2008–09 IFA Premiership

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IFA Premiership
Season 2008–09
Champions Glentoran
23rd Irish title
Relegated Bangor[1]
UEFA Champions League Glentoran
UEFA Europa League Linfield
Crusaders
Lisburn Distillery
Matches played 228
Goals scored 619 (2.71 per match)
Biggest home win Linfield 7–0 Institute
Biggest away win Bangor 0–5 Crusaders
Bangor 0–5 Linfield
Crusaders 0–5 Linfield
Highest scoring Dungannon 3–6 Crusaders
Highest attendance 9,500[2]
Linfield 3–0 Glentoran
(26 December 2008)
Lowest attendance 76[2]
Bangor 1–3 Dungannon Swifts
(25 April 2009)
Average attendance 858[2]

The 2008–09 IFA Premiership (known as the JJB Sports Premiership for sponsorship reasons) was the first season after a major overhaul of the league system in Northern Ireland, and the 108th season of Irish league football overall. It was scheduled to begin on 9 August 2008. However, the start of the league was delayed by a week due to a referees' strike.[3][4] The season eventually began on 16 August 2008, and concluded on 2 May 2009. Linfield were the defending champions, but narrowly fell short of retaining the title as rivals Glentoran pipped them by a single point to win their 23rd league title overall.

Team changes from 2007–08[edit]

The league was reduced from sixteen to twelve teams as a result of the league system in Northern Ireland being restructured by the IFA.

Five of last season's sixteen Premier League teams failed to gain a place in the new twelve-team Premiership, and one new team - Bangor - gained entry from the IFA Intermediate League.

Of the five teams who missed out, three - Armagh City, Larne and Limavady United failed to obtain the necessary domestic licence. Portadown obtained a licence, but was controversially excluded because a club official missed a deadline for submitting an application form by several minutes. Finally, Donegal Celtic obtained a licence, but was ranked thirteenth in the entry list, and thus missed out by one place.

Team overview[edit]

Magnify-clip.png
Location of teams in the 2008–09 IFA Premiership
Club Stadium Town/city Capacity
Ballymena United The Showgrounds Ballymena 8,000 (4000 seats)
Bangor Clandeboye Park Bangor 4,000
Cliftonville Solitude Belfast 8,000 (2099 seats)
Coleraine The Showgrounds Coleraine 6,500 (1500 seats)
Crusaders Seaview Belfast 6,500
Dungannon Swifts Stangmore Park Dungannon 3,000 (300 seats)
Glenavon Mourneview Park Lurgan 5,500 (4000 seats)
Glentoran The Oval Belfast 15,250 (5000 seats)
Institute YMCA Grounds Drumahoe 4,000 (600 seats)
Linfield Windsor Park Belfast 20,400 (14,400 seats)
Lisburn Distillery New Grosvenor Stadium Lisburn 8,000 (2000 seats)
Newry City The Showgrounds Newry 6,500 (800 seats)

League table[edit]

Pos
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Glentoran (C) 38 24 9 5 63 36 +27 81 2009–10 UEFA Champions League Second qualifying round
2 Linfield 38 24 8 6 69 28 +41 80 2009–10 UEFA Europa League First qualifying round
3 Crusaders 38 16 14 8 63 45 +18 62 2009–10 UEFA Europa League Second qualifying round 1
4 Lisburn Distillery 38 15 11 12 53 41 +12 56 2009–10 UEFA Europa League First qualifying round 1
5 Coleraine 38 15 6 17 46 51 −5 51
6 Cliftonville 38 12 14 12 52 48 +4 50
7 Institute 38 13 9 16 47 55 −8 48
8 Newry City 38 11 11 16 47 57 −10 44
9 Glenavon 38 11 8 19 49 63 −14 41
10 Ballymena United 38 11 8 19 39 57 −18 41
11 Bangor (R) 38 9 9 20 42 67 −25 36 Relegation to 2009–10 IFA Championship 1 2
12 Dungannon Swifts (O) 38 8 11 19 49 71 −22 35 Promotion/relegation play-off

Source: rsssf.com
Rules for classification: 1st points; 2nd goal difference; 3rd number of goals scored; 4th head-to-head points; 5th head-to-head goal difference
1Crusaders won the 2008–09 Irish Cup and qualified for the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League. Therefore the fourth placed team, Lisburn Distillery, also earned a spot in the Europa League.
2On 2 February 2009, Bangor announced that they would not be able to renew their Domestic License due to financial difficulties, and therefore would not compete in the 2009–10 IFA Premiership.[1] However, they continued to play matches in this seasons Premiership.
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.
Only applicable when the season is not finished:
(Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated; (RQ) = Qualified to the relegation tournament indicated; (DQ) = Disqualified from tournament.

Results[edit]

Matches 34–38[edit]

During matches 34–38 each team played every other team in their half of the table once (either at home or away).

Promotion/relegation play-off[edit]

The relegation/promotion system was slightly modified because Bangor, who withdrew from the next IFA Premiership season, eventually finished 11th. It meant that last placed Dungannon Swifts played a two-legged match against Donegal Celtic, runners-up of the 2008–09 IFA Championship, for one spot in the 2009–10 IFA Premiership. The score was 2–2 on aggregate, but Dungannon Swifts secured their spot in the following IFA Premiership season by winning on away goals.

5 May 2009
19:45 BST
Donegal Celtic 2 – 1 Dungannon Swifts
Lyons Goal 8'
McDonald Goal 87'
Report Adamson Goal 50'

2–2 on aggregate. Dungannon Swifts won on away goals rule and remained in the IFA Premiership.

References[edit]