2004 League of Ireland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The clubs that competed in the 2004 League of Ireland.

The League of Ireland 2004 season began on Friday, 19 March 2004 and ended on Monday, 22 November. This season was like a transitional one as one team was relegated from the Premier Division and three promoted from the First Division. This was done in order to increase the number in the Premier Division by two and reduce the First Division by the same amount. At the end of the season Shelbourne became league champions with Longford Town retaining the FAI Cup.

League of Ireland season[edit]

Premier Division[edit]

The season began on 19 March with four matches getting the season underway. Waterford United, Cork City and Shelbourne. At the end of March, Shelbourne were the early leaders with maximum points but only two matchdays had passed. It was therefore still very early.

We[who?] began to get a clearer picture of how the league may pan out when April was over. A gap had started opening at the top. Shelbourne were still unbeaten after nine matches, winning six and drawing three. Waterford United were just three points behind Shelbourne, however, on 18 points. There was further five-point gap back to third placed Drogheda United. At the bottom, it looked like Dublin City were in for a tough campaign with just 5 points on the board. They were still in contention to avoid relegation at this stage, though, as they were only three points behind St Patrick's Athletic.

Despite Shelbourne showing indifferent form in May, collecting only five points from a possible nine, they were now five points clear at the top. This was because Waterford United had now slipped away by recording two draws and two defeats in their four matches. They were now in fourth as both Drogheda United and Bohemians had overtaken them. Dublin City were still bottom but were only a point from safety.

By the end of June the half-way point of the season had been reached. It was Shelbourne who were still top but by now had a twelve-point lead. Dublin City were also still in the same position they had held virtually all season - last. They had thirteen points, four behind Derry City.

Before July it seemed that the title race was over. Shelbourne had a twelve-point lead but now, Drogheda United recorded three wins from four games in July with Shelbourne not winning any three of their games this month, and so now six points separated the top two. The bottom of the table was not improving from Dublin City's point of view. They were five points adrift.

August was over and Drogheda United had overtaken Shelbourne and were now top. The main reason for this was due to Shelbourne's exploits in Europe and so many of their league games were postponed. Drogheda United were only a point clear and had played three games more than Shelbourne. Dublin City looked all but doomed. They were ten points behind the nearest team Longford Town.

Drogheda United only played two matches in September but the disappointing thing for them was that they lost them both. Shelbourne had regained top spot from them and were ahead by eight points having a game in hand on Drogheda also. Third-placed Bohemians had closed in on Drogheda and were just a point behind. Dublin City eight points behind Derry City at the foot of the table having played two games more.

At the end of October, Drogheda United and Bohemians were all but out of the title race. Drogheda United were twelve points behind leaders Shelbourne with just a maximum twelve on offer for them. Bohemians were eight points behind and had only possible 9 left for them. Shelbourne had not quite sealed the title yet, though, as Cork City had by now reached second place and were just four points behind with four games remaining. The title was between the top two. Dublin City needed a miracle to beat the drop now, as they were seven points adrift and only had four games to play. They simply needed to win at least three to stand any chance of surviving.

On 5 November it looked like the Cork City's league challenge might have been over after they could only draw at home to Derry City. If Shelbourne had beaten Longford Town. the following day they would be nine points clear with Cork City having just three games remaining. Longford won 4-1. Dublin City were relegated after they lost 2-0 to Longford on November 9. It was now mathematically impossible for them to survive. Both Cork City and Shelbourne won their remaining games before the final round of matches. This meant that Cork City were three points behind Shelbourne. Put simply, Cork had to win and Shelbourne lose for the title to go the Cork instead of Shelbourne. It turned out that neither result went the way Cork wanted as both they and Shelbourne drew. This meant that Shelbourne retained the league title and Cork City would have to be satisfied with second place. The final table looked like this:

Pos
Team
P
W
D
L
F
A
GD
Pts
Final effect of position
1
Shelbourne
36
19
11
6
57
37
+20
68
UEFA Champions League (1st qual.) and Setanta Cup
2
Cork City
36
18
11
7
52
32
+20
65
UEFA Cup (1st qual.) and Setanta Cup
3
Bohemians
36
15
15
6
51
30
+21
60
Intertoto Cup 1st Round
4
Drogheda United
36
15
7
14
45
43
+2
52
5
Waterford United
36
14
8
14
44
49
-5
50
6
Longford Town
36
11
13
12
32
34
-2
46
7
Derry City
36
11
11
14
23
32
-9
44
8
St Patrick's Athletic
36
11
9
16
38
49
-11
42
9
Shamrock Rovers
36
10
8
18
41
47
-6
38
10
Dublin City
36
6
7
23
39
69
-30
25
Relegation to First Division


P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

First Division[edit]

Finn Harps won promotion back to the Premier Division after they finished top of the First Division by two points. The two teams that joined them in gaining promotion were UCD and Bray Wanderers. Limerick endured the embarrassment of finishing last. They were six points adrift of closest rivals Monaghan United. The final league table looked like this:

Pos
Team
P
W
D
L
F
A
GD
Pts
Final effect of position
1
Finn Harps
33
23
7
3
60
19
+41
76
Promotion to Premier Division
2
UCD
33
22
9
2
63
21
+42
75
Promotion to Premier Division
3
Bray Wanderers
33
19
8
6
62
29
+33
65
Promotion to Premier Division
4
Kildare County
33
18
8
7
54
32
+23
62
5
Galway United
33
14
10
9
55
49
+6
52
6
Dundalk
33
14
4
15
46
57
-11
46
7
Sligo Rovers
33
11
5
17
46
50
-4
38
8
Cobh Ramblers
33
7
11
15
47
53
-6
32
9
Kilkenny City
33
6
9
18
28
53
-25
27
10
Athlone Town
33
9
2
22
42
68
-26
26A
11
Monaghan United
33
8
5
20
28
63
-35
26B
12
Limerick
33
4
8
21
18
55
-37
20
Must re-apply for 2005 league membership

P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

League of Ireland clubs in Europe[edit]

Champions League[edit]

Shelbourne were the League of Ireland's representative in this season's Champions League. In the first qualifying round Shelbourne face Icelandic champions KR Reykjavík. The first leg was in Iceland finished 2-2 which gave Shelbourne a good chance of progressing to the next round. That they did, but it was close. Shelbourne went through on away goals after a 0-0 draw at Tolka Park. In the Second Qualifying Round they had to play Croatian team Hajduk Split. Again, the first leg was away from home. It looked like Shelbourne would have it all to do to progress further after they were 3-1 down in Croatia. They managed to score a second away goal in the last minute which meant they were only now 3-2 down going into the second leg. A 1-0 home win would mean that they would become the first League of Ireland side ever to win two successive rounds in European competition. The return Tolka Park proved amemorable occasion for Shels. A Dave Rogers volley broke the deadlock early in the second half. As Hajduk Split attacked to get the goal they required, Shels scored again by hitting them on the break. Joseph Ndo set up Alan Moore to seal a 2-0 victory on the night in the last minute. Shelbourne had won the tie 4-3 on aggregate. They were rewarded with a meeting against Deportivo de la Coruna in the Third Qualifying Round. To take advantage of the situation the home leg, which was the first leg this time, was moved to Lansdowne Road. Shelbourne wanted a lead to take to Spain but they got the next best thing a 0-0 draw. Half-time in the Riazor in the second leg and still no goals were scored in the tie. Deportivo ended Shelbourne's run in that season's Champions League in the second half by scoring three unanswered goals. Shelbourne were out 3-0 on aggregate. This was not the end of Shelbourne's European adventure this season, though, as a for reaching the Third Qualifying Round of the Champions League, they had now qualified for a place in the First Round of the season's UEFA Cup.

UEFA Cup[edit]

The UEFA Cup campaign was disappointing for eircom League clubs. Both Bohemians and Longford Town were eliminated in the first qualifying round after 3-1 and 4-2 aggregate defeats to Levadia Tallinn and FC Vaduz respectively. Shelbourne entered into the First Round proper of the UEFA Cup due to their performance in the Champions League qualifiers. Here they played Lille OSC. In the Champions League qualifiers Shelbourne did not concede any goals at home which was crucial in their progress but in the first leg against Lille at Lansdowne Road the result was 2–2. This meant that, unless there was a very high-scoring draw, Shelbourne needed to win in the away leg. This did not happen as Lille won 2-0 and so went through 4-2 on aggregate.

Intertoto Cup[edit]

Cork City made good progress in the 2004 Intertoto Cup. They reached the third round only to beaten there 4-2 on aggregate by FC Nantes Atlantique. To get there Cork City knocked out both Malmo FF (4-1 on aggregate) and NEC Nijmegen (1-0 on aggregate).

UEFA coefficient[edit]

The League of Ireland clubs' performances in Europe this season meant that the league received a coefficient of 1.333 added to their overall coefficient which now accumulated to 4.164. This gave them a ranking 38th place as shown.

Top-scorers[edit]

Premier Division[edit]

Player Club Goals
Republic of Ireland Jason Byrne Shelbourne 25
Republic of Ireland Glen Crowe Bohemians 19
Republic of Ireland Declan O'Brien Drogheda United 14
Republic of Ireland Daryl Murphy Waterford United 14
Republic of Ireland Kevin Doyle Cork City 13
Republic of Ireland John O'Flynn Cork City 12
Republic of Ireland Dessie Baker Longford Town 10
Republic of Ireland Aidan O'Keefe St Patrick's Athletic 10
Republic of Ireland Willie Bruton Waterford United 10
Republic of Ireland Andrew Myler Longford Town 9
Republic of Ireland Tony Grant Bohemians 8
Republic of Ireland Gary O'Neill Dublin City 8
Republic of Ireland Glen Fitzpatrick Shelbourne 8

Awards[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]