2005 League of Ireland

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The clubs that competed in the 2005 League of Ireland.

The 2005 League of Ireland season began on Friday 18 March 2005, and ended with the FAI Cup Final on Sunday 4 December. This season saw the Premier Divsision expanded to include twelve teams with the First Division now reduced to ten. This was the opposite to what it had been before. The league's management committee also announced changes regarding the prize money for the season. The total fund was increased from €100,000 to around €450,000.[1] At the end of the season, Cork City became league champions, but were beaten in the cup final by Drogheda United.

eircom League season[edit]

Premier Division[edit]

The season began on 18 March with four matches getting the season underway. The league's biggest derby between Shamrock Rovers and Bohemian F.C. ended in a 1-1 draw. Bray Wanderers and Derry City both recorded victories but the surprise on the opening day was holders and favourites Shelbourne drew 1-1 at home to U.C.D.. Shelbourne did improve however, and, at the end of the month, along with Cork City and Bray Wanderers, were the early leaders, all on seven points with three games played.

April saw Shelbourne march to the top of the table with victories in all their matches bar one - a 0-0 draw against Derry City. They definitely looked like the team to beat. Meanwhile, at the bottom, it looked like it might be a season of struggle for Finn Harps who had yet to register a victory. It was also a disappointing start for both Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers who were the other two clubs in the bottom three. Shamrock Rovers also entered examinership due to their financial troubles. It was reported that they were in debt but did have a reasonable chance of surviving, so the High Court ruled that an examiner should be appointed.[2]

In May, there were big developments at both the top and bottom of the table with the bottom the more significant. Shamrock Rovers were deducted eight points for a 'serious breach of the licensing process'. When the club went into examinership, it was discovered that they were €2,360,000 in debt and this financial and accounting information was not given when applying for a UEFA License. Many people were of the opinion that they got off lightly, however, as it was expected that they might be automatically relegated to the First Division or suffer expulsion from the league altogether.[3] At the end of the month this left them on three points and last in the table. On the field there was some surprises at the top of the table. Shelbourne, who at the start of the campaign looked like they might stroll to the league title, were beaten in successive matches. The second of these defeats was to Cork City who led the table after this victory by three points.

Shelbourne's poor form continued into the month of June. A 1-1 draw with U.C.D. was followed by a disappointing home defeat to Shamrock Rovers. They eventually ended their five game winless streak with a 4-2 victory at Waterford but at this stage had certainly handed the initiative over to Cork City who still led the way by three points but had now played a game less. Derry, also, had cut the gap to second place Shelbourne to four points and had two games in hand over them. At the bottom of the table Shamrock Rovers were still bottom and were now five points behind 11th place Finn Harps after the big relegation clash between the two sides finished 4-1 in the Donegal side's favour. Without doubt Shamrock Rovers were in danger of being relegated for the first time in their history.

At the end of July, it looked as there was only one place that the league title was going and that was to Cork. With over half of the campaign gone they were now an incredible fourteen points clear of Shelbourne who had dropped to third place. The only team with any chance of catching Cork appeared to be Derry. They were seven points adrift of the league leaders but did have a game in hand. At the other end Finn Harps were now last. Shamrock Rovers had overtaken them and looked like that they could escape from trouble. At this stage they were just three points behind Waterford United in 10th place.

It seemed like the title might go to the wire now. With exactly two thirds of the season gone Cork were now just three points ahead of Derry. Shelbourne were definitely out of the title race. They were still fourteen points behind the league leaders. They just seemed to be in a battle for a European spot with Longford, Drogheda and Bohemians who were separated by four points. Shamrock Rovers were out of the bottom two after gaining seven points from their three matches in August. Probably the most important result was the 1-0 victory over fellow strugglers Waterford United. Going on Rovers current form, it seemed like they may pull clear from danger leaving Finn Harps and Waterford United to battle to avoid automatic relegation.

With just goal difference separating the top two now it was certainly going to be nail-biting climax to the season but crucially Cork City had played a game less. Shelbourne had now cemented a European spot. They were ten points clear of their nearest rivals. At the foot of the table it looked like a gap was opening up between the bottom two and the rest. It seemed a straight dogfight between Finn Harps and Waterford United to see who would go down automatically and who would enter the relegation/promotion playoff. There was still time for that to change, however, as U.C.D., Bray Wanderers, Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick's Athletic were still not entirely safe.

Going into the final month of the league season only three goals on goal difference could separate leaders Cork from Derry but the end of October provided a few shocks as both the top two suffered home defeats to relegation battlers. These results coupled with Shamrock Rovers defeat to Bray Wanderers proved disastrous for Rovers as they dropped back down to eleventh place although they had played a game less and were just a point behind Waterford United and three adrift of U.C.D. and St Patrick's Athletic. Finn Harps were all but down at this stage. They were five points behind Rovers with just three games remaining.

The final of the day league would prove to be an exciting affair. With Derry taking full advantage of Cork City's draw against Shelbourne the previous weekend, they were now top. All they needed was a point to seal their first league title since 1997. The only trouble was that their final match was away to their title rivals Cork. What a game there was in prospect. One thing was certain was that the trophy would be leaving Dublin for the first time since Derry's last title. Unfortunately for Shamrock Rovers there would be no last day drama for them. They were consigned to a relegation /promotion playoff after a 2-1 defeat to Waterford United. Finn Harps were also officially relegated on the penultimate day.

The 18 November arrived and all eyes were on Turner's Cross for the league title decider. Cork City started the better and nearly scored inside thirty seconds when John O'Flynn headed just over the crossbar. They were not to be denied however, and struck the deserved lead goal when O'Flynn headed home from a Roy O'Donovan cross. Cork dominated the rest of the opening half but it seemed that the second killer goal would just not come. It didn't until the 16th minute of the second half when Denis Behan set up Liam Kearney to score. Derry never gave up, however, and were close to pulling a goal back but Michael Devine managed to pull off a fine save from a Pat McCourt header. It was to be Cork City's day, though, as they went on to see the match out and clinch their second league title.[4] The final table looked like this:

Pos
Team
P
W
D
L
F
A
GD
Pts
Final effect of position
1
Cork City
33
22
8
3
53
18
+35
74
UEFA Champions League (1st qual.) and Setanta Cup
2
Derry City
33
22
6
5
56
25
+31
72
UEFA Cup (1st qual.) and Setanta Cup
3
Shelbourne
33
20
7
6
62
25
+37
67
Intertoto Cup 1st Round
4
Drogheda United
33
12
12
9
40
33
+7
48
5
Longford Town
33
12
9
12
29
32
-3
45
6
Bohemians
33
13
6
14
42
47
-5
45
7
Bray Wanderers
33
11
6
16
40
57
-17
39
8
Waterford United
33
9
7
17
30
49
-19
34
9
UCD
33
7
12
14
28
44
-16
33
10
St Patrick's Athletic
33
7
11
15
26
36
-10
32
11
Shamrock Rovers
33
9
8
16
33
52
-19
27A
Promotion-relegation play-off against 2nd in First Division
12
Finn Harps
33
5
6
22
30
51
-21
21
Relegation to First Division

^ Note A: Shamrock Rovers deducted 8 points for UEFA License Application irregularities.
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]

Sligo Rovers won promotion back to the Premier Division after they finished top of the First Division by two points. Dublin City were runners-up and as a result entered the promotion/relegation playoff against Shamrock Rovers. Athlone Town endured the embarrassment of finishing last. They were eight 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
Sligo Rovers
36
15
16
5
45
27
+18
61
Promotion to Premier Division
2
Dublin City
36
15
14
7
57
34
+23
59
Promotion/relegation playoff against 11th in Premier Division
3
Cobh Ramblers
36
15
11
10
49
40
+9
56
4
Kilkenny City
36
15
8
13
46
35
+11
53
5
Galway United
36
14
11
11
46
43
+3
53
6
Dundalk
36
12
13
11
44
40
+4
49
7
Limerick
36
13
9
14
44
49
-5
48
8
Kildare County
36
10
11
15
33
42
-9
41
9
Monaghan United
36
9
9
18
36
66
-30
36
10
Athlone Town
36
6
10
20
28
52
-24
28
Must re-apply for 2006 league membership

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

Goal difference; Pts[edit]

Promotion/Relegation Playoff[edit]

Shamrock Rovers played Dublin City in probably the most important match of the season for both clubs. The winner would be in the Premier Division next season while the loser would participate in the First Division. Shamrock Rovers were at home for the first leg which was played at Dalymount Park. Dublin City struck a blow for Rovers when Aidan Lynch gave them the lead in the 43rd minute. A Trevor Molloy penalty in the second half made it 1-1 but five minutes from time disaster struck for Rovers as David McGill scored for Dublin and that was enough to inflict a home defeat for Rovers in the first leg. It seemed that they had a mountain to climb now. The second leg at Tolka Park proved a tense affair. The pressure was certainly on Shamrock Rovers who knew they had to win or else face a season in the First Division for the first time in their history. Neither team could find a goal in the first half but when Robbie Collins gave Dublin City the lead it looked very bleak for Rovers. They did equalise on the night just two minutes later through Rovers legend Derek Treacy but that was as much they could do. Dublin City were celebrating promotion but Shamrock Rovers were journeying into the unknown. Rovers faced an uncertain future with their debts and now relegation to the First Division.

Eircom League Clubs in Europe[edit]

Champions League[edit]

Shelbourne were the League of Ireland's representative in this season's Champions League. After their exploits the previous season (they were the first League of Ireland club to reach the third qualifying round) all eyes were on them this season hoping that they could at least match their achievements of last season. The first qualifying round threw up an intriguing tie against the Irish League champions Glentoran. The first leg was held at The Oval but it was Shelbourne who took a lead back to Tolka Park. Two Jason Byrne strikes gave Shels a 2-1 victory over their Irish League opponents.[5] Shelbourne convincingly killed off the tie in the second leg to record a 4-1 victory and 6-2 win overall. Goals from Owen Heary, Jason Byrne (2) and Glen Crowe sealed a meeting with Steaua Bucharest second qualifying round.[6] This proved to be a much tougher affair. Shelbourne were at home in the first leg and had to be satisfied with a 0-0 draw to take to Romania.[7] They were beaten in Bucharest, however, by 4-1 to end their European adventure for this season.[8]

UEFA Cup[edit]

Cork City did the better of the Republic of Ireland's two teams in the UEFA Cup. Cork City progressed through to the first round proper of the tournament. In the first qualifying round they overcame Lithuanian side FK Ekranas 2-1 on aggregate. They then beat Djurgårdens IF on away goals after a 1-1 aggregate draw in the second qualifying round. They missed out on qualification to the group stage, however, by losing to Slavia Prague in the First Round. The Rebels lost both legs 2-0 and 2-1 respectively. Longford Town were the other Irish team in the tournament but they were beaten 5-3 on aggregate in the First Qualifying round by Carmarthen Town of Wales. This was a disappointment especially since Longford won the first leg at Flancare Park by 2-0.

Intertoto Cup[edit]

Bohemians lost 3-1 on aggregate to AA Gent in the first round of the Intertoto Cup. Like Longford in the UEFA Cup, Bohs had won the first leg at home but obviously it was not enough to see them through.

UEFA Coefficient[edit]

The League of Ireland clubs' performances in Europe this season meant that the league received a coefficient of 1.833 added to their overall coefficient which now accumulated to 4.331. This gave them a ranking 40th place as shown.

FAI Cup[edit]

The First Round of the FAI Cup consisted of 20 non-league and junior sides with 10 progressing through to the next round to join the 22 league clubs. The second round did provide a couple of shock results. The main one was non-league Wayside Celtic defeating First Division side Cobh Ramblers by 1-0. The other was Malahide United forcing a replay with Sligo Rovers, although Sligo did win the replay. The big match in the round was the meeting of Shelbourne and Derry City at Tolka Park and unexpectedly the Candystripes won 2-0 against the then league champions. Another result of note was Dundalk's 7-1 victory over fellow First Division side Monaghan United.

The third round involved a County Louth derby between Drogheda and Dundalk. The Premier Division side overcame their neighbours 2-0. First Division side Sligo Rovers caused a shock by defeating St Patrick's Athletic. Non-league Wayside Celtic, also, forced a replay with Bohemians although Bohs went through in the replay.

By the quarter-final stage, Sligo Rovers were the only team left in the tournament who were not in the Premier Division. That was as far as they got, however, as they lost to Cork City. Derry City, Drogheda United and Bray Wanderers were the clubs that progressed to the semi-finals.

The first semi-final took place on 21 October between Cork City and Derry City. The match was a tight affair and it took a penalty in the final minute to separate the two sides. George O'Callaghan put the Leesiders through to the final with his by coolly taken spot-kick. The other semi-final was also tight and involved late drama. Declan O'Brien gave Drogheda a 1-0 lead in the first half. They were no more goals, however, until the last ten minutes when Drogheda scored a second and looked to have sealed a place in the final but Bray managed to find the net two minutes after Drogheda's strike. Drogheda hung on, though, to book place in December's final against Cork.

The final took place on 4 December at Lansdowne Road. Cork were looking for a double after winning the league title a fortnight before. Neither side could force a breakthrough in the first half but it did not take long in the second half for a goal to be scored and it went to the underdogs. Gavin Whelan gave the Drogs the lead in the 52nd minute which had supporters dreaming of a first FAI Cup success. Cork tried to get back into the match but it was not to be as Declan O'Brien sealed the cup for Drogheda seven minutes from time.

FAI Cup Final[edit]


4 December 2005
Cork City 0-2 Drogheda United
Match Report G. Whelan Goal 52'
D. O'Brien Goal 83'
15.15 - Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Attendance: 24,521
Referee: Ian Stokes

League of Ireland Cup[edit]

Derry City won a sixth League of Ireland Cup in 2005. They defeated a battling U.C.D. side in the final. It was somewhat against the run of play when Derry took the lead through Alan Murphy on fourteen minutes. Conan Byrne struck a deserved equaliser for U.C.D. five minutes before the end of the first half but three minutes later an own goal from McWalter gave Derry a half time lead. There were no more goals in the match so Derry City took the cup.[9]

Top-scorers[edit]

Premier Division[edit]

Player Club League goals Cup goals Total
Republic of Ireland Jason Byrne Shelbourne 22 8 30
Republic of Ireland Mark Farren Derry City 18 4 22
Republic of Ireland John O'Flynn Cork City 11 4 15
Northern Ireland Kevin McHugh Finn Harps 13 1 14
Republic of Ireland Eamon Zayed Bray Wanderers 12 0 12
Republic of Ireland Glen Crowe Shelbourne 8 4 12
Republic of Ireland Gavin Whelan Drogheda United 8 1 9
Republic of Ireland Patrick McWalter UCD 7 2 9
Republic of Ireland Declan O'Brien Drogheda United 7 2 9
Republic of Ireland Stephen Ward Bohemians 7 2 9
Republic of Ireland Robbie Martin UCD 6 3 9
Republic of Ireland Andrew Myler Longford Town 4 5 9
Republic of Ireland Kevin Doyle Cork City 7 1 8
Republic of Ireland Robbie Doyle St Patrick's Athletic 7 1 8
Republic of Ireland Richie Baker Shelbourne 6 2 8
Republic of Ireland Roy O'Donovan Cork City 6 2 8
Republic of Ireland Tony Grant Bohemians 5 3 8

Awards[edit]

Off-Field Issues[edit]

Shamrock Rovers[edit]

In April Shamrock Rovers financial difficulties really came to light. The High Court ruled that an examiner should be appointed at the club. He discovered that they had debts amounting to €2,360,000 . The following month it was made public that this information was not given by the club when they applied for a UEFA License for the new season. This was a very serious breach of the rules and many people expected a severe punishment for them .Punishments such as immediate relegation or even complete expulsion from the league were talked about. Eventually the authorities decided that the club should be docked eight points. At the time it seemed that Rovers had got off lightly but at the end of the season these points proved crucial in condemning the club to a relegation/promotion playoff which of course they lost.[10] This certainly did not help the financial situation at the club and they were danger of going out of business. Fortunately for the club, a fans trust was able to take over the club and keep them from becoming extinct.[11] Towards the end of the season Roddy Collins was sacked as manager of the club despite having a year left on his contract. He was replaced by Alan O'Neill for the playoff games. Roddy Collins took this dismissal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal. A settlement was eventually reached the following year.[12]

Prize Money[edit]

The prize funds for the season more than quadrupled. The top clubs also got a financial from the Setanta Cup. The following table shows how eircom League prize money was distributed for the season.[13]

Position Premier Division First Division League Cup Fair Play
1 €100,000 €25,000 €15,000 €4,500 x 2
2 €45,000 €12,500 €7,500 €2,000 x 2
3 €25,000 €7,500 €2,500
4 €15,000 €6,000 €2,500
5 €10,000 €5,000
6 €7,500 €5,000
7 €6,000 €5,000
8 €5,000 €5,000
9 €5,000 €5,000
10 €5,000 €5,000
11 €5,000
12 €5,000
Totals €233,500 €81,000 €27,500 €13,000

Attendances[edit]

Attendance figures increased this season in relation to previous seasons. The total attendance over all competitions for the season was 520,000 - a 6% increase on the previous season. The highest league attendance of the season came at Turner's Cross for the title decider at the end of the season between Cork City and Derry City. 8,000 spectators were at the game. The biggest attendance of the season came in the FAI Cup Final. 24,521 people made the journey to Lansdowne Road to watch the final.[14]

Media Coverage[edit]

The FAI agreed a new TV Rights deal for this season. This deal will run until 2009. The main terms of the agreement are:

  • At least 29 games live each season
    • RTÉ 8 matches (5 league and 3 FAI Cup)
    • TG4 11 (7 league and 5 FAI Cup)
    • Setanta 10 (all league)
  • This allowed the increase in prize money.[15]
  • Home clubs in 17 live games will receive €5,000
  • Home clubs in other 12 live matches will get €2,000.[13]

TV viewing figures for the season proved to be in excess of 1 million. In the end 44 matches were televised live with the highest viewing figure of 355,000 for the league title decider. 285,000 people watched the FAI Cup Final.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]