League of Ireland Premier Division

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Main article: League of Ireland
League of Ireland Premier Division
Country  Ireland
Other club(s) from Northern Ireland
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Founded 1985
Number of teams 12
Levels on pyramid 1
Relegation to League of Ireland First Division
Domestic cup(s) FAI Cup
League cup(s) League of Ireland Cup
International cup(s) UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
Current champions St Patrick's Athletic
Most championships Shelbourne (6)
TV partners RTÉ 2
Setanta Sports
Website AirtricityLeague.ie
2014 League of Ireland

The League of Ireland Premier Division (Irish: Príomhroinn Sraith na hÉireann) is the top tier of the Republic of Ireland's national football league, the League of Ireland. Contested by 12 clubs, it operates a system of promotion and relegation with the First Division. Seasons run from March to October, with teams playing 33 matches. Most games are played on Fridays, with a few games held on Saturdays and Sundays. It was known as the Eircom Premier League from 2000 to 2008. It is currently sponsored by SSE Airtricity and therefore officially known as the SSE Airtricity Premier League.

The division was formed as the League of Ireland Premier Division in 1985 as a result of the decision to split the League of Ireland into two divisions, which also created the League of Ireland First Division. The league is ranked 36th in the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the last five years, ahead of Lithuania's A Lyga and behind Moldova's National Division. In 2009, the FAI rejected proposals from clubs to remove the first division and restore the League of Ireland to its original structure.[1]

Since 1921, a total of 19 clubs have been crowned champions of the Irish football league system. The current champions are St Patrick's Athletic, who won the title in the 2013 League of Ireland season.

Competition Format[edit]


There are 12 clubs in the Premier Division. During the course of a season (from March to October) each club plays the others three times, once or twice at their home stadium and once or twice at that of their opponents, for a total of 33 games. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference and then goals scored. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned champion. If points are equal, the goal difference and then goals scored determine the winner. If still equal, teams are deemed to occupy the same position. If there is a tie for the championship, for relegation, or for qualification to other competitions, a play-off match at a neutral venue decides rank. The team that finishes last gets relegated to the First Division automatically and the second lowest placed teams participate in a 2-legged play-off against the second placed team of the First Division with the loser being relegated to the First Division and the winner being promoted to the Premier Division.


The trophy

The current League of Ireland trophy was unveiled on October 31, 2007 by the Football Association of Ireland. It stands at 91 cm (36 inches) tall with a circumference of 83 cm (33 inches). It is a Sterling Silver trophy consisting of silver and a mass of other metals including copper. The design of the trophy consists of a silver football at the top, which is encompassed by the cup itself. Drogheda United were the first team to receive the newly created trophy on November 2, 2007.


The Premier Division has been sponsored the early 1990s. The sponsor has been able to determine the league's sponsorship name. There have been three sponsors since the league's formation.

  • 1990's: Bord Gáis (Bord Gáis League Premier Division)
  • 2000-2008: Eircom (Eircom League Premier Division)
  • 2010–present: SSE Airtricity (Airtricity League Premier Division)

The league had no title sponsor in 2009, but had a number of secondary sponsors including Newstalk and Electronic Arts. League of Ireland's three year sponsorship deal with Airtricity will end in 2012. As well as sponsorship for the league itself, the Premier Division has a number of official partners and suppliers. The official ball supplier for the league is Umbro. The official drink for the league is Lucozade. The official radio and newspaper partners are Newstalk and Irish Daily Star.


In (2012) RTÉ 2 increased its coverage of the league and FAI cup from 19 games (2011) to 24 games (2012) as well a having its weekly show every Monday (MNS) to show the highlights of the weeks games.RTÉ 2 will also provide HD coverage of the final as well as select league games.

Also Setanta Sports show some league games during the Summer and towards the league climax and also have the Setanta Sports Cup Which starts in February and ends in May (final).These games are available in HD on UPC.

In 2014 RTÉ 2 is once again the home of the SSE Airtricity league.[2]


The following 12 clubs are competing in the Premier Division during the 2014 season.

in 2013
First season in
top division
Number of seasons
in the Premier Division
First season of
current spell in
top division
Top division
Last top division title
Athlone Towna 1st in the First Division 1922–23 8 2014 2 1982–83
Bohemiansa,b,c 10th 1921–22 29 1921–22 11 2009
Bray Wanderers 11th 1986–87 18 2005 0
Cork Citya 6th 1984–85 27 2012 2 2005
Derry City 4th 1987–88 26 2011 2 1996–97
Dundalka 2nd 1926–27 20 2009 9 1994–95
Drogheda United 8th 1963–64 19 2002–03 1 2007
Limericka 7th 1937–38 9 2013 2 1979–80
Shamrock Roversa 5th 1922–23 28 2007 17 2011
Sligo Rovers 3rd 1934–35 19 2006 3 2012
St Patrick's Athletica,b 1st 1951–52 29 1951–52 8 2013
UCDa 9th 1979–80 19 2010 0

a: Founding member of the Premier Division
b: Never been relegated from Premier Division
c: One of the original 8 League of Ireland teams


For the 2014 season, Premier Division football is played in 12 stadia. Since the formation of the Premier Division, football grounds in Ireland have seen some improvements to capacity and facilities, with some clubs moving to new-build stadia, such as Shamrock Rovers, who in 2009 moved into Tallaght Stadium. The stadia for the 2014 season show disparity in capacity: Thomond Park, the home of Limerick has a capacity of 26,500, with Hunky Dorys Park, the home of Drogheda United, having a capacity of 2,000. The combined total capacity of the stadia for the Premier Division in the 2014 season is 89,049 with an average capacity of 7,421.

Stadium attendances have been low over the past few years, but some clubs such as Shamrock Rovers have experienced a rise in attendances due to their performance in European competitions. For the 2013 season, average attendances across the league clubs was 1,774 for Premier Division matches. This represents an increase from the average attendance recorded in the last few years.

Team Location Stadium Capacity
Athlone Town Athlone Athlone Town Stadium 5,000
Bohemians Dublin Dalymount Park 10,000
Bray Wanderers Bray Carlisle Grounds 7,000
Cork City Cork Turners Cross 7,485
Derry City Derry Brandywell Stadium 7,700
Drogheda United Drogheda Hunky Dorys Park 2,000
Dundalk Dundalk Oriel Park 4,500
Limerick Limerick Thomond Park 25,630
Shamrock Rovers Dublin Tallaght Stadium 6,000
Sligo Rovers Sligo The Showgrounds 4,500
St. Patrick's Athletic Dublin Richmond Park 5,340
UCD Dublin UCD Bowl 3,000


The league’s current longest reigning manager is Martin Russell, who has remained in his position at UCD, since January 2009. The most recent managerial appointment was Mick Cooke to Athlone Town, who previously served as manager of Drogheda United. 11 Irish managers have won the Premier Division, with the most recent being Liam Buckley of Saint Patrick's Athletic in 2013. 5 managers from outside the Republic of Ireland have won the Premier Division including 3 Northern Irish managers, Jim McLaughlin (Shamrock Rovers, Derry City and Shelbourne, 3 wins), Felix Healy (Derry City, 1 win), Michael O'Neill (Shamrock Rovers, 2 wins) and 2 English managers, Pat Dolan (Saint Patrick’s Athletic, 1 win) and Ian Baraclough (Sligo Rovers, 1 win). No manager from outside the British Isles has won the Premier Division. Currently 9 of the managers are from Republic of Ireland, 1 from England, 1 from Scotland and 1 from the United States of America.

The current managers in the Premier Division are:

Former League of Ireland manager Pat Fenlon is the winner of 5 League of Ireland trophies as manager with Shelbourne and Bohemians.
Name Club Appointed
Republic of Ireland Liam Buckley St Patrick's Athletic

2 December 2011

Republic of Ireland Pat Fenlon Shamrock Rovers 6 August 2014
Republic of Ireland Stephen Kenny Dundalk

22 November 2012

Scotland Stuart Taylor Limerick 11 January 2013
Republic of Ireland Owen Heary Bohemians

19 September 2013

Republic of Ireland John Caulfield Cork City 5 November 2013
Republic of Ireland Alan Mathews Bray Wanderers 10 January 2014
Republic of Ireland Aaron Callaghan UCD 1 March 2014
Republic of Ireland Keith Long Athlone Town 29 April 2014
Republic of Ireland Peter Hutton Derry City

13 May 2014

England John Coleman Sligo Rovers 21 June 2014
Republic of Ireland Darius Kierans Drogheda United 21 June 2014


Season Champions Runners-up Third Place Top goalscorer Player of the Year Teams Relegated UEFA coefficient
1921–85 League of Ireland[A] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1985-86 Shamrock Rovers
(13th title)
Galway United Dundalk Republic of Ireland Tommy Gaynor (Limerick F.C.) (15) Republic of Ireland Paul Doolin (Shamrock Rovers) Shelbourne
24 (6.332) Disc Plain yellow dark.svg
1986-87 Shamrock Rovers
(14th title)
Dundalk Bohemians Republic of Ireland Mick Byrne (Shamrock Rovers) (12) Republic of Ireland Mick Byrne (Shamrock Rovers) Home Farm
Athlone Town
29 (5.665) RedDownArrow.svg −5
1987-88 Dundalk
(7th title)
St. Patrick's Athletic Bohemians Northern Ireland Jonathan Speak (Derry City) (24) Republic of Ireland Paddy Dillon (St. Patrick's Athletic) Bray Wanderers
Sligo Rovers
30 (3.665) RedDownArrow.svg −1
1988-89 Derry City
(1st title)
Dundalk Limerick City Northern Ireland Billy Hamilton (Limerick F.C.) (21) Republic of Ireland Paul Doolin (Derry City) Cobh Ramblers
Waterford United
31 (2.665) RedDownArrow.svg −1
1989-90 St. Patrick's Athletic
(4th title)
Derry City Dundalk Republic of Ireland Mark Ennis (St. Patrick's Athletic) (19) Republic of Ireland Mark Ennis (St. Patrick's Athletic) Drogheda United
31 (2.998) Disc Plain yellow dark.svg
1990-91 Dundalk
(8th title)
Cork City St. Patrick's Athletic Republic of Ireland Peter Hanrahan (Dundalk) (18) Republic of Ireland Pat Morley (Cork City) Waterford United
Limerick City
32 (1.332) RedDownArrow.svg −1
1991-92 Shelbourne
(8th title)
Derry City Cork City United States John Caulfield (Cork City) (16) Republic of Ireland Pat Fenlon (Bohemians) Athlone Town
Galway United
31 (1.999) Green-Up-Arrow.svg +1
1992-93 Cork City
(2nd title)
Bohemians Shelbourne Republic of Ireland Pat Morley (Cork City) (20) Republic of Ireland Donal O'Brien (Derry City) Waterford United
Sligo Rovers
Bray Wanderers
31 (2.665) Disc Plain yellow dark.svg
1993-94 Shamrock Rovers
(15th title)
Cork City Galway United Republic of Ireland Stephen Geoghegan (Shamrock Rovers) (23) Republic of Ireland Stephen Geoghegan (Shamrock Rovers) Limerick F.C.
Drogheda United
32 (2.665) RedDownArrow.svg −1
1994-95 Dundalk
(9th title)
Derry City Shelbourne United States John Caulfield (Cork City) (16) Northern Ireland Liam Coyle (Derry City) Cobh Ramblers
Monaghan United
33 (3.665) RedDownArrow.svg −1
1995-96 St. Patrick's Athletic
(5th title)
Bohemians Sligo Rovers Republic of Ireland Stephen Geoghegan (Shelbourne) (19) Republic of Ireland Eddie Gormley (St. Patrick's Athletic) Athlone Town
Drogheda United
Galway United
35 (4.665) RedDownArrow.svg −2
1996-97 Derry City
(2nd title)
Bohemians Shelbourne Republic of Ireland Tony Cousins (Shamrock Rovers) (16)
Republic of Ireland Stephen Geoghegan (Shelbourne) (16)
Republic of Ireland Peter Hutton (Derry City) Bray Wanderers
Home Farm Everton
37 (4.331) RedDownArrow.svg −2
1997-98 St. Patrick's Athletic
(6th title)
Shelbourne Cork City Republic of Ireland Stephen Geoghegan (Shelbourne) (17) Republic of Ireland Pat Scully (Shelbourne) Kilkenny City
Drogheda United
43 (4.331) RedDownArrow.svg −6
1998-99 St. Patrick's Athletic
(7th title)
Cork City Shelbourne Republic of Ireland Trevor Molloy (St. Patrick's Athletic) (15) Republic of Ireland Paul Osam (St. Patrick's Athletic) Bray Wanderers
44 (3.998) RedDownArrow.svg −1
1999-00 Shelbourne
(9th title)
Cork City Bohemians Republic of Ireland Pat Morley (Cork City) (20) Republic of Ireland Pat Fenlon (Shelbourne) Waterford United
Sligo Rovers
Drogheda United
41 (1.832) Green-Up-Arrow.svg +3
2000-01 Bohemians
(8th title)
Shelbourne Cork City Republic of Ireland Glen Crowe (Bohemians) (25) Republic of Ireland Glen Crowe (Bohemians) Finn Harps
Kilkenny City
41 (1.665) Disc Plain yellow dark.svg
2001-02 Shelbourne
(10th title)
Shamrock Rovers St. Patrick's Athletic Republic of Ireland Glen Crowe (Bohemians) (21) Republic of Ireland Owen Heary (Shelbourne) Dundalk
Galway United
Monaghan United
38 (2.998) Green-Up-Arrow.svg +3
2002-03 Bohemians
(9th title)
Shelbourne Shamrock Rovers Republic of Ireland Glen Crowe (Bohemians) (18) Republic of Ireland Glen Crowe (Bohemians) Bray Wanderers 37 (3.331) Green-Up-Arrow.svg +1
2003 Shelbourne
(11th title)
Bohemians Cork City Republic of Ireland Jason Byrne (Shelbourne) (21) Republic of Ireland Jason Byrne (Shelbourne) UCD 39 (3.331) RedDownArrow.svg −2
2004 Shelbourne
(12th title)
Cork City Bohemians Republic of Ireland Jason Byrne (Shelbourne) (25) Republic of Ireland Jason Byrne (Shelbourne) Dublin City 40 (3.164) RedDownArrow.svg −1
2005 Cork City
(2nd title)
Derry City Shelbourne Republic of Ireland Jason Byrne (Shelbourne) (22) Republic of Ireland Mark Farren (Derry City) Shamrock Rovers
Finn Harps
38 (4.164) Green-Up-Arrow.svg +2
2006 Shelbourne
(13th title)
Derry City Drogheda United Republic of Ireland Jason Byrne (Shelbourne) (15) Cameroon Joseph Ndo (Shelbourne) Shelbournea 40 (4.331) RedDownArrow.svg −2
2007 Drogheda United
(1st title)
St Patrick's Athletic Bohemians Republic of Ireland David Mooney (Longford Town) (19) Republic of Ireland Brian Shelley (Drogheda United) Waterford United
Longford Town
35 (6.498) Green-Up-Arrow.svg +5
2008 Bohemians
(10th title)
St Patrick's Athletic Derry City Republic of Ireland Mark Farren (Derry City) (16) Republic of Ireland Keith Fahey (St. Patrick's Athletic) Finn Harps
Cobh Ramblers
35 (7.332) Disc Plain yellow dark.svg
2009 Bohemians
(11th title)
Shamrock Rovers Cork City Scotland Gary Twigg (Shamrock Rovers) (24) Scotland Gary Twigg (Shamrock Rovers) Cork City
Derry Cityb
30 (9.499) Green-Up-Arrow.svg +5
2010 Shamrock Rovers
(16th title)
Bohemians Sligo Rovers Scotland Gary Twigg (Shamrock Rovers) (20) Republic of Ireland Richie Ryan (Sligo Rovers) Sporting Fingalc 29 (9.541) Green-Up-Arrow.svg +1
2011 Shamrock Rovers
(17th title)
Sligo Rovers Derry City Libya Éamon Zayed (Derry City) (22) Libya Éamon Zayed (Derry City) Galway United 31 (8.708) RedDownArrow.svg −2
2012 Sligo Rovers
(3rd title)
Drogheda United St Patrick's Athletic Scotland Gary Twigg (Shamrock Rovers) (22) Republic of Ireland Mark Quigley (Sligo Rovers) Monaghan Unitedd 33 (7.375) RedDownArrow.svg -2
2013 St. Patrick's Athletic
(8th title)
Dundalk Sligo Rovers Northern Ireland Rory Patterson (Derry City) (18) Republic of Ireland Killian Brennan (St Patrick's Athletic) Shelbourne 36 (5.125) RedDownArrow.svg -3

a: Relegated by the Independent Assessment Group due to financial problems
b: Both clubs were demoted due to financial problems
c: As per rules, Drogheda United were to be relegated. This did not occur due to the closure of Sporting Fingal
d: Withdrew during season, due to financial reasons

See also[edit]


A. ^ The League of Ireland was founded in 1921. The league split into 2 divisions in 1985, creating the League of Ireland Premier Division and the League of Ireland First Division. However, the winners of the Premier Division, having finished at the top of League of Ireland football, are considered to be League of Ireland Champions.[3][4]


  1. ^ Daniel McDonnell (2009-12-03). "FAI reject change to league format". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  2. ^ https://www.rte.ie/sport/soccer/irish/2014/0221/505893-rte-live/
  3. ^ McDonnell, Daniel (2010-01-21). "Bohs confident new boys will start season as they wait on FAI clearance". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Bohs pencil in Athlone friendly". eleven-a-side.com. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 

External links[edit]