Northern Amateur Football League

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Northern Amateur Football League
Northern Amateur Football League badge.png
Country Northern Ireland
Level on pyramid 4–7 (Premier to Division 1C only)
Promotion to NIFL Premier Intermediate League
Domestic cup(s) Irish Cup
IFA Intermediate Cup
Current champions Crumlin Star (2018–19)
Most championships East Belfast (9)

The Northern Amateur Football League, also known as the Northern Amateur League and often simply as the Amateur League, is an association football league in Northern Ireland. It contains 13 divisions. These comprise four intermediate sections: the Premier Division, Division 1A, Division 1B and Division 1C; three junior sections: Division 2A, Division 2B and Division 2C; and six reserve sections.


Clubs in membership (2019–20)



Premier Division

Division 1A

Division 1B

Division 1C


The league season lasts from August to May with each club playing the others twice, once at their home ground and once at that of their opponents. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference, and then goals scored. At the end of each season, the team that finishes in first place in the Premier division is crowned league champions.

Premier Division

There are 14 clubs in the Premier Division, each playing a total of 26 games. The two lowest-placed teams are relegated to Division 1A. The league champions can be promoted to the NIFL Premier Intermediate League, providing they meet the admittance requirements.

Division 1A

There are 14 clubs. The two highest-placed teams are promoted into the Premier Division whilst the two lowest-placed teams are relegated to Division 1B.

Division 1B

There are 14 clubs. The two highest-placed teams are promoted to Division 1A and the two lowest-placed teams are relegated to Division 1C.

Division 1C

This division was added to the Amateur League for the 2009/10 season. It now consists of 14 teams who will each play a total of 26 matches. The two top-placed teams at the end of the season will be promoted to Division 1B.

Second Division

There are three sections within the Second Division, which has junior status: Division 2A, Division 2B and Division 2C. The top team in Division 2A at the end of the season can be promoted into the Intermediate section as long as their grounds meet intermediate standards.

Third Division

The Third Division is for reserve sides of teams in the first and second divisions. It has six sections: 3A to 3F.

Cup competitions

There are two cup competitions at intermediate level: the Border Regiment Cup, more commonly referred to as the Border Cup, the final of which is played during the Christmas period, is a knock-out competition for First Division clubs. The Clarence Cup is a knock-out competition for all clubs (encompassing both the First and Second Divisions).


The League was founded 4 July 1923 at a meeting of fourteen clubs at the Clarence Place Hall, Donegall Square East, Belfast, initially as a league for teams from public bodies, private associations, schools and firms. It was affiliated to the Irish Football Association as a junior league in August. The first season was 1923/24 and by the time the first fixtures were played on 22 September, there were 16 member clubs. The Co-operative and C.P.A. were tied at the top of the table, but the Co-operative won a play-off to be crowned the first Amateur League champions.

A knock-out competition – the Clarence Cup – was also inaugurated in the first season, and the first winners were C.P.A., who beat the Co-operative 2–1 in a replay after a 0–0 draw.

The League's first representative game was played on 26 January 1924 against the Minor League at the Oval, and was a 6–1 win for the Amateur League. In 1932, the League played its first representative match outside Northern Ireland: a 3–3 draw against the Scottish Juvenile FA at Celtic Park, Glasgow. This became an annual fixture, which lasted until 1939, only to be halted by the Second World War. Subsequently, annual fixtures have resumed, first with the Scottish Amateur League and, since 1978–1979 with the Scottish Amateur F.A., competing for the Britton Rosebowl.

During the next few years, the League gained intermediate status, and a junior-status second division was added in 1926. By 1930, there were 30 clubs in membership. In 1932–1933, the League's strength was demonstrated when Dunville's became the first Amateur League team to win the Irish Intermediate Cup, and in 1938–1939 when Sirocco Works won the Steel & Sons Cup.

In the 1936–1937 season, a new competition was introduced: the Border Regiment Cup (commonly the Border Cup), which was to become the perhaps League's most prestigious trophy as it established a traditional Christmas final. The cup was presented to the league by the team of the Border Regiment, stationed at Palace Barracks, which had been a member of the League since 1933, and which was nearing the end of its tour of duty. The first winners were Sirocco Works, who beat Whitehouse Recreation Club 4–0 in the final.

After the Second World War, the league expanded its membership and the second division was split into two – Division 2A and Division 2B – in 1947. Division 2C was added in 1950. In 1961, Division 2A was elevated to intermediate status as Division 1B, with the top division renamed as Division 1A. Divisions 2B and 2C consequently became 2A and 2B respectively. The next year, 1962, the league expanded again and a new Division 2C was added, making a total of five divisions.

In 1963, it was decided that the Border Cup should be confined to teams in the First Division, and a new knock-out competition – the Cochrane Corry Cup – was instituted for the Second Division teams. The Clarence Cup is contested by teams of both divisions.

From the 1970–1971 season, automatic promotion and relegation within each division was introduced, and in the following season a new Third Division was added for the reserve teams of member clubs. In 1971 Division 2C was abolished, but re-established again in 1975. In 1973 a second reserve section was formed and the Third Division was thus divided into Division 3A and Division 3B. Division 3C was added in 1980, Division 3D in 1986 and Division 3E in 1991. There is now a Division 3F.

The League had been growing, particularly since the 1960s, and the milestone of 100 teams in membership was achieved in 1981. (By 1997–1998, there were 144 teams in membership.) In 1985, the League secured a sponsorship deal with Smithwick's.

In 1986, the intermediate First Division was expanded into three sections with the addition of Division 1C. From 1991, the intermediate sections were renamed as the Premier Division, Division 1A and Division 1B. Minimum standards were set for clubs' grounds as a condition of membership of the Premier Division, with promotion only available to those clubs whose facilities measured up.

List of champions

Performance by club

TeamNo. of WinsWinning years
East Belfast 91949–50, 1952–53, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1955–56, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1965–66, 1993–94
Sirocco Works 81926–27, 1934–35, 1935–36, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1939–40, 1947–48
Killyleagh Youth 81984–85, 1992–93, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2004–05
Dunville's**61927–28, 1928–29, 1930–31, 1931–32, 1932–33, 1933–34
Chimney Corner 51961–62, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1973–74, 1974–75
Short Brothers51956–57, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1989–90
Newington Youth 52005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13
Dunmurry Rec41979–80, 1987–88, 1991–92, 1998–99
Drumaness Mills 41981–82, 1983–84, 1988–89, 2013–14
Victoria Works United*31940–41, 1941–42, 1942–43
Shankill Young Men31943–44, 1944–45, 1945–46
Downpatrick Rec31976–77, 1977–78, 1980–81
Nortel31982–83, 1995–96, 1996–97
Ards Rangers 31997–98, 2011–12, 2014–15
Crumlin Star 32016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19
North Cricket Club21924–25, 1925–26
Carrick Rangers 21948–49, 1951–52
Albert Foundry [I]21960–61, 1966–67
Royal Ulster Constabulary 21970–71, 1972–73
Cromac Albion21985–86, 1986–87
Holm Factory11929–30
Queen's Island Woodworkers11946–47
St Elizabeth's11964–65
Islandmagee 11967–68
International Computers Limited11971–72
Barn United 11975–76
Harland & Wolff Welders 11978–79
Harland & Wolff Sports 11990–91
Crumlin United 11994–95
Downpatrick 12007–08
Immaculata 12015–16

* Including one as Victoria Works.
** Including two as Shaftesbury.
† Including four as Short Brothers & Harland.
‡ One as Standard Telephones & Cables and two as Northern Telecom.

List of Clarence Cup winners

Performance by club

TeamWinsWinning years
East Belfast 71946–47, 1949–50, 1950–51, 1951–52, 1956–57, 2006–07, 2018–19
Sirocco Works 61925–26, 1926–27, 1938–39, 1943–44, 1944–45, 1947–48
Immaculata 52008–09, 2010–11, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17
Dunville's*41927–28, 1928–29, 1929–30, 1930–31
Victoria Works United**31940–41, 1941–42, 1942–43
Balmoral Rec31953–54, 1954–55, 1976–77
Ballyclare Comrades Reserves 31980–81, 1982–83, 1983–84
Harland & Wolff Sports 31986–87, 1988–89, 1991–92
Comber Rec 31957–58, 1961–62, 1998–99
Killyleagh Youth 31997–98, 2000–01, 2001–02
Barn United 31975–76, 1994–95, 2005–06
Drumaness Mills 31992–93, 1993–94, 2013–14
Whitehouse Rec21936–37, 1937–38
Ewarts21931–32, 1958–59
Albert Foundry [I] [2] 21963–64, 1966–67
Chimney Corner 21955–56, 1969–70
Lisburn Rangers 21964–65, 1972–73
Downpatrick Rec21974–75, 1978–79
Cromac Albion21977–78, 1979–80
Standard Telephones & Cables 21973–74, 1985–86
Kilmore Rec 22003–04, 2004–05
Crumlin Star 22012–13, 2017–18
Cliftonville Strollers 11932–33
49th (Scouts) Old Boys11933–34
Border Regiment11934–35
Willowfield 11935–36
Aircraft Works II 11939–40
Shankill Young Men11944–45
Cogry Mills11948–49
Wolfhill Rec11952–53
Harland & Wolff S.M.D.11959–60
Royal Ulster Constabulary 11960–61
Bethel Young Men11962–63
St Elizabeth's11965–66
Harland & Wolff Welders 'A' 11968–69
Civil Service 11981–82
Carreras Rothmans11984–85
Grove United 11987–88
Abbey Villa 11990–91
Ballynahinch United 11996–97
Bangor Amateurs12002–03
Islandmagee 12007–08
Albert Foundry [II]12009–10
Derriaghy Cricket Club 12011–12

* Including three as Shaftesbury.
** Including one as Victoria Works.

List of Border Cup winners

1936–37 Sirocco Works 40Whitehouse Recreation
1937–38 Sirocco Works 21Carnmoney Comrades
1938–39 Sirocco Works 31Carnmoney Comrades
1939–40 Aircraft Works 3149th (Scouts) Old Boys
1940–41Victoria Works40North of Ireland Paper Mill
1941–42 Sirocco Works II 10North of Ireland Paper Mill
1942–43Victoria Works United41Shankill Young Men
1943–44Belfast Abattoir21Scott's
1944–45 Sirocco Works 10Queen's Island Woodworkers
1945–46 Sirocco Works 53 Carrick Rangers
1946–47 Short & Harland 31 Sirocco Works II
1947–48Ormeau Rec21Hilden Rec
1948–49 Short & Harland 21Dunmurry RecReplay after drawn game
1949–50Albert Foundry [I] [2] 31Musgrave'sReplay after drawn game
1950–51 East Belfast 41Musgrave's
1951–52Wolfhill Rec21 Sirocco Works Replay after drawn game
1952–53 East Belfast 10Astra
1953–54Dunmurry Rec21Wolfhill RecReplay after drawn game
1954–55Hilden Rec20 East Belfast
1955–56 Short & Harland 21 Sirocco Works
1956–57 Comber Rec 32 Chimney Corner
1957–58 Comber Rec 10 Short & Harland
1958–59 Chimney Corner 10 Short & Harland
1959–60 Short & Harland 43 East Belfast
1960–61Albert Foundry [I] [2] 70 Sirocco Works
1961–62Balmoral Recreation21St Elizabeth's
1962–63Albert Foundry [I] [2] 64 Short & Harland
1963–64 Islandmagee 10Albert Foundry [I] [2]
1964–65 Royal Ulster Constabulary 21 Islandmagee
1965–66International Computers & Tabulators21St Elizabeth's
1966–67 Ards Rangers 30 Islandmagee
1967–68 Chimney Corner 31 Islandmagee
1968–69Ewarts Rec20 Royal Ulster Constabulary Replay after drawn game
1969–70 Chimney Corner 21Albert Foundry [I] [2]
1970–71 Chimney Corner 21 Ards Rangers
1971–72 Chimney Corner 10International Computers Limited
1972–73 Lisburn Rangers 21Civil Service
1973–74 Chimney Corner 41 Royal Ulster Constabulary
1974–75 Chimney Corner 10 Standard Telephones & Cables
1975–76 Larne Tech Old Boys 21 Lisburn Rangers
1976–77Downpatrick Rec71 Ards Rangers
1977–78 Drumaness Mills 10Downpatrick Rec
1978–79 Drumaness Mills 20 Barn United
1979–80 Ards Rangers Larne Tech Old Boys Won on penalties, replay after drawn game
1980–81 Drumaness Mills 41 Killyleagh Youth
1981–82 Short Brothers 22Post Office Social ClubWon on penalties
1982–83 Standard Telephones & Cables 20Post Office Social Club
1983–84 Short Brothers ---Trophy awarded, no final played
1984–85 Killyleagh Youth 51 Barn United
1985–86 Standard Telephones & Cables 21 Sirocco Works
1986–87 Drumaness Mills 32 Killyleagh Youth
1987–88Post Office Social Club21Newtownabbey Town
1988–89Cromac Albion21 Harland & Wolff Sports
1989–90 Ballynahinch United 22British TelecomWon on penalties
1990–91 Standard Telephones & Cables 10Bangor Amateurs
1991–92Dunmurry Rec32 East Belfast
1992–93 Abbey Villa 50 Drumaness Mills
1993–94FC Enkalon331st Liverpool RRWon on penalties
1994–95 1st Shankill Northern Ireland Supporters' Club 31 Islandmagee
1995–96 Coagh United 33 Islandmagee Coagh won 4–2 on penalties
1996–97 Killyleagh Youth 20 Crumlin United
1997–98 Larne Tech Old Boys 21 Killyleagh Youth
1998–99 Islandmagee 31 Killyleagh Youth
1999–2000 Northern Telecom 20 Ards Rangers
2000–01 Crumlin United 30 Drumaness Mills
2001–02 Larne Tech Old Boys ---Trophy awarded, no final played
2002–03 Killyleagh Youth 20 Kilmore Rec
2003–04 Killyleagh Youth 21 Downpatrick
2004–05 Knockbreda 21 Albert Foundry [II]
2005–06 Newington Youth 10 Wellington Rec
2006–07Dunmurry Rec30 Kilmore Rec [6]
2007–08 Abbey Villa 32 Comber Rec
2008–09 Sport & Leisure Swifts 31 Kilmore Rec [7]
2009–10 Grove United 11 Dromara Village Grove won 7–6 on penalties [8]
2010–11 Dromara Village 21 Nortel [9]
2011–12 Crumlin Star 22 Islandmagee Crumlin Star won 4–3 on penalties [10]
2012–13 Crumlin Star 21 Rathfriland Rangers
2013–14 Albert Foundry [II] 20 Kilmore Rec
2014–15 Ards Rangers 31 Downpatrick
2015–16 East Belfast 10Dundonald
2016–17 Rathfriland Rangers 21 Downpatrick
2017–18 Crumlin Star 41 Downpatrick
2018–19 Crumlin Star 11 Ballynahinch Olympic AET, Crumlin Star won on penalties [11]

Sources: [12] [13]

Performance by club

TeamWinsWinning years
Chimney Corner 71958–59, 1967–68, 1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1973–74, 1974–75
Short Brothers 71939–40, 1946–47, 1948–49, 1955–56, 1959–60, 1981–82, 1983–84
Sirocco Works 61936–37, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1941–42†, 1944–45, 1945–46
Drumaness Mills 41977–78, 1978–79, 1980–81, 1986–87
Nortel 41982–83, 1985–86, 1990–91, 1999–00
Killyleagh Youth 41984–85, 1996–97, 2002–03, 2003–04
Crumlin Star 42011–12, 2012–13, 2017–18, 2018–19
Albert Foundry [I] [2] 31949–50, 1960–61, 1962–63
Larne Tech Old Boys 31975–76, 1997–98, 2001–02
Dunmurry Rec31953–54, 1991–92, 2006–07
Ards Rangers 31966–67, 1979–80, 2014–15
East Belfast 31950–51, 1952–53, 2015–16
Victoria Works (United)21940–41, 1942–43
Comber Rec 21956–57, 1957–58
Islandmagee 21963–64, 1998–99
Abbey Villa 21992–93, 2007–08
Albert Foundry [II] 21994–95, 2013–14
Belfast Abattoir11943–44
Ormeau Rec11947–48
Wolfhill Rec11951–52
Hilden Rec11954–55
Royal Ulster Constabulary 11964–65
International Computers & Tabulators11965–66
Ewarts Rec11968–69
Lisburn Rangers 11972–73
Downpatrick Rec11976–77
Ballynahinch United 11989–90
Post Office Social Club11987–88
Cromac Albion11988–89
FC Enkalon11993–94
Coagh United 11995–96
Crumlin United 12000–01
Knockbreda 12004–05
Newington Youth 12005–06
Sport & Leisure Swifts 12008–09
Grove United 12009–10
Dromara Village 12010–11
Rathfriland Rangers 12016–17

† includes 1 win by 2nd XI



  1. "Our Teams". Northern Amateur Football League. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 The original Albert Foundry club folded in 1978.
  3. The current Albert Foundry club was founded in 1981.
  4. Competition not completed after Irish Football Association upheld an appeal against the dismissal of two semi-finalists, but the final was subsequently not played.
  5. Coagh United won the final, but had to return the cup after it was discovered that they had fielded an ineligible player.
  6. "Cup kings Dunmurry are now shooting for a double". The Belfast Telegraph. 28 December 2006. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  7. "Sport take cup at their Leisure". The Belfast Telegraph. 30 December 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  8. "Dromara Village 1 Grove United 1". The Belfast Telegraph. 2 January 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  9. "Child's play for Dromara" (PDF). Mourne Observer. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  10. "Crumlin Star clinch Border Cup after penalty drama at Seaview". North Belfast News. 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  11. Belfast Live
  12. 2013 Border Regiment Cup Final Matchday Programme, pp. 44–45
  13. H. Johnstone & G. Hamilton (n.d.) A Memorable Milestone: 75 Years of the Northern Amateur Football League

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