Dundalk F.C.

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Dundalk FC
Full name Dundalk Football Club
Nickname(s) Dundalk
Founded September 1, 1903; 111 years ago (1903-09-01)
as Dundalk GNR
Ground Oriel Park,
County Louth
Ground Capacity 4,300
Manager Stephen Kenny
League League of Ireland
(Premier Division)
2014 1st
Website Club home page
Current season

Dundalk Football Club (Irish: Cumann Peile Dhún Dealgan) is a professional Irish football club based in Dundalk, County Louth. The club currently[when?] plays in the Premier Division of the League of Ireland and is the reigning champion. Founded in 1903, it is the second most successful team, in terms of trophies won, in the history of the League of Ireland. The traditional colours of the club are white jerseys with black shorts. Because of the white jerseys, the team has been nicknamed the Lilywhites. Home games are played in Oriel Park.


The first newspaper reports of organised football in Dundalk appeared in the Dundalk Democrat on 17 December 1892, when an article appeared about a match that had occurred nine days previously involving a club named Dundalk. The Dundalk team had beaten Institution 2nd XI 1–0. The sport gradually took a foothold in a developing town, which held strong ties to both the military and the railway infrastructure given its location between Dublin and Belfast, as well as links to local ports. Affiliated to the Leinster Football Association before the start of the 20th century, a team from Dundalk, commonly known as Rovers, took their place in the Leinster Senior League in 1900–01 for the first time. The club continued to exist (as the town’s most established club) until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

However, other clubs also began to make their presence felt in the locality. One in particular, the Great Northern Railway Association Club, otherwise known as the Dundalk GNR, founded in September 1903, spawned the modern-day Dundalk Football Club. The Dundalk GNR were located at the Athletic Grounds and competed in the Dundalk and District League from 1905 until 1914, although media coverage remained patchy. Sports coverage was re-instated in the local media in 1919, with the Dundalk and District League re-established in time to start a competition during the 1919–20 season. Included among the teams was a selection representing the Dundalk GNR. The club were also partaking in the Newry League at the time, but political change at a national level was to affect this. Following the formation of the Football Association of the Irish Free State (FAIFS; later to become the Football Association of Ireland or FAI) in Dublin to govern football in the Irish Free State the control of footballing matters in Northern Ireland was left to the Irish Football Association (IFA).

The Dundalk GNR was not involved in the fledgling Irish Free State Senior League (later to become the League of Ireland), which began at the start of the 1921–22 season. It involved only Dublin-based clubs, all of which had stepped up from the Leinster Senior League. This ultimately opened the way for the Dundalk GNR to move up to the Leinster Senior League. It was the only club from outside the capital to compete in the 1922–23 season. Its first game was played on 7 October 1922 against Inchicore United and ended in a 2–1 loss. Nevertheless, the club established itself in the top rank, and a third-place finish in the 1925–26 season paved the way for the club’s election to the ten-team Free State Senior League at the expense of Pioneers F.C., and ahead of Bendigo F.C. and Drumcondra; the two clubs that had headed the Dundalk GNR in their final season in the Leinster Senior League. The first game in the League of Ireland ended in a 2-1 loss to Fordsons on 21 August. Within four seasons, the club had moved from the Dundalk and District League, through the Leinster Senior League, and was ready to establish itself in the elite Irish Free State Senior League, which included Shelbourne, Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers. The club, still known as the Dundalk GNR, and continuing in the black and amber kit from their pre-First World War origins, travelled to Cork to face Fordsons in its opening match on 21 August 1926. The match ended in a 2–1 defeat.

The club was renamed Dundalk F.C. in 1930 and became the first provincial team to win the league title in 1932–33. The club has an unbroken membership of the League of Ireland, a record shared with only two other members from that time; Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers. The club moved to its current home venue, Oriel Park, in 1936. In the 1970s and 1980s, the club had an impressive record in European competition at home, being undefeated for five years, playing against top opposition in the form of PSV Eindhoven, Hajduk Split, Celtic, Porto and Tottenham Hotspur. With almost fifty trophy-wins, including nine league titles, one First Division title and having contested fourteen FAI Cup finals, the club has one of the most successful histories in League of Ireland football. Almost one hundred of the club's players have gained representative honours for Ireland and the League of Ireland.

Since 1999, and in conjunction with Irish League side Linfield of Belfast, the club has been engaged in a peace and reconciliation programme, known as the Dunfield Project, which through the medium of football is facilitating the coming together of young people from the Dundalk and Belfast communities. In 2002, the club won the FAI Cup for a ninth time. The club operated as a co-operative, with teams competing from school-boy level in Dublin-based leagues to girls' and ladies' teams, along with the first-team for a period until August 2006, when it was taken over by a local business man, Gerry Mathews. Dundalk celebrated its 2000th league game against Finn Harps on Thursday 8 March 2007 in Oriel Park to a crowd of 3,000 spectators.

A local rivalry is shared with Drogheda United, their Louth neighbours, who entered the League in 1963 as Drogheda FC and later became Drogheda United in 1975.

On 15 November 2008, Dundalk won promotion back to the Premier Division.

2006 promotion controversy[edit]

Despite the fact that Dundalk FC had won what they perceived to be, or believed should have been, the annual promotion/relegation play-off, and what would have been a promotion/relegation game in any other normal season, in November 2006, they were one of the teams omitted from the 2007 Premier Division and were, instead, chosen to play in the First Division. Dundalk, however, argued that it had a right to compete in the Premier Division following their play-off victory over Waterford United. "What was the point of the league taking our players and fans all the way down to Waterford if it counted for nothing?" questioned one official, while reports in the local and national press described the decision to exclude Dundalk from the Premier Division as "scandalous" and "an injustice".[1][2] However, as far as the FAI and the Independent Assessment Group (IAG) were concerned Dundalk's protests had no real weight, their contention was that the 2006 play-offs had never been billed as a promotion/relegation fixture, but rather as a means to determine which teams were to be positioned in 12th and 13th place within the overall standings for the 2006 season. As such, the play-offs actually contributed points to Dundalk's final assessment tally, though sadly for Dundalk and its fans, just not enough. A double blow for Dundalk came when the IAG's report placed Galway United, who finished the season in 3rd place behind Dundalk, in 12th position; thus Galway were selected for the new Premier Division ahead of Dundalk. This infuriated many Dundalk supporters and proved to be the final straw for one particularly disgruntled fan. On 13 December 2006, Mark Kavanagh, known locally as "Maxi", dismayed by the Independent Assessment Group's decision, entered the former headquarters of the FAI at Merrion Square, doused the reception area with petrol and threatened to set it alight. After a tense hour-long stand-off, the situation ended peacefully when the Dundalk manager, John Gill, spoke with Kavanagh and persuaded him to end his protest.[3] In late December 2006, Dundalk's CEO, Gerry Matthews, met with the FAI and members of IAG committee. He acknowledged that they had a "very hard job to do and did it with the utmost integrity and respect for Dundalk". Matthews expressed his satisfaction with the process and said that he and the club were "happy to move on".[4]

Colours and Crest[edit]

The Dundalk GNR colours worn from 1903 until 1927.
The Dundalk GNR colours adopted in 1927.
The coat of arms of the town of Dundalk.
Dundalk F.C. Vintage Crest.
Dundalk F.C. 1998-2009 Crest.

Dundalk's traditional colours are white jerseys (from which they get their nickname, the Lillywhites) and black shorts. However, this has not always been the case. Whilst playing under the auspices of the Great Northern Railway the club played in a black and amber-striped kit until 1927 when the team adopted a strip of white shirts, with blue shield (Coat of Arms of Dundalk) and navy blue shorts.[5] The GNR moniker was dropped two seasons later and the team was renamed Dundalk F.C. in 1930.

The club's crest features three mythical martlets. The design is an adaptation of the heraldic symbols of Dundalk town's coat of arms, which also depict red marlets on a predominantly white shield.[6] The original blue shield depicting three 'crows', as they were referred to in the local press, was adopted when the club changed its colours in 1927.

Home grounds[edit]

The club played at the Athletic Grounds from 1903 until 1936, when it adopted Oriel Park as its home ground, where it has remained playing to date. Oriel Park, located on the Carrick Road, faces Dundalk railway station and the Great Northern Brewery. The ground's attendance record is 21,000, set in 1979 on the occasion of the club’s European Champion Clubs' Cup second round tie against Celtic. The stadium, which now has a 1,600-seater stand, has hosted many memorable games including visits from Nottingham Forest, Liverpool, Ajax and Red Star.

In February 2005, the club announced a major programme for a complete revamp of Oriel Park, which included the conversion of the pitch to an all-weather surface. Dundalk is the first Irish club to make such a conversion and the first club in the world to use the licensed FIFA 2-star surface for competitive league games. It is the worst rated playing surface in Ireland's two leagues.[7] Further upgrades have taken place to the main stand, changing-areas and bar facilities. The ultimate aim is to restore the club’s standing amongst the premier clubs in Ireland. At the start of the 2007 season, fans of the club were delighted to see the developmental work done on the stadium over the close-season before the season's kick-off. A new roof was installed on the main stand and covered terracing was introduced along the opposite side of the pitch.

Images from Oriel Park[edit]


Club records[edit]

European record[edit]

Dundalk FC has had a chequered but nonetheless respectable history in European football. It was one of the first Irish football teams to play in Europe and the very first Irish side to go three rounds in the European Cup. For almost fifty years, Dundalk has played against some of the greatest clubs in Europe, including Liverpool, Celtic, Rangers, FC Porto, Tottenham Hotspur, PSV Eindhoven and AFC Ajax. In 2010, Dundalk returned to European competition for the first time since 2002, winning the first qualifying round UEFA Europa League tie. A campaign called BE-TOP (Bring Europe to Oriel Park) was launched to bring the ground up to UEFA standard. The campaign involved securing advance ticket bookings from supporters to upgrade Oriel; the target was 1,000 advance bookings. The number of bookings by the deadline was 1,200 and on 13 April 2010, it was confirmed that Oriel Park would be upgraded and would host its first European game since 1991.[8] Notable matches and results include:

  • 1–1 draw (A) and 2–1 win (H) against DOS Utrecht in Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, 1968
  • 10–0 defeat (A) and 4–0 defeat (H) against Liverpool, UEFA Cup then record aggregate defeat (14–0) for LoI side in Europe
  • 1–1 draw (H) and 2–0 win (Match played in Haarlem, Netherlands, after rioting between rival factions in Dundalk) against Linfield FC in the preliminary round of the European Cup, 1979
  • 3–2 defeat (A) and 0–0 draw (H) against Celtic in the 2nd round of the European Cup, 1979
  • 1–1 draw (H) and 1–0 defeat (A) against Tottenham Hotspur in the European Cup Winners Cup, 1981
Competition Matches W D L GF GA
UEFA Champions League 18 3 4 11 13 41
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 8 2 1 5 7 14
UEFA Cup/Europa League 22 5 3 14 16 60

Appearance records[edit]

Goalscoring records[edit]


  • Highest League victory:
    • 9–0 v. Jacobs, 1932 (home)
    • 9–0 v. Shelbourne, 1980 (home)
  • Worst League Defeat:
    • 1–9 v. Limerick, 1944 (away)
  • Best defensive League season:
    • 13 goals conceded in 30 games (0.43 per game), 1979–80
  • Best offensive League season:
    • 64 goals scored in 22 games (2.91 per game), 1930–31
  • Record League sequences:
    • Consecutive wins: 10, 1967–68
    • Consecutive losses: 11, 1998–99 (last eight games) and 1999–00 (first three games)
    • Consecutive draws: 10, 2005
    • Longest undefeated run: 22 games, 1990–91 (16 games) through 1991–92 (six games)
    • Longest without a win: 19 games, 2002–03 (10 games) through 2003 (nine games)


Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Republic of Ireland GK Gary Rogers
2 Republic of Ireland DF Seán Gannon
3 Republic of Ireland DF Brian Gartland
4 Republic of Ireland DF Andy Boyle (vice-captain)
5 Republic of Ireland MF Chris Shields
6 Republic of Ireland MF Stephen O'Donnell (captain)
7 Republic of Ireland MF Daryl Horgan
8 Republic of Ireland MF John Mountney
9 Republic of Ireland FW David McMillan
10 Republic of Ireland MF Ronan Finn
11 Republic of Ireland FW Kurtis Byrne
No. Position Player
12 Republic of Ireland DF Shane Grimes
14 Republic of Ireland DF Dane Massey
15 Republic of Ireland DF Paddy Barrett
17 Republic of Ireland MF Richie Towell
19 Republic of Ireland MF Jake Kelly
21 Northern Ireland MF Darren Meenan
22 Italy GK Gabriel Sava
24 Republic of Ireland MF George Poynton
25 Republic of Ireland DF Paul Finnegan
26 Republic of Ireland FW Michael O'Connor

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Republic of Ireland MF Conor McDonald (at Warrenpoint Town until 31 May 2015)


Technical staff[edit]

Position Staff
Manager Republic of Ireland Stephen Kenny
Assistant manager Republic of Ireland Gerry Spain
Assistant coach Republic of Ireland Vinny Perth
Goalkeeping coach Wales Steve Williams
U 19s Manager Republic of Ireland Martin Connolly
U 18s Manager Northern Ireland Liam Burns
Strength & Conditioning coach Republic of Ireland Graham Byrne
Masseur Republic of Ireland Adam Kelly
Doctor India Dr. Samir
Physio Republic of Ireland Sam Rice
Physio Republic of Ireland Fearghal Kerin

Club officials[edit]

Name Role
Republic of Ireland Jim Reilly Club President
Republic of Ireland Ciarán Bond Chairman
Republic of Ireland Greg Molloy General Manager
Republic of Ireland Des Donleavy FAI Council Member

Facility management[edit]

Name Role
Republic of Ireland Regina O'Hare Event Controller
Republic of Ireland Des Weir & Jeanette Hardy Ticket Office Management
Republic of Ireland Willie McKeever, Domenic Rafferty & David Caldwell Ground Management
Republic of Ireland Michael Duffy Stadium Announcer

Notable former players and managers[edit]


see also Category:Dundalk F.C. players


see also Category:Dundalk F.C. managers

Shirt sponsors and kit suppliers[edit]

Shirt sponsors[edit]

Years Sponsor
1980–84 National Aluminium
1984–87 Symingtons (Eros Sportswear)
1987–02 Harp Lager
2002–03 Dundalk Cabs
2004 Oscars
2004 Carnbeg
2005 Park Inn
2006–09 IJM
2009 ShopDundalk
2010–11 Fastfix
2012–present Fyffes

Kit suppliers[edit]

Years Kit supplier
198X Eros Sportswear
1988–9X Union Sport
199X–04 O'Neills
2005 Erreà
2006 Diadora
2007– Umbro


  1. ^ "Dundalk Exclusion is Scandalous". Retrieved on 24 September 2007.
  2. ^ "FAI Bring Injustice to a New Level". Retrieved on 24 September 2007.
  3. ^ "Fan in FAI Protest". Retrieved on 24 September 2007.
  4. ^ "Dundalk Happy to Move On". Retrieved on 24 September 2007.
  5. ^ Tempests Annual, 1927, quoted in Jim Murphy's History of Dundalk: The First 100 Years, Dundalk: Dundalgan Press, 2003, page 54.
  6. ^ Dundalk, International Civic Heraldry, 1996. Retrieved on 6 June 2007.
  7. ^ http://www.pfai.ie/news/308-pitch-rating-table-july
  8. ^ Dundalk FC :: European Nights

External links[edit]