Leinster Senior League Senior Division

Last updated
Leinster Senior League Senior Division
Founded 1896
Country Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland
Region Flag of Leinster.svg Leinster
Number of teams14
Level on pyramid3
Domestic cup(s) Leinster Senior Cup
FAI Intermediate Cup
FAI Junior Cup
League cup(s)Metropolitan Cup
Charlie Cahill Cup
Current champions Crumlin United
Most championships Shelbourne (12 titles)
Website www.lsl.ie

The Leinster Senior League Senior Division is the top division of the Leinster Senior League. It is organized by the Leinster Football Association. Together with the Munster Senior League Senior Premier Division and the Ulster Senior League Senior Division, it forms the third level of the Republic of Ireland football league system. Formed in 1896, it is the oldest association football league in what is now the Republic of Ireland. Shelbourne have won the most titles. However, in more recent seasons Crumlin United, Cherry Orchard, Wayside Celtic and Bangor Celtic have been the divisions strongest teams. In 2014–15 Bluebell United were Leinster Senior League champions, 27 years after winning their previous title. [1] [2] Clubs from this division play in the Leinster Senior Cup, the FAI Cup, the FAI Intermediate Cup and the FAI Junior Cup. In recent seasons the winners of the Senior Division have also been invited to play in the League of Ireland Cup.


From 1896–97 until 1964–65 the league was the de facto second level league in what is now the Republic of Ireland. Initially the Irish Football League was the top level. Then for one season, 1920–21, the Leinster Senior League was briefly the top level league. However this status was short lived and ended with the establishment of the League of Ireland in 1921–22. The Leinster Senior League remained a second level league until 1964–65 when it was effectively replaced by the League of Ireland B Division. With the establishment of the A Championship in 2008 it became a fourth level league. However, since the demise of the A Championship in 2011, it has reverted to third level status.

2016–17 teams


TeamHome town/suburbHome ground
Bangor Celtic Crumlin, Dublin Iveagh Grounds
Bluebell United Bluebell/Red CowCapco Park
Cherry Orchard Ballyfermot Elmdale Crescent
Crumlin United Crumlin, Dublin Pearse Park
Drumcondra Clonturk, Drumcondra Clonturk Park
Firhouse Clover Firhouse Belgard Road
Greystones United Greystones Woodlands
Killester United Killester Haddon Park
Malahide United Malahide Gannon Park
St. Patrick's C.Y.F.C. Ringsend Irishtown Stadium
St. Mochtas F.C. Clonsilla/Blanchardstown Porterstown Road
Tolka Rovers Glasnevin Frank Cooke Park
UCD Reserves Belfield, Dublin UCD Bowl
Wayside Celtic Kilternan Jackson Park

Source: [3]

Promotion and Relegation

A promotion and relegation system operates within the Leinster Senior League structure itself. However, there is no formal promotion and relegation relationship with the League of Ireland. Teams can only be "promoted" by sending an application to the FAI. In the past successful and prominent members of the Leinster Senior League have regularly been invited and/or elected to join the League of Ireland. Current League of Ireland clubs Bohemians, Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers, Sligo Rovers, St Patrick's Athletic and Bray Wanderers are all former Leinster Senior League champions. While Bohemians and Shelbourne were founding members of the League of Ireland, Shamrock Rovers, Sligo Rovers and St Patrick's Athletic were all effectively "promoted" to the League of Ireland after winning the Leinster Senior League Senior Division title. Incidentally both Rovers and St Pats won successive Leinster Senior League and League of Ireland titles in 1921-22 and 1922-23 and 1950–51 and 1951–52 respectively.

Reserve Teams

Throughout its history the Leinster Senior League Senior Division has regularly featured the reserve teams of League of Ireland teams. The reserve teams of Shelbourne, Bohemians, Shamrock Rovers, St Patrick's Athletic, Brideville, Drumcondra and Dolphins have all been Senior Division champions in their own right. The reserve teams of Cabinteely and UCD currently play in the lower levels of the Leinster Senior League.



Within a few seasons of the Leinster Football Association been formed in 1892, the Leinster Senior League was established. Ciarán Priestley highlights a printed notice in the September 4, 1894 edition of The Irish Times . Under the headline "Leinster Football League" there is a report of "a general meeting of the league... held the other evening at 27 D'Olier Street". Priestley also lists Bohemians, Britannia, Dublin University, Leinster Nomads, Phoenix and Montpelier as participants in the first season. The Leinster Senior League website states it was established in 1896. [4] However other sources suggest the league started a little later and was first played for in 1897–98 and that an unidentified British Army regimental team where the inaugural winners while Shelbourne were runners up. See
Note 1
[5] [6]

Bohemians and Shelbourne era

Up until the 1920s the league was dominated by Bohemians and Shelbourne. These two clubs still remain the league's two most successful teams based on titles they won in this era. Even when Bohemians and Shelbourne joined the Irish Football League in 1902 and 1904 respectively, their reserve teams continued to win titles regularly. Initially only St James's Gate and British Army regimental teams challenged the Bohemians/Shelbourne duopoly. During the First World War the Irish Football League was suspended and the senior teams of both Bohemians and Shelbourne rejoined the Leinster Senior League. Meanwhile, their northern counterparts competed in the Belfast & District League. The 1919–20 saw a return to an all-Ireland league. However further disruption caused by the Irish War of Independence meant this was short lived and at the end of this season Bohemians and Shelbourne withdrew from the Irish Football League permanently. They subsequently rejoined the Leinster Senior League and for the 1920–21 season. The league now briefly became the top level league in what is now the Republic of Ireland. [7] 1920–21 also saw Shelbourne United emerge as champions, becoming only the fourth civilian team to win the title.


The 1921–22 season saw the establishment of the League of Ireland and this had a considerable impact on the Leinster Senior League. All eight founding League of Ireland members – Shelbourne, Bohemians, St James's Gate, Jacobs, Olympia, Dublin United, Frankfort and YMCA – had all spent the previous season playing in the Leinster Senior League. The emergence of the League of Ireland thus created a number of vacancies in the Senior Division and among the clubs who filled them were Shamrock Rovers. For the 1921–22 season Rovers were joined in the Senior Division by Bohemians B, St James's Gate B, Bray Unknowns, Midland Athletic, Pioneers, Brooklyn, Shelbourne United, Merrion, Glasnevin, CYMS and Richmond. With a team that included John Joe Flood, William Glen, Bob Fullam and Dinny Doyle, Rovers won the Senior Division and reached the 1921–22 FAI Cup final. The 1922–23 season saw the League of Ireland expand to twelve teams. After Frankfort and YMCA dropped out, six new teams – Shamrock Rovers, Midland Athletic, Pioneers, Shelbourne United, Athlone Town and Rathmines Athletic – were invited to join. Once again the Leinster Senior League provided most of the League of Ireland's newest members. Further vacancies in the Senior Division were now created and among the clubs who subsequently filled them were Brideville, Dolphins, Dundalk and Drumcondra. Like Shelbourne United and Shamrock Rovers before them, Bray Unknowns, Brideville, Drumcondra and Dolphins all won the Leinster Senior League title and were then invited to join the League of Ireland. Brooklyn were also elected to the League of Ireland for the 1923–24 season. Dundalk joined the Leinster Senior League in 1922–23. They were runners up in 1923–24 and then finished third in 1925–26 before making their League of Ireland debut in 1926–27. While playing in Leinster Senior League, Drumcondra also won an FAI Intermediate Cup / FAI Cup double in 1926–27. [8] [9] [10] [11]


During the 1930s three more Leinster Senior League champions made the step up to the League of Ireland. These included Sligo Rovers, Brideville and Reds United. At the end of the 1931–32 League of Ireland season Brideville dropped out. However 1932–33 saw them win their second Leinster Senior League title. 1932–33 also Sligo Rovers join the Leinster Senior League. In their first season they finished third. During the season they had twice beaten the champions Brideville and also defeated Bohemians B. In 1933–34 Sligo Rovers achieved a treble, winning the Leinster Senior League, the FAI Intermediate Cup and the LFA Metropolitan Cup. On the back of this success, they joined the League of Ireland for the 1934–35 season. The following season, 1935–36 saw Brideville return to the League of Ireland along with the 1934–35 Leinster Senior League champions, Reds United. During the late 1930s and 1940s the Leinster Senior League's most successful team was Distillery. They won the title five times during period. However unlike some of their contemporaries, Distillery never moved up the League of Ireland.

St Patrick's Athletic era

During the late 1940s and 1950s the strongest team in the Leinster Senior League was St Patrick's Athletic. During this period they won the league title on six occasions. This included four successive titles between 1947–48 and 1950–51. In 1947–48 St Pat's completed a treble after also winning both the FAI Intermediate Cup and Leinster Senior Cup. The 1948–49 season would see St Pat's win a Leinster Senior League / FAI Intermediate Cup. In 1950–51 a young Shay Gibbons helped St Pat's win the Leinster Senior League title for a fourth time. St Pat's were subsequently invited to join the 1951–52 League of Ireland and went on to win their first League of Ireland title at their first attempt. With St Pat's first team now in the League of Ireland, their reserve team won two further Leinster Senior League titles in 1955–56 and 1956–57.

List of winners by club

TeamTitlesSeasons won
Shelbourne 121902–03, 1903–04, (1906–07), (1907–08), (1908–09), (1910–11), 1915–16, 1916–17, 1918–19, (1923–24), (1942–43), (1943–44)
Bohemians 81899–00, 1900–01, 1901–02, (1904–05), (1912–13), (1913–14), 1917–18, (1931–32)
Bluebell United 71981–82, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1986–87, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2017–18
Cherry Orchard 61993–94, 1994–95, 1996–97, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2006–07
St. James Gate 61909–10, 1911–12, 1914–15, 1919–20, 1987–88, 1988–89
T.E.K. United 61964–65, 1965–66, 1968–69, 1970–71, 1974–75, 1977–78
St. Patrick's Athletic 61947–48, 1948–49, 1949–50, 1950–51, (1955–56), (1956–57)
Crumlin United 62007–08, 2009–10, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2018–19
Wayside Celtic 51997–98, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2005–06, 2010–11
Distillery (Dublin) 51935–36, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1940–41, 1941–42
St. Francis 41989–90, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1995–96
Jacobs 41952–53, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1967–68
Drumcondra 41927–28, (1928–29), (1945–46), (1951–52)
Bray Wanderers 31957–58, 1958–59, 1959–60
Pegasus31975–76, 1978–79, 1980–81
Shamrock Rovers/B 31921–22, (1924–25), (1939–40)
British Army See
Note 1
31897–98, 1898–99, 1905–06
Bangor Celtic 22004–05, 2008–09
Hammond Lane21979–80, 1982–83
Rialto21969–70, 1972–73
Home Farm 21960–61, 1963–64
Transport 21946–47, 1962–63
Brideville 2(1925–26), 1932–33
Dolphin 21929–30, (1930–31)
St. Mochta's FC12016-17
Newbridge Town 11998–99
Glanmire Celtic11990–91
St. Mary's (Athlone)11984–85
Aer Lingus 11976–77
CYM Terenure11973–74
St. Brendan's11971–72
Glebe North Athletic11966–67
Workman's Club (Dunleary)11961–62
Fearon's Athletic 11936–37
Reds United 11934–35
Sligo Rovers 11933–34
Shelbourne United 11920–21
Bray Unknowns 11922–23

List of winners by season

2018-19Crumlin UnitedKillester United
2017-18 Bluebell United F.C. Crumlin United
2016-17 St. Mochta’s F.C. Bluebell United A.F.C
2015–16 Bluebell United Firhouse Clover
2014–15 Bluebell United [12] Drumcondra
2013–14 Crumlin United Tolka Rovers
2012–13 Crumlin United Cherry Orchard
2011–12 Crumlin United Bluebell United
2010-11 Wayside Celtic Bluebell United
2009-10 Crumlin United Bluebell United
2008-09 Bangor Celtic Tolka Rovers
2007-08 Crumlin United Bangor Celtic
2006-07 Cherry Orchard Bangor Celtic
2005-06 Wayside Celtic Malahide United
2004-05 Bangor Celtic
2003-04 Wayside Celtic
2002-03 Wayside Celtic
2001-02 Cherry Orchard
2000-01 Cherry Orchard
1998-99 Newbridge Town Cherry Orchard
1997-98 Wayside Celtic Cherry Orchard
1996-97 Cherry Orchard
1995-96 St. Francis Cherry Orchard
1994-95 Cherry Orchard Ashtown Villa
1993-94 Cherry Orchard Glanmire Celtic
1992-93 St. Francis Glanmire Celtic
1991-92 St. Francis Ballyfermot United
1990-91Glanmire Celtic St. Francis
1989-90 St. Francis St. James Gate
1988-89 St. James Gate Bluebell United
1987-88 St. James Gate Bluebell United
1986-87 Bluebell United T.E.K. United
1985-86 Bluebell United T.E.K. United
1984-85St. Mary's (Athlone) Bluebell United
1983-84 Bluebell United Dun Leary Celtic
1982-83Hammond Lane
1981-82 Bluebell United St. Joseph's Boys
1980-81Pegasus Railway Union
1979-80Hammond Lane AIB
1978-79Pegasus Bray Wanderers
1977-78 T.E.K. United Workman's Club (Dunleary)
1976-77 Aer Lingus Bluebell United
1975-76Pegasus Parkvilla
1974-75 T.E.K. United CYM Terenure
1973-74CYM Terenure Transport
1972-73Rialto T.E.K. United
1971-72St. Brendan's T.E.K. United
1970-71 T.E.K. United St. James Gate
1968-69 T.E.K. United
1967-68 Jacobs
1966-67Glebe North Athletic
1965-66 T.E.K. United
1964-65 T.E.K. United
1963-64 Home Farm
1962-63 Transport
1961-62Workman's Club (Dunleary)Ormeau
1960-61 Home Farm Shelbourne Reserves
1959-60 Bray Wanderers Chapelizod
1958-59 Bray Wanderers
1957-58 Bray Wanderers
1956-57 St Patrick's Athletic Reserves Workman's Club (Dunleary)
1955-56 St Patrick's Athletic Reserves
1954-55 Jacobs
1953-54 Jacobs Longford Town
1952-53 Jacobs
1951-52 Drumcondra Reserves
1950-51 St. Patrick's Athletic
1949-50 St. Patrick's Athletic
1948-49 St. Patrick's Athletic
1947-48 St. Patrick's Athletic Transport
1946-47 Transport
1945-46 Drumcondra Reserves
1944-45Bradmola Drumcondra Reserves
1943-44 Shelbourne Reserves
1942-43 Shelbourne Reserves
1941-42 Distillery (Dublin)
1940-41 Distillery (Dublin)
1939-40 Shamrock Rovers B
1938-39 Distillery (Dublin)
1937-38 Distillery (Dublin)
1936-37 Fearon's Athletic
1935-36 Distillery (Dublin)
1934-35 Reds United
1933-34 Sligo Rovers Distillery (Dublin)
1932-33 Brideville Bohemians Reserves
1931-32 Bohemians Reserves
1930-31 Dolphin
1929-30 Dolphin
1928-29 Drumcondra Reserves Edenville
1927-28 Drumcondra
1925-26 Brideville
1924-25 Shamrock Rovers B
1923-24 Shelbourne Reserves Dundalk GNR
1922-23 Bray Unknowns
1921-22 Shamrock Rovers
1920-21 Shelbourne United
1919-20 St. James Gate
1918-19 Shelbourne
1917-18 Bohemians Shelbourne
1916-17 Shelbourne
1915-16 Shelbourne
1914-15 St. James Gate
1913-14 Bohemians Reserves
1912-13 Bohemians Reserves
1911-12 St. James Gate
1910-11 Shelbourne Reserves
1909-10 St. James Gate
1908-09 Shelbourne Reserves
1907-08 Shelbourne Reserves
1906-07 Shelbourne Reserves
1905-06 British Army
1904-05 Bohemians Reserves
1903-04 Shelbourne
1902-03 Shelbourne
1901-02 Bohemians
1900-01 Bohemians
1899-00 Bohemians
1898-99 British Army
1897-98 British Army See Note 1 Shelbourne


Related Research Articles

Shelbourne F.C.

Shelbourne Football Club is an Irish association football club based in Drumcondra, Dublin, who play in the League of Ireland First Division.

Shelbourne United Football Club was an Irish association football club based in Dublin. They are often confused with the similarly named current League of Ireland team Shelbourne. Both teams had their origins in the same Ringsend suburb and both teams played in the Leinster Senior League and the League of Ireland during the 1920s. However they were completely different teams.

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. Founded in 1895, the club was elected to the League of Ireland in 1979 under the management of Dr. Tony O'Neill. Since the 2008 season they have played at the UCD Bowl, also home to the college's rugby team. 'The Students' play in sky blue and navy. Their reserve and freshers teams play in the Leinster Senior League.

League of Ireland

The League of Ireland, 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.

James Chambers (Irish footballer) Irish footballer

James Chambers, born 14 February 1987 in Dublin, is an Irish former professional footballer who played for Shelbourne, Waterford United, Drogheda United, Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick's Athletic in Ireland, Solihull Moors in England, Hamilton Academical in Scotland and Bethlehem Steel in the United States.

Patrick Kavanagh (footballer, born 1985) Irish footballer

Patrick Kavanagh is an Irish footballer who plays as a winger for League of Ireland Premier Division club Bohemians.

Dolphin Football Club was an Irish association football club, originally based in the Dublin suburb of Dolphin's Barn. They played in the League of Ireland between 1930–31 and 1936–37. In 1934–35 they were League of Ireland champions. After St James's Gate, Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians, Shelbourne and Dundalk, Dolphin became the sixth club to win the League of Ireland title. In 1931–32 and 1932–33 Dolphin played in two successive FAI Cup finals, losing both games to Shamrock Rovers. Between 1930 and 1931 and 1932–33 Dolphin also played in three successive Leinster Senior Cup finals, winning the cup in 1931–32.

David Martin Campbell is an Irish football coach and former player. He is opposition analyst and head of recruitment at Sligo Rovers.

Christopher Joseph Fagan, known as Chris or Christy Fagan, is a retired Irish footballer who played as a forward. He last played for St Patrick's Athletic in the League of Ireland Premier Division.

Derbies in the League of Ireland Certain matches in League of Ireland soccer

There are many derbies in the League of Ireland, and despite the fact that historically more teams compete in the First Division, the majority are played in the Premier Division, the top flight of Irish football.

The 2011 FAI Senior Challenge Cup, also known as the 2011 FAI Ford Cup, is the 91st season of the national football competition of the Republic of Ireland. The winners of the competition will earn spots in both the second qualifying round of the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League and the 2012 Setanta Sports Cup.

Chris Forrester Irish professional footballer

Christopher Stephen Forrester is an Irish professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for St Patrick's Athletic in the League of Ireland Premier Division. He has also previously played for Bohemians, Peterborough United, Aberdeen and the Republic of Ireland under-21's. In March 2016 he was called up to the Republic of Ireland senior squad but has yet to be capped.

The 2013 season was St. Patrick's Athletic F.C.'s 84th year in existence and their 62nd consecutive season in the League of Ireland. It was the second year that Liam Buckley was the team's manager, following replacing Pete Mahon in December 2011. St Pat's finished the season as the 2013 League of Ireland Premier Division champions. They were also Leinster Senior Cup runners up. They also competed in the UEFA Europa League, the FAI Cup, the Setanta Cup and the League of Ireland Cup.

The 2012 season was Dundalk's fourth successive season in the League of Ireland Premier Division following promotion in 2008. All together, it was the club's 86th season in League of Ireland football. The club was managed by Sean McCaffrey, who was in his first season in charge. The club also competed in the FAI Cup, League of Ireland Cup and the Leinster Senior Cup. Dundalk finished the 33-round season in 11th position, requiring them to play a promotion/relegation play-off against Waterford United of the First Division; a tie which they won on aggregate, thus retaining their place in the Premier Division for the 2013 season. Results against Monaghan United F.C. were expunged, after they withdrew from the League mid-season.

The 2014 FAI Senior Challenge Cup, also known as the 2014 FAI Ford Senior Cup, was the 94th season of the national football competition of the Republic of Ireland. The winners of the competition earned a spot in the first qualifying round of the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League.

The LFA President's Cup was an association football cup competition featuring League of Ireland clubs affiliated to the Leinster Football Association. It was played for between 1930 and 2002. It was a de facto national super cup and on twenty four occasions featured the League of Ireland champions against the FAI Cup winners. The Football Association of Ireland also organised similar competitions, such as the Top Four Cup and the FAI Super Cup, both of which co-existed with the LFA President's Cup. Since 2014 the FAI has organised their own similarly named super cup, the President's Cup.

Dundalk entered the 1987–88 season as the League Cup holders from 1986–87, having won that competition and finished as runners-up in both league and FAI Cup. 1987–88 was Turlough O'Connor's third season as manager, and was Dundalk's 62nd consecutive season in the top tier of Irish football.

1966–67 Dundalk F.C. season Dundalk 1966–67 football season

Dundalk entered the 1966–67 season on the back of a disappointing eighth-place finish in the League and a sixth-place finish in the Shield the previous season. 1966–67 was Alan Fox's first season as player-coach, having been appointed by the club's new board of directors in August. It was Dundalk's 41st consecutive season in the top tier of Irish football.

Dundalk entered the 1932–33 season on the back of a fourth-place finish in the League and a fifth-place finish in the Shield the previous season. 1932–33 was manager Steve Wright's third season at the club, and was Dundalk's 7th consecutive season in the top tier of Irish football. Home matches were played at the Dundalk Athletic Grounds.

Dundalk G.N.R. made their debut in the Free State League, the top tier of Irish football, in 1926–27. They had played the previous four seasons in the Leinster Senior League. The team was managed by Joe McCleery, previously of Belfast Celtic F.C., who used his connections to Northern Irish football to ensure a supply of players for the season ahead. Home matches were played at the Dundalk Athletic Grounds, but on weekends when the Athletic Grounds were unavailable, matches would usually move to the Carroll's Recreation Ground.


  1. www.gazettegroup.com
  2. "www.echo.ie". Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-12-14.
  3. "Senior Sunday". lsl.ie. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  4. "Welcome to the Leinster Senior Football League". lsl.ie. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  5. Leinster Senior League
  6. Ciarán Priestley: The Bohemian Football Club: The Enduring Legacy of an Idle Youth Archived 2015-10-04 at the Wayback Machine
  7. Garnham, Neal (2004). Association Football and society in pre-partition Ireland. Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation. ISBN   1-903688-34-5.
  8. www.rsssf.com Archived 2008-02-21 at the Wayback Machine
  9. Graham, Alex. Football in the Republic of Ireland a Statistical Record 1921-2005. Soccer Books Limited. ISBN   1-86223-135-4.
  10. www.shamrockrovers.ie
  11. Paul Doolan, Robert Goggins (1993). The Hoops. Gill & MacmillanLtd. ISBN   0-7171-2121-6.
  12. www.gazettegroup.com
  13. IFA Cup Rsssf
  14. Where's My Country? Rsssf