2014–15 Northern Ireland Football League Cup

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2014–15 Northern Ireland Football League Cup
WASP Solutions League Cup
Country  Northern Ireland
Teams 41
Champions Cliftonville (4th win)
Runners-up Ballymena United
Matches played 40
Goals scored 163 (4.08 per match)

The 2014–15 Northern Ireland Football League Cup (known as the WASP Solutions League Cup for sponsorship purposes)[1] was the 29th edition of Northern Ireland's secondary football knock-out cup competition, and the second season of the competition under the control of the Northern Ireland Football League. It was contested by the 12 members of the NIFL Premiership and the 29 members of the NIFL Championship. The competition began on 12 August 2014 with the first round, and concluded on 24 January 2015 with the final.

Cliftonville were the defending champions, after they retained the trophy by defeating Crusaders 3–2 on penalties following a 0–0 draw after extra time in the 2014 final to win the cup for the second consecutive season.[2] This season, Cliftonville successfully retained the Cup once again, defeating Ballymena United 3–2 in the final to win the Cup for the third consecutive season and the fourth time overall.[3] They became only the second club to win the competition in three consecutive seasons, emulating Linfield's feat of three consecutive wins in 1997–98, 1998–99 and 1999–2000.

Format[edit]

The competition was played in a straight knock-out format and was open to all members of the NIFL Premiership and both divisions of the NIFL Championship. The top 16 ranked clubs from last season received byes into the second round, which included the 12 members of the 2013–14 NIFL Premiership and the top four ranked clubs from the 2013–14 NIFL Championship. Of the remaining 25 Championship clubs, 18 of them entered the competition in the first round, with the other seven given byes into the second round. Replays were not used in the competition, with all matches using extra time and penalties to determine the winner if necessary.

Round Draw date First match date Fixtures Clubs
First round 24 July 2014 12 August 2014 9 41 → 32
Second round 13 August 2014 25 August 2014 16 32 → 16
Third round 30 August 2014 7 October 2014 8 16 → 8
Quarter-finals 11 October 2014 11 November 2014 4 8 → 4
Semi-finals 15 November 2014 16 December 2014 2 4 → 2
Final N/A 24 January 2015 1 2 → 1

Changes from 2013–14[edit]

Killymoon Rangers were relegated from the NIFL Championship at the end of the previous season, and were replaced in the competition by Dollingstown, who will make their League Cup debut this season following their promotion to the Championship for the first time. The number of competing clubs in the League Cup fell by one to 41 this season following Chimney Corner's resignation from the Championship. In July 2014, the club announced that they would be resigning to join the Ballymena & Provincial League for the 2014–15 season.[4] As a result, the first round of the competition was adjusted to contain nine matches and seven byes, instead of the usual ten matches and six byes to make up the requisite number of 32 clubs in the second round.

First round[edit]

The draw for the first round was made randomly and included 25 of the 29 NIFL Championship clubs, with the top four ranked clubs from the 2013–14 NIFL Championship not entering until the second round. 7 of the 25 Championship clubs received a bye into the second round, leaving the remaining 18 Championship clubs in the first round to play a total of nine ties. The draw took place on 24 July 2014, with the matches being played on 12 August 2014. The seven clubs to receive byes were: Ballymoney United, Dollingstown, Donegal Celtic, Harland & Wolff Welders, Larne, Lisburn Distillery and Wakehurst.[5]

Team 1  Score  Team 2
12 August 2014
Annagh United (3) 4–2
Report
Dergview (2)
Ballyclare Comrades (2) 1–0
Report
Limavady United (3)
Banbridge Town (3) 1–2 Newington YC (3)
Coagh United (3) 1–3 Carrick Rangers (2)
Glebe Rangers (3) 4–1
Report
Lurgan Celtic (3)
Loughgall (2) 8–2 Tobermore United (3)
Moyola Park (3) 1–1 (aet)
(5–4 p)
Sport & Leisure Swifts (3)
Portstewart (3) 5–0 Queen's University (3)
PSNI (2) 2–1 Armagh City (2)

Second round[edit]

The second round draw was completed on 13 August 2014, with the matches played on 25 August 2014. The draw was made up of the remaining 32 clubs, with a seeding system in place for this round. The 12 members of the 2013–14 NIFL Premiership entered this round as seeds, along with the top four ranked clubs from the 2013–14 NIFL Championship. The nine winners from the first round matches, and the seven clubs to receive byes into the second round were unseeded.[6]

Third round[edit]

The 16 winners from the second round matches entered this round. The third round draw was completed on 30 August 2014, with the matches played on 7 October 2014.[7] Six clubs from the second tier reached this stage, but there were no representatives from the third tier. A number of ties were switched after the original draw.

Quarter-finals[edit]

The 8 winners from the third round matches entered this round. The draw for the quarter-finals was made on 11 October 2014, with the matches played on 11 November 2014. Bangor was the lowest ranked club to reach the quarter-finals, as the only representative from outside the top flight.

Semi-finals[edit]

The semi-final draw took place on 15 November 2014, with the 4 quarter-final winners entering this round. Once again, Bangor was the lowest ranked club to reach this stage, as the only representative from outside the top flight. In reaching the semi-finals, Bangor became the first club from outside the top-flight to do so since Portadown in 2008–09.

Final[edit]

The final was played on 24 January 2015 at Windsor Park. Ballymena United reached the final for the first time, while Cliftonville were appearing in their third consecutive final and sixth final overall. Cliftonville completed a successful defence of the cup once again, lifting it for the third consecutive season and the fourth time overall.


24 January 2015
17:30 GMT
Ballymena United (1) 2 – 3 Cliftonville (1)
Cushley Goal 52'59' BBC Sport
NIFL
Gormley Goal 1'37'
M.Donnelly Goal 80'
Windsor Park, Belfast
Referee: Raymond Crangle

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "NI FOOTBALL LEAGUE CUP SPONSORSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT". nifootballleague.com. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "League Cup final: Cliftonville beat Crusaders in shoot-out". BBC Sport. 25 January 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "League Cup final: Ballymena Utd 2-3 Cliftonville". BBC Sport. 24 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Corner step down from Championship football". Antrim Times. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "WASP SOLUTIONS LEAGUE CUP - FIRST ROUND DRAW". NI Football League. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "WASP SOLUTIONS LEAGUE CUP - SECOND ROUND DRAW". NI Football League. 13 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "WASP SOLUTIONS LEAGUE CUP - THIRD ROUND DRAW". NI Football League. 30 August 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014.