2008 League of Ireland

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League of Ireland
Season 2008
2007
2009
The clubs competing in the 2008 FAI eircom League of Ireland

The 2008 League of Ireland season consisted of both Premier and First Division, as well as the newly introduced 'A' Championship. The season kicked off in March and the 'A' Championship commenced in June. In order to prepare for the 'A' Championship, competing clubs were offered the opportunity to compete in a Shield competition, which began in March.[1]

The season was a transitional one in order to reduce the number of clubs in the Premier Division to ten and increase the number in the First Division to twelve. As a result there was no playoffs with just the three bottom clubs in the Premier Division automatically relegated to the First Division and the First Division champions automatically promoted to the Premier Division.

There was a playoff between the bottom placed side in the First Division and an 'A' Championship qualifier to determine who would participate in 2009 in the First Division.

Pre-season developments[edit]

Managerial changes[edit]

Several League of Ireland clubs changed their managers during pre-season. Alan Mathews resigned as manager of recently relegated Longford Town. The First Division club have since promoted Mathews' assistant at the club, Aaron Callaghan, to replace him as manager of the club.[2] Pat Fenlon was also back in management after his brief reign in charge of Derry City in the early stage of the previous season. He was manager of Bohemians after they sacked Sean Connor.[3] Back at Derry City they re-appointed former manager Stephen Kenny after he had left the eircom league club the season before previous to take over the reins of then SPL side Dunfermline Athletic. Kenny was sacked by the Scottish club this season.[4] Another manager without a job was Damien Richardson after he and Cork City reached a settlement for him to leave the club.[5] The 2007 FAI Cup winners have since appointed Alan Mathews as their new manager.[6]

Kilkenny City withdraw from League[edit]

Shortly before the league issued fixtures for the new season Kilkenny City issued a statement saying they were withdrawing from the League due to financial and inadequate support.[7] Sporting Fingal, who were due to take part in the inaugural 'A' Championship, were offered Kilkenny's place in the First Division.[8]

'A' Championship[edit]

The 'A' Championship was a new league introduced in order to provide a link between non-league soccer in the Republic of Ireland and the eircom League. It gave clubs the opportunity to win promotion to the league for the first time. It has been decided that this championship would not kick off until June but a Shield competition, starting in March, was put in place in order to give the 'A' Championship participants a chance to prepare. The league contained reserve sides of the eircom League clubs also. The previous December four new clubs were accepted for entry into the championship. These clubs were Mervue United, Salthill Devon (both from Galway), Tullamore Town from Offaly and newly formed Dublin club Sporting Fingal who have since been elevated to the First Division.[1]

Television coverage[edit]

For the first time in the history of the league the national broadcaster Radio Telefís Éireann started showing highlights of every Premier Division game played on its new show Monday Night Soccer. This show was presented by Con Murphy. This replaced eircom League Weekly which had run on TV3 on Monday nights from 2002-07. The final season of live weekly radio coverage was provided by national broadcaster RTÉ with live reports and commentary on match nights, which was dropped from the end of 2008. Live games were shown by RTÉ, Setanta Sports and TG4's Sacar Beo.

Clubs information[edit]

Team Base Manager Main sponsor Kit supplier Stadium Capacity
Athlone Town Athlone, Co. Westmeath Republic of Ireland Place, Brendan Ganly's Hardware O'Neills Athlone Town Stadium 2,000
Bohemians Dublin Republic of Ireland Fenlon, Pat Des Kelly Interiors Umbro Dalymount Park 8,500
Bray Wanderers Bray, Co. Wicklow Republic of Ireland Gormley, Eddie Hard Metal Umbro Carlisle Grounds 7,000
Cobh Ramblers Cobh, Co. Cork Republic of Ireland Henderson, Stephen Goodyear Uhlsport St. Colman's Park 5,000
Cork City Cork Republic of Ireland Mathews, Alan Beamish Hummel Turners Cross 8,000
Derry City Derry Republic of Ireland Kenny, Stephen MeteorElectrical.com O'Neills The Brandywell 7,700
Drogheda United Drogheda, Co. Louth Republic of Ireland Doolin, Paul Hunky Dorys Jako United Park 5,400
Dundalk Dundalk, Co. Louth Republic of Ireland Connor, Sean Shop Dundalk Umbro Oriel Park 6,000
Finn Harps Ballybofey, Co. Donegal Republic of Ireland James Gallagher Donegal Creameries Masita Finn Park 7,900
Galway United Galway England Foster, Ian O'Connell Drylining LTD Rival Terryland Park 5,000
Kildare County Newbridge, Co. Kildare Republic of Ireland Somerville, John Cill Dara Betting O'Neills Station Road 2,500
Limerick 37 Limerick Republic of Ireland Kerley, Michael Limerick's Live 95FM Jako Jackman Park 8,000
Longford Town Longford Republic of Ireland Gough, Alan Flancare Umbro Flancare Park 4,500
Mervue United Galway Republic of Ireland Glynn, Johnny Atlantic Developments Fahy's Field
Monaghan United Monaghan Republic of Ireland Cooke, Mick The Squeeling Pig Nike Century Homes Park 3,000
Salthill Devon Galway Republic of Ireland Long, Emlyn FCS Umbro Drom Clubhouse 2,000
Shamrock Rovers Dublin Northern Ireland O'Neill, Michael Woodie's DIY Umbro Tolka Park 9,700
Shelbourne Dublin Republic of Ireland Keely, Dermot Cab 2000 Umbro Tolka Park 9,700
Sligo Rovers Sligo England Cook, Paul Toher's Jako The Showgrounds 5,500
Sporting Fingal Dublin Republic of Ireland Buckley, Liam Keelings O'Neills Morton Stadium 10,000
St. Patrick's Athletic Dublin Republic of Ireland Kenna, Jeff Paddy Power Umbro Richmond Park 5,500
Tullamore Town Offaly Republic of Ireland Colsh, Keith Leah Victoria Park 4,000
UCD Dublin Republic of Ireland Mahon, Pete Budweiser O'Neills UCD Bowl 3,000
Waterford United Waterford Republic of Ireland Cronin, Gareth Hutchison 3G Azzurri Waterford Regional Sports Centre 8,000
Wexford Youths Crossabeg, Co. Wexford Republic of Ireland Wallace, Mick Wallace Construction O'Neills Ferrycarraig Park 5,000

League[edit]

Rules[edit]

Procedure[edit]

There were twelve participating clubs in the Premier Division and ten participating clubs in the First Division for 2007. During the course of the 2008 season (which lasted from March to November) each Premier club played the respective others three times. A pre-season draw decided which clubs will have the benefit of two home games in these matches. First Division sides played each other four times throughout the season - two games at home and two games at the stadium of the opposition. Each team in the Premier Division played 33 matches in total during the season, while those in the First Division played 36 games. The 'A' League Championship contained three clubs and reserve sides from Premier Division and some First Division clubs. The Championship was divided into two sections or groups. This didn't start until June with a Shield competition taking place before that.

Teams received three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points were awarded for a loss. Teams were ranked by total points, then goal difference and then goals scored. If there is equality in points, goal difference and goals for tallies, the clubs involved must partake in a play-off to decide their finishing positions. At the end of the season, the club with the most points in their division were crowned as champion of that division. The three lowest placed teams in the Premier were automatically relegated into the First Division and the top team from the First Division was automatically promoted to the Premier Division. In addition, the 2007 winner of the First Division had a once-off play-off with the winners of the FAI League Cup for a Setanta Cup place. The team that finished last in the First Division participated in a promotion/relegation playoff. The winners of the playoff between the highest placed non-reserve sides in both 'A' League Championship groups, provided that they both finished in the top four in their respective group, would have challenged the team that finished last in the First Division for their place in a promotion/relegation playoff. However, since only one of the 'A' League Championship groups had a non-reserve side in the top four then this team automatically faced the club that finished last in the First Division in a promotion/relegation playoff. If eircom League reserve sides had occupied the top four positions in both 'A' League Championship sections then no promotion/relegation playoff would have taken place and the team that finished last in the First Division would not have been relegated.

Qualification for 2009–10 European competitions[edit]

The top team in the Premier League qualified for the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round and must win three two-legged knockout ties against higher seeded and stronger opposition with progression in order to enter the group phase.

There were also three spots reserved in newly formed UEFA Europa League, two through league positions and one through domestic cup. The second-placed and third-placed team should have qualified for the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round while the cup winners should have qualified for the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round. However, since Bohemians won both the cup and the league, Europa League spot went to cup runners-up. Because they qualified for Europe through league, fourth-placed team were also awarded with a spot in the Europa League. The spot were thereby given to teams according to league positions. League runners-up and third-place team were given spots in the second, while the fourth-placed team was given a spot in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.

Prize funds[edit]

The trend of increasing prize funds for the league has continued this season. Between the National League, FAI Cup, FAI League Cup and the Setanta Cup a prize fund in excess of €2 million was available. The prize fund for the Premier Division in 2008 has increased with the winners being awarded €250,000. Unlike previous year every team received funds, even the last placed.[9] The winners of the 'A' Championship were given €20,000.[1]

Season[edit]

Tables[edit]

Premier Division[edit]

Pos
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Bohemians (C) 33 27 4 2 55 13 +42 85 2009–10 UEFA Champions League Second qualifying round 2
2 St Patrick's Athletic 33 20 6 7 48 24 +24 66 2009–10 UEFA Europa League Second qualifying round 1,2
3 Derry City 33 16 10 7 46 25 +21 58 2009–10 UEFA Europa League Second qualifying round 1
4 Sligo Rovers 33 12 12 9 41 28 +13 48 2009–10 UEFA Europa League First qualifying round 1
5 Cork City 33 15 11 7 45 28 +17 0463
6 Bray Wanderers 33 11 6 16 28 52 −24 39
7 Shamrock Rovers 33 8 13 12 33 35 −2 37
8 Drogheda United 33 12 9 12 38 32 +6 0353
9 Galway United 33 8 8 17 34 49 −15 32
10 Finn Harps (R) 33 9 4 20 26 53 −27 31 Relegation to First Division 2009
11 Cobh Ramblers (R) 33 6 8 19 27 55 −28 26
12 UCD (R) 33 4 9 20 19 46 −27 21

Source: soccerway.com
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored
1Since winners of FAI Cup 2008, Bohemians, also won the league, their spot in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League went to league runners-up, St Patrick's Athletic. Derry City, as cup runners-up, were guaranteed a spot in the first qualifying round. However, because Derry City finished third (and thereby already securing UEFA place), fourth-placed team Sligo Rovers also earned Europa League spot.
2Team also qualified for Setanta Sports Cup 2009–10.
3Cork City and Drogheda United were both deducted ten points after going into administration.[10][11]
(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.

First Division[edit]

Pos
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Dundalk (C) 36 21 8 7 69 30 +39 71 Promotion to Premier Division 2009
2 Shelbourne 36 20 10 6 55 25 +30 70
3 Waterford United 36 18 9 9 55 35 +20 63
4 Sporting Fingal 36 17 11 8 53 32 +21 62
5 Limerick 37 36 15 7 14 49 45 +4 52
6 Monaghan United 36 13 8 15 38 51 −13 47
7 Wexford Youths 36 10 7 19 36 51 −15 37
8 Longford Town 36 9 8 19 36 55 −19 35
9 Athlone Town 36 6 14 16 23 51 −28 32
10 Kildare County 36 6 8 22 34 73 −39 26 Qualification to First Division Play-Off

Source: soccerway.com
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored
(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.

'A' League Championship[edit]

Group 1[edit]
Pos
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Bohemians A 14 11 2 1 34 12 +22 0321 Qualification to A Championship Final
2 Finn Harps A 14 9 1 4 24 12 +12 28
3 Mervue United (P) 14 6 2 6 24 24 0 20 First Division Play-Off
4 Drogheda United A 14 5 5 4 23 23 0 0171
5 Shamrock Rovers A 14 4 4 6 23 22 +1 16
6 Sligo Rovers A 14 4 3 7 24 23 +1 15
7 Derry City A 14 4 1 9 16 34 −18 13
8 Salthill Devon 14 3 2 9 13 31 −18 11

Source: loi.ie
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored
1Bohemians A and Drogheda United A were both deducted 3 points for fielding ineligible players.
(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.

Group 2[edit]
Pos
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 UCD A (C) 14 10 3 1 52 8 +44 33 Qualification to A Championship Final
2 Cork City A 14 7 3 4 22 13 +9 24
3 Galway United A 14 6 4 4 20 14 +6 22
4 Bray Wanderers A 14 6 3 5 31 20 +11 21
5 St Patrick's Athletic A 14 5 4 5 16 16 0 19
6 Cobh Ramblers A 14 6 2 6 24 25 −1 0171
7 Limerick 37 A 14 4 2 8 17 33 −16 14
8 Tullamore Town 14 1 1 12 7 60 −53 4

Source: loi.ie
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored
1Cobh Ramblers A were deducted 3 points for fielding an ineligible player.
(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.


Promotion play-off[edit]

Kildare County and Mervue United competed in a two-legged playoff for one spot in 2009 First Division. Mervue United won 5–2 on aggregate and thereby secured a place in next year's FAI First Division.

18 November 2008
20:00
Mervue United 2 – 2 Kildare County
Keogh Goal 10'
Goldbey Goal 28'
Hughes Goal 54' Goal 76'
Fahy's Field

21 November 2008
19:45
Kildare County 0 – 3 Mervue United
O'Brien Goal 15'
Goldbey Goal 64' Goal 81'

'A' Championship play-off[edit]

Bohemians 'A' and UCD 'A' competed in a playoff for the inaugural 'A' Championship title. UCD 'A' won 2–1 and therefore became the 2008 'A' Championship winners.

11 November 2008
UCD 'A' 2 – 1 Bohemians 'A'

Results[edit]

Premier League[edit]

Matches 1–22[edit]
Home ╲ Away[1] BOH BRW COB COR DER DRO FHA GAL SHM SLI StP UCD
Bohemians 1–1 3–0 2–1 0–0 2–0 3–0 2–1 2–1 3–0 0–1 2–0
Bray Wanderers 0–2 1–0 0–3 1–0 1–0 1–0 0–1 1–0 0–0 0–3 0–2
Cobh Ramblers 0–1 1–2 0–0 0–3 0–4 1–3 1–1 2–0 1–3 0–1 0–0
Cork City 0–1 0–0 5–0 1–1 0–2 3–0 3–2 1–1 1–0 0–0 1–0
Derry City 0–0 4–0 1–0 2–3 2–0 2–1 0–0 0–1 0–0 0–3 4–1
Drogheda United 1–2 2–0 3–0 0–1 0–1 1–0 1–0 0–1 1–1 2–2 2–1
Finn Harps 0–2 1–0 2–1 0–1 0–2 1–3 0–2 1–1 0–1 0–3 1–0
Galway United 0–1 2–3 0–1 1–3 0–4 0–1 2–2 0–2 1–1 2–2 1–2
Shamrock Rovers 0–1 2–0 0–0 1–1 1–1 0–0 0–2 3–1 1–0 0–1 1–1
Sligo Rovers 1–2 3–0 3–1 0–1 0–0 0–0 4–1 3–0 3–2 1–2 0–0
St Patrick's Athletic 0–1 1–1 1–0 3–2 0–1 0–1 5–1 1–0 1–1 3–1 0–0
UCD 1–1 2–2 1–1 0–2 2–3 1–3 1–0 0–1 0–2 0–0 0–3

Source: soccerway.com
^ The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Purple = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.

Matches 23–33[edit]
Home ╲ Away[1] BOH BRW COB COR DER DRO FHA GAL SHM SLI StP UCD
Bohemians 2–1 3–1 0–1 3–0 3–0
Bray Wanderers 3–2 2–1 4–3 0–1 0–1 2–1
Cobh Ramblers 0–2 1–1 4–1 1–0 2–0
Cork City 3–0 1–1 0–0 1–1 0–0 2–0
Derry City 4–2 0–1 1–0 2–0 1–1
Drogheda United 1–2 0–0 1–2 1–1 1–1 0–2
Finn Harps 2–2 2–0 0–2 0–1 2–0
Galway United 0–2 4–0 3–2 3–0 1–1
Shamrock Rovers 1–2 2–2 3–0 1–1 1–3 1–1
Sligo Rovers 0–1 2–0 4–0 3–3 1–1 2–1
St Patrick's Athletic 0–3 0–1 2–1 0–1 1–0 2–0
UCD 0–1 1–2 1–0 0–1 0–1

Source: soccerway.com
^ The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Purple = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.

First Division[edit]

First half of season[edit]
Home ╲ Away[1] ATH DUN KIL L37 LON MON SHE SFI WAT WEX
Athlone Town 0–3 1–1 2–2 1–0 0–0 0–1 0–3 0–0 3–1
Dundalk 1–0 6–0 0–2 0–0 3–0 1–3 3–2 1–0 2–1
Kildare County 1–1 1–2 1–2 0–1 4–0 1–3 0–2 1–2 2–0
Limerick 37 0–0 1–2 4–0 2–1 2–2 0–3 1–3 0–3 2–0
Longford Town 3–0 1–2 0–0 1–2 3–0 2–0 5–1 0–2 0–1
Monaghan United 1–2 0–0 0–0 1–0 1–0 1–0 1–0 0–0 0–2
Shelbourne 2–0 0–0 5–0 0–2 2–0 2–0 1–1 2–0 1–0
Sporting Fingal 2–0 1–1 2–2 1–0 1–1 4–0 0–0 3–1 2–0
Waterford United 1–1 1–0 3–2 3–1 1–1 5–0 1–1 2–0 1–0
Wexford Youths 2–0 0–5 1–1 1–0 1–1 1–2 2–2 0–1 1–2

Source: soccerway.com
^ The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Purple = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.

Second half of season[edit]
Home ╲ Away[1] ATH DUN KIL L37 LON MON SHE SFI WAT WEX
Athlone Town 2–2 3–0 0–3 0–0 1–0 0–1 0–1 1–1 1–0
Dundalk 7–0 4–1 0–1 1–2 3–0 2–1 2–1 2–1 1–0
Kildare County 1–0 1–6 0–2 0–2 1–2 1–2 1–1 1–2 1–2
Limerick 37 0–0 2–0 1–2 1–3 2–1 1–2 1–1 5–1 1–1
Longford Town 1–1 0–3 0–1 1–2 1–3 1–2 0–3 0–3 2–4
Monaghan United 3–0 2–2 3–3 0–2 5–1 2–0 0–2 2–0 1–2
Shelbourne 3–3 0–0 3–1 1–1 5–0 1–0 0–0 0–0 1–0
Sporting Fingal 1–0 0–0 2–0 2–0 0–0 0–1 2–1 3–1 2–3
Waterford United 3–0 0–1 3–1 3–1 4–0 1–1 0–1 2–1 1–0
Wexford Youths 0–0 3–1 0–1 3–0 0–2 1–3 0–3 2–2 1–1

Source: soccerway.com
^ The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Purple = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.

'A' Championship[edit]

Top goalscorers[edit]

The following sections contain only goals which were scored in the respective leagues.

2008 national league UEFA ranking[edit]

The FAI National League's UEFA coefficient accumulated to a total value of 7.332 as of the 2007–08 European season. Ranking going into 2008–09 European season:

  1. Lithuania Lithuania
  2. Moldova Moldova
  3. Republic of Ireland Republic of Ireland
  4. Republic of Macedonia Macedonia
  5. Iceland Iceland

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]