Republic of Ireland football league system

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The Republic of Ireland's football league system comprises two tiers: the League of Ireland Premier Division and League of Ireland First Division[1] (which together form the League of Ireland).

Expansion[edit]

Initially, there was just a single tier in Irish senior football; the League of Ireland which consisted of eight clubs. However over time, as more and more clubs joined a second tier was added in 1985.[1] This split the league of Ireland into the Premier Division and First Division. In 2008, the decision was made to add a third tier to the system; the A Championship.[2] It was split into two groups, North and South.[3] Though the A Championship was not considered part of the League of Ireland, it was the only league from which promotion could be achieved to it. The A championship was disbanded as of the 2012 season which left clubs such Tralee Dynamo's, Carlow and G.U.S.T. with no league to play in and are expected to play junior football and the FAI U19 League.[2]

Structure[edit]

The League of Ireland is governed by the Football Association of Ireland.[1] Up until 2007 however, the League of Ireland was governed by the clubs themselves. All teams in the League of Ireland play in the FAI Cup and the League of Ireland Cup. The season runs from March to November since the introduction of summer soccer.[4]

Promotion/Relegation[edit]

Barry Murphy holding the First Division trophy aloft in Cobh, Cork.

The 12 teams of the Premier Division play each other 3 times,[5] while First Division teams play each other 4 times over the course of a season.[6] The team that finishes bottom of the Premier Division is automatically relegated to the First Division,[7] while the team that finishes top of the First Division is promoted.[8] The teams that finish 11th in the Premier Division then play off to decide who must face the winner of a play off between the teams who finish 2nd and 3rd in the First Division. The winner of this play off takes their place in the Premier Division the next season. The play off takes place over the course of two legs.[9]

Current system[edit]

Level

League(s)/Division(s)

1

League of Ireland Premier Division
(Airtricity Premier Division)
12 clubs

2

League of Ireland First Division
(Airtricity First Division)
7 clubs + 1 Reserve team

Previous system[edit]

Level

League(s)/Division(s)

1

League of Ireland Premier Division
(Airtricity Premier Division)
10 clubs

2

League of Ireland First Division
(Airtricity First Division)
12 clubs

3

A Championship Pool 1
(Newstalk A Championship Pool 1)
9 clubs including reserve sides

A Championship Pool 2
(Newstalk A Championship Pool 2)
9 clubs including reserve sides

Other Leagues[edit]

Republic of Ireland junior football league systems, The next highest levels of football in Ireland are the Leinster Senior League, Munster Senior League and Ulster Senior League. Teams from these leagues often compete against League of Ireland sides in the FAI Cup[10][11] and the League of Ireland Cup.[12][13] Many former League of Ireland clubs have reverted to or joined the Leinster Senior League since leaving senior football.[14]

If all the Senior, Intermediate and Junior leagues of the Republic of Ireland are put together, regardless of promotion or relegation, the pyramid looks like this:

  • Levels 1-2 are Senior grades.
  • Levels 3-6 are Intermediate grades.
  • All levels lower than 6 are Junior grades.

Level

League(s)/Division(s)

1

League of Ireland Premier Division
(Airtricity Premier Division)
12 clubs

2

League of Ireland First Division
(Airtricity First Division)
7 clubs + 1 Reserve team

Connacht

Leinster

Munster

Ulster

3

No League at this Level

14 clubs - 2 relegations

(Beamish Stout Munster Senior League Senior Premier Division)
10 clubs - 2 relegations

(Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League Senior Division)
10 clubs

4

No League at this Level

14 clubs - 2 promotions, 2 relegations

(Beamish Stout Munster Senior League Senior 1st Division)
10 clubs - 2 promotions, 2 relegations

No League at this Level

5

No League at this Level

14 clubs - 2 promotions, 2 relegations

(Beamish Stout Munster Senior League Senior 2nd Division)
11 clubs - 2 promotions

No League at this Level

6

No League at this Level

14 clubs - 2 promotions, 2 relegations

No League at this Level

No League at this Level

7

(All divisions run in parallel)

(All divisions run in parallel)

  • Leinster Senior League Major
    12 clubs
  • Amateur Football League Premier Division
    8 clubs
  • Athletic Union League Senior
    13 clubs
  • Carlow & District Football League Premier Division
    10 clubs
  • Combined Counties Football League Senior Division
    10 clubs
  • Dundalk & District Junior League Premier Division
    7 clubs
  • Kildare & District Football League Senior Division
    10 clubs
  • Kilkenny & District Soccer League Premier Division
    9 clubs
  • Leinster Football League Development League
    15 clubs
  • Meath & District League Premier Division
    11 clubs
  • United Churches Football League Premier Division
    10 clubs
  • Wexford Football League Premier Division
    11 clubs
  • Wicklow & District Football League Premier Division
    10 clubs
  • Munster Senior League Junior Premier Division
    12 clubs
  • Clare District Soccer League Premier Division
    10 clubs
  • Cork Athletic Union League Premier League
    10 clubs
  • Kerry District League Premier A'
    11 clubs
  • Limerick Desmond League Premier
    10 clubs
  • Limerick District Soccer League Premier
    12 clubs
  • North Tipperary & District Soccer League Premier Division
    9 clubs
  • Tipperary Southern & District Football League Premier Division
    8 clubs
  • Waterford & District Junior Premier League
    10 clubs
  • West Cork League Premier Division
    10 clubs
  • West Waterford East Cork Junior League Premier Division
    10 clubs

(All divisions run in parallel)

8

(All divisions run in parallel)

(All divisions run in parallel)

  • Leinster Senior League Major 1
    10 clubs
  • Amateur Football League Division 1
    9 clubs
  • Athletic Union League Division 1/1A
    14/10 clubs
  • Combined Counties Football League Premier Division
    10 clubs
  • Carlow & District Football League Division 1
    9 clubs
  • Dundalk & District Junior League First Division
    10 clubs
  • Kildare & District Football League Premier Division
    10 clubs
  • Kilkenny & District Soccer League Division 1
    9 clubs
  • Leinster Football League Major Division
    8 clubs
  • Meath & District League Division 1
    11 clubs
  • United Churches Football League Division 1
    10 clubs
  • Wexford Football League Division 1
    12 clubs
  • Wicklow & District Football League Division 1
    9 clubs
  • Munster Senior League Junior First Division
    9 clubs
  • Clare District Soccer League First Division
    10 clubs
  • Cork Athletic Union League Premier A
    10 clubs
  • 'Kerry District League Premier B
    10 clubs
  • Limerick Desmond League Division 1
    10 clubs
  • Limerick District Soccer League Division 1A/B
    12/12 clubs
  • North Tipperary & District Soccer League Division 1
    9 clubs
  • Tipperary Southern & District Football League Division 1
    9 clubs
  • Waterford & District Junior 1A/B League
    9/10 clubs
  • West Cork League Division 1
    8 clubs
  • West Waterford East Cork Junior League First Division
    10 clubs

(All divisions run in parallel)

9

(All divisions run in parallel)

(All divisions run in parallel)

  • Leinster Senior League Premier
    12 clubs
  • Amateur Football League Division 2
    12 clubs
  • Athletic Union League Division 2
    10 clubs
  • Carlow & District Football League Division 2
    8 clubs
  • Combined Counties Football League Division 1
    10 clubs
  • Kildare & District Football League Division 1
    9 clubs
  • Kilkenny & District Soccer League Division 2
    10 clubs
  • Leinster Football League Division 1
    13 clubs
  • Meath & District League Division 2
    10 clubs
  • United Churches Football League Division 2
    9 clubs
  • Wexford Football League Division 2
    12 clubs
  • Wicklow & District Football League Division 2
    9 clubs
  • Munster Senior League Junior First A Division
    8 clubs
  • Clare District Soccer League Second Division
    10 clubs
  • Cork Athletic Union League League 1/1A
    10/9 clubs
  • Kerry District League Division 1A
    10 clubs
  • Limerick Desmond League Division 2
    10 clubs
  • Limerick District Soccer League Division 2A/B
    10/11 clubs
  • North Tipperary & District Soccer League Division 2
    9 clubs
  • Tipperary Southern & District Football League Division 2
    8 clubs
  • West Cork League Division 2
    9 clubs
  • Waterford & District Junior 2A/B League
    8/9 clubs
  • Donegal Junior League Division 2
    9 clubs

10

(All divisions run in parallel)

(All divisions run in parallel)

  • Leinster Senior League Premier 1
    14 clubs
  • Athletic Union League Division 3
    14 clubs
  • Carlow & District Football League Division 3
    10 clubs
  • Combined Counties Football League Division 2
    9 clubs
  • Kildare & District Football League Division 2
    8 clubs
  • Kilkenny & District Soccer League Division 3
    7 clubs
  • Meath & District League Division 3
    12 clubs
  • United Churches Football League Division 2A/B
    12/11 clubs
  • Wexford Football League Division 2A
    12 clubs
  • Wicklow & District Football League Division 3
    14 clubs
  • Clare District Soccer League Third Division
    11 clubs
  • Cork Athletic Union League League 2/2A
    10/10 clubs
  • Kerry District League Division 1B
    9 clubs
  • Limerick Desmond League Division 3
    5 clubs
  • Limerick District Soccer League Division 3A/B
    10/11 clubs
  • North Tipperary & District Soccer League Division 3
    11 clubs
  • Tipperary Southern & District Football League Division 3
    8 clubs
  • Waterford & District Junior 3 League
    15 clubs

No League at this Level

11

(All divisions run in parallel)

(All divisions run in parallel)

  • Leinster Senior League Division 2
    14 clubs
  • Combined Counties Football League Division 3A/B
    8/9 clubs
  • Kildare & District Football League Division 3
    9 clubs
  • Meath & District League Division 4
    11 clubs
  • United Churches Football League Division 3
    12 clubs
  • Wexford Football League Division 3
    12 clubs
  • Cork Athletic Union League League 3
    10 clubs
  • Kerry District League Division 2A
    10 clubs
  • Limerick Desmond League Division 4
    8 clubs
  • Limerick District Soccer League Division 4
    10 clubs
  • Tipperary Southern & District Football League Division 4
    8 clubs
  • Waterford & District Junior 4 League
    10 clubs

No League at this Level

12

(All divisions run in parallel)

  • Leinster Senior League Division 3
    14 clubs
  • Combined Counties Football League Division 4A/B
    10/10 clubs
  • Kildare & District Football League Division 4
    8 clubs
  • United Churches Football League Division 3A/B
    12/12 clubs
  • Wexford Football League Division 3A
    12 clubs

No League at this Level

13

No League at this Level

  • Wexford Football League Division 4
    12 clubs

No League at this Level

No League at this Level

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c League of Ireland (20 February 2009). "LOI Information". Retrieved 7 December 2009. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b League of Ireland (24 February 2009). "Newstalk A Championship". Retrieved 7 December 2009. [dead link]
  3. ^ League of Ireland (24 October 2009). "Newstalk A Championship Fixtures and Results". Retrieved 7 December 2009. [dead link]
  4. ^ RTÉ Sport (28 May 2001). "Summer soccer on the way". Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  5. ^ http://extratime.ie. "League of Ireland Premier Division". Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  6. ^ http://extratime.ie. "League of Ireland First Division". Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  7. ^ League of Ireland. "League of Ireland Premier Division 2009". Retrieved 7 December 2009. [dead link]
  8. ^ League of Ireland. "League of Ireland First Division 2009". Retrieved 7 December 2009. [dead link]&lt
  9. ^ Drogheda United F.C. (7 November 2009). "Relegation Tie Confirmed". Retrieved 7 December 2009. [dead link]
  10. ^ Football Association of Ireland (14 August 2009). "Crumlin United's FAI Ford Cup odyssey continues against Waterford". Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  11. ^ RTÉ Sport (14 September 2008). "Wayside Celtic 1-6 Bohemians". Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  12. ^ http://extratime.ie (14 April 2009). "EA Sports Cup 2009 - Kerry League v. Cork City". Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  13. ^ http://irishfootballonline.com (20 March 2007). "eircom League of Ireland Cup - 1st Round draw". Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  14. ^ St Francis F.C.. "Club History". Retrieved 7 December 2009. 

See also[edit]