Sporting Fingal F.C.
|Full name||Sporting Fingal Football Club|
Fingal County Council
|League||League of Ireland Premier Division
League of Ireland First Division
|Website||Club home page|
Sporting Fingal Football Club (Irish: Cumann Peile Fine Gall Spórtúil) was an Irish association football club based in Fingal. Between 2008 and 2010, the club played three seasons in the League of Ireland. During their first two seasons they played in the First Division before winning promotion to the Premier Division. During the 2009 and 2010 seasons, the club also entered a team in the A Championship. During their short stay in the League of Ireland, Sporting Fingal were relatively successful. As well as gaining promotion to the Premier Division, they also won both the 2009 FAI Cup and the 2010 A Championship Cup and qualified for the UEFA Europa League on two occasions. In addition to fielding teams in the League of Ireland, Sporting Fingal also organised Powerchair Football, Special Olympics football and futsal teams. Their futsal team won the 2010 FAI Futsal Cup and qualified for the 2010–11 UEFA Futsal Cup.
Community football club
Sporting Fingal F.C. was established in 2007 as a joint initiative involving both Fingal County Council and the property developer Gerry Gannon. John O'Brien, the senior executive officer with the council, proposed forming a community football club and Gannon became involved after the council advertised for investors. Gannon would become the club's majority shareholder while the council maintained a 26% stake. Liam Buckley was also involved in forming the club and subsequently served as both the director of football and club manager.  Sporting Fingal F.C. was set up as a limited company on 19 November 2007  and the club was official launched in February 2008 at an event attended by among others, Johnny Giles and Brian Lenihan.  At its launch the club also announced its ambitions to set up an academy and build its own stadium. The club also announced details about other backers and sponsors which included Keelings Group Ltd, a Fingal-based fruit and vegetable supplier, Anglo Irish Bank and Dublin Airport Authority.  In addition to fielding teams in the League of Ireland, Sporting Fingal also organised Powerchair Football,  Special Olympics football  and futsal teams. In 2009 Sporting Fingal EID joined the Emerald Futsal League  and in 2010 won the FAI Futsal Cup. Sporting Fingal won the cup after defeating Blue Magic 4–2 in the final.  This led to Sporting representing the Republic of Ireland in the 2010–11 UEFA Futsal Cup.
League of Ireland
Sporting Fingal successfully applied to join the League of Ireland and were initially expected to join the A Championship. However following the demise of Kilkenny City, the club were subsequently invited to join the First Division.  Sporting Fingal made their League of Ireland debut on 8 March 2008 with a 5–1 defeat against Longford Town at Flancare Park. Peter Hynes scored Sporting's first goal in a competitive game.  Despite their poor start, Sporting eventually finished fourth in the 2008 First Division.  Robbie Doyle also emerged as the First Division top scorer.  Sporting had a very successful 2009 season. After finishing third during the regular season, they gained promotion to the 2010 Premier Division after defeating Bray Wanderers 4–2 on aggregate in a promotion-relegation play-off.  For a second season in a row a Sporting player, this time Conan Byrne, finished as the First Division top scorer.  Sporting also won the 2009 FAI Cup after defeating Sligo Rovers 2–1 in the final. In doing so they also qualified for the 2010–11 UEFA Europa League.  Sporting finished fourth in the 2010 Premier Division and as a result qualified for both the 2011 Setanta Sports Cup and the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League.  Their reserve team also won the 2010 A Championship Cup, defeating Bohemians A 3–2 in the final. 
After winning the 2009 FAI Cup, Sporting Fingal qualified for the 2010–11 UEFA Europa League. Sporting played Marítimo in the second qualifying round and were defeated 6–4 on aggregate.  After finishing fourth in the 2010 Premier Division, Sporting Fingal also qualified for the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League. However after the club disbanded in early 2011 they were replaced in the competition by St Patrick's Athletic. 
- Second qualifying round
|15 July 2010||Marítimo||3 – 2||Sporting Fingal||Estádio da Madeira |
Referee: Luc Wilmes (Luxembourg)
|22 July 2010||Sporting Fingal||2 – 3||Marítimo||Dalymount Park |
|20:45||Zayed 81', 89'||Report||Alonso 20' (pen.)
Referee: Marco Borg (Malta)
Marítimo won 6–4 on aggregate.
Sporting Fingal's demise was triggered by the collapse of the Irish property bubble. Three of the club's main backers – Gerry Gannon, Dublin Airport Authority and Anglo Irish Bank – were involved in the Anglo Irish Bank hidden loans controversy. The National Asset Management Agency placed restrictions on Gannon's business activities and on 26 November 2010 he resigned as Sporting Fingal's chairman, ending his involvement with the club. Gannon had been the club's main benefactor. In 2008 he made the club a "sponsorship payment" of €499,900 and in 2009 he also made a €750,000 "non-refundable contribution". Some reports estimated that Gannon invested more than €2m into the club. Despite this, however, Sporting posted a loss of more than €75,000 in 2009.  The club were unable to find a replacement for Gannon and in February 2011 Sporting Fingal revealed it had serious financial problems when they were unable to pay their players' wages. This resulted in the club having to cancel the contracts of their playing squad.  On the 14 February they were due to play Lisburn Distillery in the first round of the 2011 Setanta Sports Cup. However they had to withdraw from the competition and were replaced by UCD. The club also withdrew its application for a licence to participate in the 2011 Premier Division.  Drogheda United, who were originally relegated at the end of the 2010 Premier Division season, subsequently retained their place in the Premier Division after Sporting withdrew. 
Sporting Fingal's first team played their home First Division and Premier Division games at Morton Stadium. Their A Championship team played their home games at the ALSAA Sports Complex, near Dublin Airport. The club also used ALSAA as their main training facility. Sporting played their 2010–11 UEFA Europa League home game against Marítimo at Dalymount Park and, before their demise, they intended to move to the same stadium for the 2011 season.  In the long term Sporting Fingal planned to play at the Fingal Sports Complex.
Notable former players
2009 First Division squad
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- Republic of Ireland international
- League of Ireland XI representatives
- Republic of Ireland U23 internationals
- Republic of Ireland U21 internationals
- Republic of Ireland U19 internationals
- Republic of Ireland U18 international
- Libya international
- Wales U21 international
- Latvia U19 international
- "Regrets still linger over Sporting Fingal's sad demise". www.irishtimes.com. 9 March 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
- "Sporting move 'will tear heart out of community'". www.independent.ie. 29 December 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
- "Sporting Fingal F.C. Limited". www.solocheck.ie. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- "Club aims to build strong community". www.independent.ie. 13 February 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
- "Sporting Fingal officially launched". www.rte.ie. 11 February 2008. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- "Season Preview 2008: Sporting Fingal". wnl.ie. 14 February 2008. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- "Fingal's ambitious football plan gets business backing". foot.ie. 3 February 2008. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- "Sporting Fingal launch Powerchair Soccer Team". www.fai.ie. 7 June 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- "Sporting Fingal Special Olympics Team Launch". www.sseairtricityleague. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
- "Sporting Fingal Announce Futsal Initiative". gazettesport.wordpress.com. 13 May 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- "Emerald Futsal League off to a flyer". www.fai.ie. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- "Sporting Fingal claim 2010 Futsal Cup". www.fai.ie. 8 March 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- "Fingal break new ground as Kilkenny bow out". www.independent.ie. 19 January 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
- "Longford Town 5-1 Sporting Fingal". www.rte.ie. 8 March 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
- "Ireland 2008". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
- "Ireland - List of Topscorers". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
- "Ireland 2009". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
- "Sligo Rovers v Sporting Fingal - FAI Ford Cup Final Photos". www.sportsfile.com. 22 November 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
- "Sligo Rovers 1-2 Sporting Fingal". www.rte.ie. 22 November 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
- "Late surge gives Sporting a year to remember". www.irishtimes.com. 23 November 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
- "League in new crisis as Fingal go to wall". www.independent.ie. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
- "Ireland 2010". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- "Bohemians A v Sporting Fingal A - Newstalk Cup Final Photos". www.sportsfile.com. 24 August 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
- "Crowe swoops". www.independent.ie. 1 September 2010. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
- "Irish Clubs In European Cups". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
- "CS Marítimo v Sporting Fingal - UEFA Europa League Second Qualifying Round - 1st Leg Photos". www.sportsfile.com. 15 July 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
- "Sporting Fingal v CS Marítimo - UEFA Europa League Second Qualifying Round - 2nd Leg Photos". www.sportsfile.com. 22 July 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
- "Gannon steps down as Sporting Fingal chair". www.independent.ie. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
- "Fingal ready to give up the ghost". www.independent.ie. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
- "Sporting Fingal on verge of collapse as contracts cancelled". www.irishexaminer.com. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- "Sporting Fingal cancel all player contracts". www.irishtimes.com. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
- "Ex-Sporting players launch bid to have contracts paid out". www.independent.ie. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- "Sporting Fingal reaches end of the road". www.irishtimes.com. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
- "2009 FAI Cup winners Sporting Fingal's dream dies". www.independent.ie. 16 February 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
- "Ireland 2011". www.rsssf.com. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- "2010 "A" Championship Results". www.tullamoretownfc.com. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
- "A Championship - Fixtures 2009". www.shamrockrovers.ie. 19 March 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
- "Sporting Fingal FC Portrait Session". www.sportsfile.com. 3 March 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2016.