A Championship

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A Championship
CountryRepublic of Ireland Ireland
Level on pyramid3
Promotion toLeague of Ireland First Division
Domestic cup(s)FAI Cup
League cup(s)A Championship Cup
A Championship Shield
League of Ireland Cup
Last championsDerry City A
Most championshipsUCD A (2)

The A Championship, also known as the Newstalk A Championship, was an association football league featuring League of Ireland reserve teams and emerging senior teams. It was a third level league in the Republic of Ireland football league system. It was formed in 2008 and disbanded following the 2011 season. Between 2009 and 2011 the league was sponsored by Newstalk. It was effectively absorbed into the League of Ireland U19 Division.[1][2][3]


The idea of forming a regionalised A Championship was first proposed in 2006 as part of plan to reorganise the League of Ireland as a four tier structure.[4][5] The A Championship eventually kicked off in 2008 and UCD A became the inaugural champions.[6][7] Despite not defending their title in 2009, UCD subsequently went on to become the A Championship's most successful team. They were champions again in 2010[2][8] and then runners-up in 2011.[3][9] Two other reserve teams, Shamrock Rovers A and Derry City A finished as champions in 2009 and 2011 respectively.[10][11][3][9]

When the A Championship was founded in 2008, thirteen of the sixteen inaugural members were the reserve teams of League of Ireland clubs. The other three teams were Mervue United, Salthill Devon and Tullamore Town.[7] Sporting Fingal were also expected to join the A Championship for the 2008 season. However when Kilkenny City withdrew from the First Division shortly before the season was due to start, Sporting Fingal were drafted in to replace them.[12] The 2009 season featured six non-reserve teams. After Mervue United gained promotion to the First Division, Salthill Devon and Tullamore Town were joined by Cobh Ramblers, Castlebar Celtic, F.C. Carlow and Tralee Dynamos. The latter three were all making their debut at senior national level. They were also the first clubs from their respective counties of Mayo, Carlow and Kerry to play at this level.[13][14][15] Castlebar Celtic and Tullamore Town both withdraw following the conclusion of the 2010 season but among their replacements were Fanad United. The non-reserve teams also represented the A Championship in the League of Ireland Cup and the FAI Cup.[16][17]

In 2009 at the League of Ireland clubs' annual convention, Dundalk called for the A Championship to be scrapped, arguing that it was putting an unwelcome financial burden on participating clubs. At the same convention Waterford United proposed that it should be optional rather than compulsory for senior sides to field a reserve team in the league. Drogheda United raised concerns about the "unacceptable level" of refereeing. According to a report in the Irish Independent one club, short of two players for an away match, paid two locals to make up their team while a number of fixtures were postponed because clubs di not have enough players.[18]

Following the conclusion of the 2011 season, the A Championship was absorbed into the League of Ireland U19 Division.[12] Cobh Ramblers and Tralee Dynamos both unsuccessfully applied to join the 2012 League of Ireland First Division.[19][20] Ramblers did however join the First Division in 2013 and Dynamos, together with Fanad United, joined the U19 Division.[21][22][23] In 2013 Shamrock Rovers entered their reserve team in the First Division.[24][25][26]


The A Championship format saw the members of the league split into two groups, divided roughly into southern and northern groups. The two groups used a traditional round-robin format. In 2008, 2009 and 2010, the two group winners played off in a final.[7][10] In 2011 the two group runners-up also qualified for the title play-off.[27] A promotion and relegation system operated between the League of Ireland Premier Division, the League of Ireland First Division and the A Championship. Reserve teams were ineligible for promotion but the highest placed non-reserve teams qualified for a promotion/relegation play-off against a First Division team providing they finished in the top three of their group. Mervue United in 2008 and Salthill Devon in 2009 were both promoted to the First Division.[7] In contrast Cobh Ramblers were relegated directly from the 2008 Premier Division to the 2009 A Championship after they failed to obtain a First Division license.[13][10]

List of finals[edit]

Season Winner Results Runners-up Venue
2008 UCD A 2–1 [6] Bohemians A UCD Bowl
2009 Shamrock Rovers A 1–0 [11] Salthill Devon Drom Soccer Park
2010 UCD A 2–1 [2][8] Bohemians A UCD Bowl
2011 Derry City A 3–2 [3][9] UCD A Brandywell Stadium

Related competitions[edit]

A Championship Shield[edit]

Season Winner Result Runner-up Venue
2008 Cork City A[28] 3–2 Bohemians A Buckley Park[29]

A Championship Cup[edit]

Season Winner Result Runner-up Venue
2010 Sporting Fingal A 3–2 Bohemians A Dalymount Park


Team Home town/suburb Ground Seasons
Bohemians A Phibsborough AUL Complex
Dalymount Park
Bray Wanderers A Bray Jackson Park 2008–11
F.C. Carlow County Carlow The Valley
The Meadows
Castlebar Celtic Castlebar Celtic Park 2009–10
Cobh Ramblers[note 1] Cobh St Colman's Park 2008–11
Cork City A Cork Turner's Cross 2008–09
Derry City A Derry Brandywell Stadium 2008–09
Drogheda United A Drogheda United Park 2008–11
Dundalk A Dundalk Oriel Park 2009–11
Fanad United Fanad Tragh-a-Lough 2011
Finn Harps A Ballybofey Finn Park 2008–11
Galway United A Galway Athenry
Castle Park
Limerick A[note 2] Limerick Jackman Park
Riverside Park
Aisling-Annacotty Grounds
Mervue United Galway Fahy's Field 2008
St Patrick's Athletic A Inchicore Richmond Park 2008–11
Salthill Devon Salthill Drom Soccer Park 2008–09
Shamrock Rovers A Drumcondra
Tolka Park
Tallaght Stadium
Shelbourne A Drumcondra Tolka Park 2010
Sligo Rovers A Sligo Showgrounds
Sligo IT Grounds
Sporting Fingal A Fingal ALSAA Sports Complex 2009–10
Tralee Dynamos Tralee Cahermoneen 2009–11
Tullamore Town Tullamore Leah Victoria Park 2008–10
UCD A Belfield UCD Bowl 2008


  1. ^ Cobh Ramblers fielded their reserve team in the 2008 season and their first team during the latter three seasons.
  2. ^ Limerick A played as Limerick 37 A during the 2008 season.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Newstalk new sponsors". www.extratime.ie. 22 January 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Graham Rusk double gives UCD Newstalk A Championship title". www.sseairtricityleague.ie. 1 November 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d "Newstalk A Championship Final: Derry City 3 UCD 2". www.sseairtricityleague.ie. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Soccer heading in right direction". www.independent.ie. 15 June 2006. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  5. ^ Ahern, Neil (1 June 2010). "All clubs back FAI's league role". www.independent.ie. Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  6. ^ a b "UCD claim A Championship title". www.ucd.ie. 12 November 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d "Ireland 2008". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  8. ^ a b "U.C.D v Bohemians - Newstalk A Championship Final Photos". www.sportsfile.com. 1 November 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  9. ^ a b c "Derry City v UCD - 2011 Newstalk A Championship Final Photos". www.sportsfile.com. 16 September 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  10. ^ a b c "Ireland 2009". www.rsssf.com. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Hoops claim Newstalk A Championship title". www.fai.ie. 31 October 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  12. ^ a b "What Happens Teams That Enter The League Of Ireland First Division?". www.balls.ie. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  13. ^ a b "April kick-off for Newstalk A Championship". rte.ie. Archived from the original on 8 April 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  14. ^ "Newstalk A Championship Spotlight - Castlebar Celtic". www.extratime.ie. 22 April 2009. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  15. ^ "Tralee Dynamos Football Club". traleedynamos.com. Archived from the original on 12 March 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  16. ^ "Ireland 2010". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  17. ^ "Ireland 2011". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  18. ^ "FAI reject change to league format". www.independent.ie. 3 December 2009.
  19. ^ "Ireland 2012". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  20. ^ "Dynamos face stiff opposition for league berth". kerryman.ie. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  21. ^ "Ireland 2013". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  22. ^ "League of Ireland Under 19 table". traleedynamos.com/wordpress. 6 March 2012. Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  23. ^ "Divisional Formations - 2012/13". loi19.com. Archived from the original on 18 October 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  24. ^ "FAI allow Shamrock Rovers to field second team in First Division". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  25. ^ "The Hoops will field a second team in the Airtricity First Division following the withdrawal of Mervue United and Salthill Devon". Goal.com. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  26. ^ "Shamrock Rovers to field team in First Division". RTÉ.ie. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  27. ^ "Summary A Championship 2011". us.soccerway.com. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  28. ^ "Cork City Football Club Honours List". www.corkcityfc.ie. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  29. ^ "Results". www.irishexaminer.com. 2 June 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2016.