeasonTotalAverageHighest
2005 7,000 [24]
2006 [note 1] 257,7451,5626,080 [25]
2007
2008 6,870 [26]
2009 6,000 [27]
2010 5,500 [28]
2011 5,916 [29]
2012 [note 2] 281,9251,575 [30] 6,097 [31]
2013 [note 3] 307,3551,552 [32] 4,703 [33]
2014 [note 4] 295,3841,523 [34] 6,219 [35]
2015 [note 5] 324,3321,638 [36] 6,900 [37]
2016 291,2581,471 [38] 5,453 [39]
2017 377,3621,906 [40] 6,983 [41]
2018 384,5202,136 [42] 6,672 [43]
2019 388,6932,159 [44] 7,021 [45]
2020 [note 6] 65,7002,986 [46] 7,522 [47]

European Record

UEFA Champions League

  1. Only one match was played at a neutral venue.

1QR/2QR/3QR = First/Second/Third qualifying round; PO = Playoff

UEFA Europa League

1QR/2QR/3QR = First/Second/Third qualifying round; PO = Playoff; Group = Group stage

See also

Notes

  1. Figures do not inclue results from matches played against Dublin City F.C. who withdrew midway through the season https://www.researchgate.net/figure/League-of-Ireland-Premier-Division-Attendance_tbl1_286919999
  2. Figures include results from matches played against Monaghan United who withdrew midway through the season https://www.researchgate.net/figure/League-of-Ireland-Premier-Division-Attendance_tbl1_286919999
  3. One attendance figure is missing from the 2013 season https://www.researchgate.net/figure/League-of-Ireland-Premier-Division-Attendance_tbl1_286919999
  4. Four attendance figures are missing from the 2014 season https://www.researchgate.net/figure/League-of-Ireland-Premier-Division-Attendance_tbl1_286919999
  5. Total attendance figures based upon reported 9.8% increase from the 2014 season https://www.newstalk.com/sport/league-of-ireland-match-attendances-show-encouraging-rise-for-2015-627173
  6. Total attendance and average attendance figures only account for the first four weeks of the season after which no spectators were allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Related Research Articles

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