League of Ireland Books (2018 Update)

2017 was a quiet year for League of Ireland books, with ‘A Fan for all seasons’ published around Christmas. The FAI produced a ‘Greatest League in the World’ book to go along with their new weekly podcast at the start of this season and St Pat’s fan Paddy Smithers has just written a brilliantly researched stats book.

It includes the result of every League and major cup competition involving Irish clubs with lots of other facts accompanying each season. Paddy only printed 60 copies of this gem but when he read my blog he kindly saved me one!

That brings my LOI related collection to 115.

Brian Kennedy, author of ‘Just Follow The Floodlights’ in 2011, has a new book called ‘One Team, One Dream, Won Friday Night’ and I will update this post when it’s released in a month or so.

Not shown below are:

Many booklets and souvenirs, by Derry, Dundalk, Drogheda and Monaghan, for example. I haven’t included everything in this category, just the ones I own and that I’m looking for, which I have placed a * beside.

Maureen O’Hara (Shamrock Rovers), Keith Gillespie (Longford Town) and Roy Keane (Cobh Ramblers) mention LOI clubs in their autobiographies.

Tony Reid wrote a history of Waterford in the 1970s. There are also books on the Leinster Football Association, Leinster Senior League, Munster Football Assocation and Munster Senior League, as well as non-league clubs.

I bought the MSL one written by Gerry Desmond and Dave Galvin, the same authors of the Irish Handbooks in the 90s, and a Glenmore Celtic Golden Jubilee.

You will find the results and goalscorers of every league game from the 1987-88 to 2016 seasons in the European Football Yearbooks, except 1988-89, 1989-90 and 2003.

Airtricity League Media Guides were released in PDFs in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018 (there was a hardcopy in 2017) but I have never seen one, either in print or online, for the 2011 season.

I’ve one other e-book, ‘The Irish Brawn Drain’, which was published by the British Journal of Sociology in 2000.

If anyone wants any information on these, please get in touch.

———————-

Athlone Town
A History of Athlone Town F.C. The First 101 Years – by Frank Lynch (1991)
Who Needs Cantona We’ve Got Rod de Khors – by Kevin O’Neill (2005)
When We Were Kings: The Story of Athlone Town’s 1924 FAI Cup Triumph – by Tadhg Carey (2009)
In Rod We Trust: How Athlone Won the League – by Kevin O’Neill (2013)

kings

Bohemians
Bohemian A.F.C. Official Club History 1890-1976 – by Tony Reid (1977)
Bohemian Football Club Golden Jubilee Reprint (1988) *
Bohemian Times: An Outline History of Bohemian Football Club & Dalymount Park 1890-1993 – by Phil Howlin (1994)
Dalymount Park: The Home of Irish Football – by Colin White (2015)

Dalymount book

Bray Wanderers
Tales of The Wanderers 1996-98 – by Colm Keane (1998)
Triumphant Seagulls: Bray Wanderers AFC 12 Days of Glory Cup Winners (1999)
More Tales of The Wanderers 1998-2000 – by Colm Keane (2000)
Bray Wanderers 25 Years in League of Ireland Football 1985-2010 – by Aidan O’Toole (2010)

Cobh Ramblers
Cobh Ramblers AFC Golden Jubilee Souvenir Brochure (1979) *

Cork & Cork Celtic/Hibs/City
Soccer Memories Volume 1, Cork – by Plunkett Carter (1980) *
Soccer Memories Volume 2, Cork – by Plunkett Carter (1982) *
Evening Echo A Century of Cork Memories – by Plunkett Carter (1996)
From The ‘Lodge to the Box: A Miscellany of Cork Soccer – by Plunkett Carter (2002)
Reflections From The Shed – by Darren O’Keeffe (2010)
The Dav: Anecdotes and Stories from Inside & Outside the Box – by Carl Davenport (2010)
Death of a Football Club? The Story of Cork City FC: Season 2008 – by Neal Horgan (2014)
Soccer in Munster: A Social History 1877-1937 – by David Toms (2015) *
Goals in Life: My Autobiography by Bobby Tambling (2016)
Second City: The Fall, Death and Rise of Cork City FC Part Two Season 2009 by Neal Horgan (2016)

horgan

Derry City
The Derry City F.C. Story 1928-1986 – by Frank Curran (1986)
A History of Derry City Football and Athletic Club 1929-1972 – by W.H.W. Platt (1986)
Come on the City: Derry City Down the Decades (1986) *
Derry City Football Club Diary of a Season Special Championship Souvenir 1986/87 – by Richard Cambell & Michael O’Donnell (1987)
Eddie McMahon’s Derry City – by Eddie McMahon (1997)
Born to Play: The Liam Coyle Story – by Joe W. Doherty (2002)
When You’ve Read Their History: 75th Anniversary of Cup Campaigns – by Derry City Sports Project Committee (2003)
How The League Was Won: Derry City’s Winning of the Irish League Championship 1964/65 – by Derry City Sports Project Committee (2005)
The Team I Loved So Well – by Gary Ferry (2008)
30 Years 1985-2015: The Journey So Far – by Gary Ferry (2015)

gary-ferry-story-pic-e1450281688526

Drogheda United
Drogheda United The Story So Far – by Tom Reilly (2007)
DUFC A Claret and Blue History – by Brian Whelan (2010)

Dundalk
The Story of Dundalk League and Shield Winners 1966-67 (1967)
My Most Difficult Opponent – by Barry Kehoe (1989) *
Dundalk FC 70th Anniversary Season Media Guide (1996)
The History of Dundalk F.C. The First 100 Years – by Jim Murphy (2003)
C’mon The Town: A Dundalk FC Miscellany – by Jim Murphy (2013)
Dundalk FC Champions 2014 Season Review – by Gavin McLaughlin (2014)
The Double: Dundalk FC – by Gavin McLaughlin (2015)
Dundalk FC: Making History – by Gavin McLaughlin (2016)

dundalk_fc_making_history_2016___front_cover

Finn Harps
The Strings of my Harps – by Patsy McGowan (1998)
The Finn Harps Story – by Bartley Ramsay (2008)
Finn Harps F.C. Our First Season: Celebrating 40 Years of League of Ireland Football (2009)
Finn Harps 1974 FAI Cup Winners 40th Anniversary Souvenir Programme (2014)
Diary of the Finn Harps Season: Promotion 2015 (2016)

Galway United
Galway United FC 25th Anniversary Celebration – by Pat Kelly & Paul O’Brien (2002)
Chick: The Eamonn Deacy Story – by Ger Geraghty (2015)

Home Farm
Home Farm Football Club Yearbook (1975) *
Home Farm The Story of a Dublin Football Club 1928-1998 – by Brendan Menton (1999)

Kilkenny City
Mud Sweat & Jeers – by Jim Rhatigan (2000)

Limerick
How Limerick Won the League – by the Limerick Leader (1980) *
The End of an Era: A History of Limerick Senior Soccer at the Markets Field 1937/1984 – by Aidan Corr & Bernard Spain (1985)

Mervue United
The History of Mervue United 1960-2010 – by Willie Henry (2011)

St Patrick’s Athletic
Back from the Brink – by Paul McGrath (2006)
For the Love of the Game: The Paul O’Brien Story – by Paul O’Brien (2016)

for_the_love_of_the_game_3_10_november_2016

Shamrock Rovers
Shamrock Rovers Three in a Row 1983/4, 84/5, 85/6 (1986)
Come on the Hoops: The Story of Shamrock Rovers Ireland’s Greatest Football Club – by Charlie Willoughby (1987)
The Hoops: A History of Shamrock Rovers – by Paul Doolan & Robert Goggins (1993)
Shamrock Rovers 100 Years – by Robert Goggins (2002)
We Are Rovers: An Oral History of Shamrock Rovers FC – by Eoghan Rice (2005)
Dyed in the Wool: Memoirs of a Hoops Fan – by Robin Browett (2005)
The Four-in-a-row Story – by Robert Goggins (2009)
Chronological History of Shamrock Rovers FC – by Robert Goggins (2012)
Through The Hoops – by Jimmy Cummins (2013)
Tallaght Time: Shamrock Rovers 2009-2012 – by Macdara Ferris & Karl Reilly (2013)

Shamrock Rovers books

Shelbourne
Shelbourne Football Club Golden Jubilee 1895-1945 Official Souvenir (1945) *
Shelbourne FC: Facts and Figures – by Frank Martin (1996)
Shelbourne Double Champions 2000 (2000) *
In Full Flood: A Memoir – by Finbarr Flood (2006)
Shelbourne Cult Heroes: From Bulawayo to Ballybough – by Sean Fitzpatrick (2009, second revised edition in 2010)
Shelbourne’s European Run 2004 – by Peter Goulding (2013)
Shels: A Grand Old Team to Know – by Christopher Sands (2016)

shels-book

Sligo Rovers
A History of Sligo Rovers – by Tony Reid (1980)
Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down! – by Billy Sinclair (1991)
They Think It’s All Over – by Declan Burke, Martin Finan & Stephen Fahy (1995)
A History of Sligo Rovers 1928-1997 – by Joe Molloy (1997)
There’s Only One Red Army – by Eamonn Sweeney (1997)
North West Frontier: Professional Football in the F.A.I. National League – by Conall Collier (1998)
Stories of the Showgrounds – by Kevin Colreavy (2014)
The Bit O’Red: A History of Sligo Rovers 1928 – 2016 by Aidan Mannion, Joe Molloy and Anthony Kilfeather

sligo-book

UCD
UCD AFC Golden Jubilee – by S.B. Hooper (1945) *
St. Patrick’s Blue & Saffron: A Miscellany of UCD Sport since 1895 – by Patrick N. Meenan (1997)

Waterford United
Singing The Blues – by Brian Kennedy (2006)
Blue, White & Dynamite: A Collection of Waterford Football Stories – by Brian Kennedy (2007)

League
Who Stole Our Game? The Fall and Fall of Irish Soccer – by Daire Whelan (2006)
Just Follow The Floodlights! The Complete Guide to League of Ireland Football – by Brian Kennedy (2011)
A Fan for all seasons: Memoirs of Irish Football – by Graham Howard (2017)
Greatest League in the World – by Gareth Maher (2018)
Club Soccer in Ireland 1921/22 to 2017 – by Paddy Smithers (2018)

who-stole-our-game

FAI Cup
Gillette Book of the FAI Cup – by Sean Ryan & Terry O’Rourke (1985)
The Official Book of the FAI Cup – by Sean Ryan (2011)

faicup

Europe
Gods Vs Mortals: Irish Clubs in Europe, A Front Row Seat at 10 of the Greatest Games – by Paul Keane (2010)
Grobar: Partizan Pleasure, Pain and Paranoia. Lifting the lid on Serbia’s undertakers – by James Moor (2013)

gods-v-mortals

International
Ireland On The Ball – by Donal Cullen (1993)
The Boys in Green: The FAI International Story by Sean Ryan (1997)
The Garrison Game: The State of Irish Football – by Dave Hannigan (1998)
Ireland’s First Real World Cup: The Story of the 1924 Ireland Olympic Football Team – by David Needham (2012)
The Irish Soccer Split – by Cormac Moore (2015)

ireland-books-3

Stats
Bass Sports Book of Irish Soccer – by Noel Dunne & Sean Ryan (1975)
A Record of League of Ireland 1921/2-1984/5 – by Niall Macsweeney (1985)
The AFS Book of Inter League Matches: A Complete Record – by R.J. Spiller (1985)
The Book of Irish Goalscorers – by Sean Ryan & Stephen Burke (1987)
Irish Football Handbook 1991-92 – by Gerry Desmond & Dave Galvin (1991)
European League Results Surveys: Eire – by Dave Allen & Graeme Riley (1992)
Irish Football Handbook 1992-93 – by Gerry Desmond & Dave Galvin (1992)
Irish Football Handbook 1993-94 – by Gerry Desmond & Dave Galvin (1993)
Irish Football Handbook 1994-95 – by Gerry Desmond & Dave Galvin (1994)
National League Annual 1996 – by Michael Hayes (1995)
National League Annual 1996-97 – by Michael Hayes (1996)
National League Annual 1997-98 – by Michael Hayes (1997)
National League Annual 1998/99 – by Michael Hayes (1998)
Eircom League Annual 1999/00 – by Michael Hayes (1999)
Eircom League Annual 2001/02 – by Michael Hayes (2001)
Republic of Ireland Football League Tables and Results 1921-2005 – by Alex Graham (2006)
League of Ireland Media Guide 2009 – by Michael Hayes (2009)
Airtricity League Guide 2010 – by Michael Hayes (2010)
Republic of Ireland Football League Tables and Results 1921-2012 – by Alex Graham (2013)
SSE Airtricity League Media Guide 2017 Guide – by Kieran Crowley & Michael Hayes

book-of-irish-goalscorers

Other
League of Ireland Yearbook – by Tony Reid (1977)
The Football League of Ireland Rules and Yearbook 1989-90 (1989) *
90/91 Irish Soccer Supporter’s Guide – by Patrick Brizay (1990)
The Supporters’ Guide to Irish Football 1998 – by John Robinson (1997)
Football in Ireland – by Peter Miles (1999)
The Supporters’ Guide to Eircom FAI Clubs 2005 – by John Robinson (2005)
The Supporters’ Guide to Eircom FAI Clubs 2006 – by John Robinson (2006)

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Opening Fixtures in Numbers

Dalymount

All statistics except for previous meetings relate to the Premier Division only, the top flight of the League of Ireland from 1985 to 2017.

Dublin City (2006) and Monaghan (2012) games are counted

Previous opening-day meetings

Bohemians v Shamrock Rovers
07.11.42 – L – Bohemians 1-1 Shamrock Rovers [McGrane; Comerford]
17.12.49 – L – Shamrock Rovers 7-2 Bohemians [Mullen, O’Connor 2, Kirby, Radford, Reilly (og), Coad (p); Treacy, Mulcahy]
15.11.52 – L – Shamrock Rovers 1-0 Bohemians [Archbold]
08.11.63 – L – Bohemians 1-2 Shamrock Rovers [Gilmore; Bailham, Tuohy]
08.11.64 – L – Shamrock Rovers 2-0 Bohemians [Fullam, Dunne]
07.11.65 – L – Bohemians 2-4 Shamrock Rovers [O’Connor, Kearin; Tuohy, O’Neill 2, Gilbert]
05.10.69 – L – Shamrock Rovers 2-1 Bohemians [O’Neill, Hannigan; O’Sullivan]
04.10.70 – L – Bohemians 1-0 Shamrock Rovers [Doran (p)]
03.10.71 – L – Bohemians 2-2 Shamrock Rovers [Boyce, Mooney; Richardson 2 (1p)]
08.10.72 – L – Shamrock Rovers 0-0 Bohemians
16.09.84 – L – Bohemians 2-0 Shamrock Rovers [Doolin, O’Brien]
14.08.00 – PD – Shamrock Rovers 0-0 Bohemians
18.03.05 – PD – Bohemians 1-1 Shamrock Rovers [Aggrey; Feeney]

St Patrick’s Athletic v Cork City
04.09.88 – PD – St Patrick’s Athletic 2-1 Cork City [Ennis, Fleming; Nagle]
27.08.94 – PD – St Patrick’s Athletic 3-4 Cork City [Gormley, Izzi, P Campbell; Morley 2, Woods, Gillinan]
25.08.95 – PD – Cork City 1-0 St Patrick’s Athletic [Morley]
13.08.00 – PD – Cork City 1-0 St Patrick’s Athletic [Herrick]
12.04.03 – PD – Cork City 0-0 St Patrick’s Athletic
07.03.14 – PD – Cork City 1-1 St Patrick’s Athletic [Buckley; Fagan]

Dundalk v Bray Wanderers
05.03.10 – PD – Bray Wanderers 0-1 Dundalk [Breen]
05.03.16 – PD – Bray Wanderers 1-3 Dundalk [Salmon; Kilduff 2, Finn]

Sligo Rovers v Limerick
10.11.63 – L – Limerick 3-0 Sligo Rovers [O’Rourke 2, Doyle]
08.11.64 – L – Sligo Rovers 1-1 Limerick [Norris; Finucane]
07.11.65 – L – Limerick 3-3 Sligo Rovers [Mitchell 2, O’Rourke; Turner, Corcoran 2]
06.11.66 – L – Sligo Rovers 4-1 Limerick [Byrne 2, Brooks, Millington; O’Connor]
04.10.70 – L – Sligo Rovers 3-0 Limerick [Byrnes (2 og’s), Mitchell]
03.10.71 – L – Sligo Rovers 3-4 Limerick [Mitchell 3; Cronin 2, Barrett, Fitzpatrick]
08.10.72 – L – Limerick 2-1 Sligo Rovers [Davenport, Kennedy; Mitchell]
12.04.03 – FD – Sligo Rovers 2-1 Limerick [McTiernan, Gaffney; Purcell]
24.02.17 – PD – Limerick 5-1 Sligo Rovers [Turner, Tosi 3, Lynch; Stevens]

Waterford v Derry City
None

Top opening-day goalscorers

8 – Jason Byrne
7 – Eric Lavine
6 – Pat Fenlon

Opening-day hat-tricks

13.09.87 – Mick Bennett – 3 goals (Sligo Rovers 1-7 Waterford United)
02.09.90 – Paul Newe – 4 goals (Dundalk 1-5 Shelbourne)
30.08.92 – Pat Fenlon – 3 goals (Bohemians 6-0 Waterford United)
11.08.00 – Eric Lavine – 4 goals (Galway United 5-2 Finn Harps)
24.02.17 – Rodrigo Tosi – 3 goals (Limerick 5-1 Sligo Rovers)

Biggest opening match winning margin

13.09.87 – Sligo Rovers 1-7 Waterford United
30.08.92 – Bohemians 6-0 Waterford United

Highest scoring opening match

13.09.87 – Sligo Rovers 1-7 Waterford United

Most goals scored in opening round

20 in 1994-95

Fewest goals scored in opening round

6 in 2013

1985-86
Defending/League champions: Shamrock Rovers – Lost

1986-87
Defending/League champions: Shamrock Rovers – Won
Promoted clubs: Bray Wanderers – Won; Sligo Rovers – Lost

1987-88
Defending champions: Shamrock Rovers – Won
League winners: Dundalk – Won
Promoted clubs: Derry City – Drew; Shelbourne – Won

1988-89
Defending champions: Dundalk – Drew
League winners: Derry City – Drew
Promoted clubs: Cobh Ramblers – Lost; Athlone Town – Won

1989-90
Defending champions: Derry City – Won
League winners: St. Patrick’s Athletic – Won
Promoted clubs: UCD – Lost; Drogheda United – Drew

1990-91
Defending champions: St. Patrick’s Athletic – Won
League winners: Dundalk – Lost
Promoted clubs: Waterford United – Lost; Sligo Rovers – Lost

1991-92
Defending champions: Dundalk – Drew
League winners: Shelbourne – Won
Promoted clubs: Bray Wanderers – Won; Drogheda United – Lost

1992-93
Defending champions: Shelbourne – Won
League winners: Cork City – Won
Promoted clubs: Waterford United – Lost; Limerick – Drew

1993-94
Defending champions: Cork City – Won
League winners: Shamrock Rovers – Drew
Promoted clubs: Galway United – Lost; Cobh Ramblers – Lost; Monaghan United – Lost

1994-95
Defending champions: Shamrock Rovers – Won
League winners: Dundalk – Lost
Promoted clubs: Athlone Town – Drew; Sligo Rovers – Drew

1995-96
Defending champions: Dundalk – Lost
League winners: St. Patrick’s Athletic – Lost
Promoted clubs: Drogheda United – Drew; UCD – Drew

1996-97
Defending champions: St. Patrick’s Athletic – Lost
League winners: Derry City – Won
Promoted clubs: Home Farm Everton – Drew; Bray Wanderers – Drew; Finn Harps – Lost

1997-98
Defending champions: Derry City – Drew
League winners: St. Patrick’s Athletic – Drew
Promoted clubs: Kilkenny City – Lost; Drogheda United – Lost

1998-99
Defending/League champions: St. Patrick’s Athletic – Won
Promoted clubs: Bray Wanderers – Lost; Waterford United – Won

1999-00
Defending champions: St. Patrick’s Athletic – Lost
League winners: Shelbourne – Drew
Promoted clubs: Drogheda United – Lost; Galway United – Drew

2000-01
Defending champions: Shelbourne – Lost
League winners: Bohemians – Drew
Promoted clubs: Bray Wanderers – Won; Longford Town – Won; Kilkenny City – Lost

2001-02
Defending champions: Bohemians – Won
League winners: Shelbourne – Won
Promoted clubs: Dundalk – Drew; Monaghan United – Lost

2002-03
Defending champions: Shelbourne – Lost
League winners: Bohemians – Won
Promoted clubs: Drogheda United – Won

2003
Defending champions: Bohemians – Won
League winners: Shelbourne – Won
Promoted clubs: Waterford United – Lost

2004
Defending/League champions: Shelbourne – Won
Promoted clubs: Dublin City – Lost

2005
Defending champions: Shelbourne – Drew
League winners: Cork City – Won
Promoted clubs: UCD – Drew; Bray Wanderers – Won; Finn Harps – Lost

2006
Defending champions: Cork City – Won
League winners: Shelbourne – Drew
Promoted clubs: Sligo Rovers – Won; Dublin City – Lost

2007
Defending champions: Shelbourne – Demoted to First Division
League winners: Drogheda United – Drew
Promoted clubs: UCD – Drew; Galway United – Lost

2008
Defending champions: Drogheda United – Lost
League winners: Bohemians – Won
Promoted clubs: Finn Harps – Won; Cobh Ramblers – Lost

2009
Defending/League champions: Bohemians – Won
Promoted clubs: Dundalk – Lost

2010
Defending champions: Bohemians – Won
League winners: Shamrock Rovers – Drew
Promoted clubs: UCD – Won; Sporting Fingal – Lost

2011
Defending/League champions: Shamrock Rovers – Won
Promoted clubs: Derry City – Lost

2012
Defending champions: Shamrock Rovers – Won
League winners: Sligo Rovers – Drew
Promoted clubs: Cork City – Lost; Shelbourne – Drew; Monaghan United – Drew

2013
Defending champions: Sligo Rovers – Won
League winners that season: St. Patrick’s Athletic – Won
Promoted clubs: Limerick – Drew

2014
Defending champions: St Patrick’s Athletic – Drew
League winners that season: Dundalk – Lost
Promoted clubs: Athlone Town – Lost

2015
Defending/League champions: Dundalk – Won
Promoted clubs: Longford Town – Lost; Galway FC – Lost

2016
Defending/League champions: Dundalk – Won
Promoted clubs: Wexford Youths – Lost; Finn Harps – Won

2017
Defending champions: Dundalk – Won
League winners that season: Cork City – Won
Promoted clubs: Limerick – Won; Drogheda United – Won

Defending champions’ record

Won 20, Drew 5, Lost 7

League winners’ record

Won 19, Drew 9, Lost 5

Promoted clubs’ record

Won 15, Drew 16, Lost 31

How the Premier Division clubs have fared on opening day

P W D L Win %
Bohemians 33 19 8 6 58
Bray Wanderers 22 6 8 8 27
Cork City 31 16 8 7 52
Derry City 30 14 7 9 47
Dundalk 24 9 7 8 38
Limerick 12 4 4 4 33
St Patrick’s Athletic 33 12 10 11 36
Shamrock Rovers 32 11 15 6 34
Sligo Rovers 23 8 7 8 35
Waterford 13 7 2 4 53

Live League of Ireland Openers

TV Openers to 2018

Tonight’s game between Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers is the first Dublin Derby on opening day in 13 years. It’s on RTE, the 6th time in 8 seasons that Rovers’ first league game is televised.

Last season Rovers lost their first game of the season for the first time since 2004, ending a Premier Division record of 11 straight seasons unbeaten.

Only Bohemians (58), Waterford (53) and Cork (52) have a win rate of 50% or better in their first league game in the modern era. Bohs’ record since 1985 is won 19, drew 8 and lost 6.

This is the earliest ever start to a League of Ireland season in a calendar year. The latest was on 17th December 1949 when the Hoops beat Bohs 7-2 at Milltown, in Paddy Coad’s first league game in charge.

Jacobs (1931-32), Drumcondra (1932-33) and Drogheda (1965-66) picked up a victory in the first weekend and failed to do so again throughout the whole season.

Shamrock Rovers (1922-23) and Bray Wanderers (1985-86 First Division), both making their League of Ireland debuts, suffered their one and only defeat of the season in the first game! Bray travel to Dundalk where Conor Kenna’s run of playing on every Premier Division opening day since 2005 comes to an end because of injury.

Last year’s double winners Cork City play St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park. The last two times a team lost their first game of the season and went on to win the title was Drogheda’s 4-1 win over Dundalk in 2014 and Cork’s 1-0 victory over St Pat’s in 1995. The current managers of both clubs, John Caulfield and Liam Buckley, played that day in 1995.

The worst start by league winners was Dundalk when they were hammered 5-1 at home to Shelbourne in 1990-91. Paul Newe scored four goals against his old club and he talked about that game in an interview with http://www.dundalkfc.com – “I was in tears in the dressing room afterwards. I loved my time at Dundalk and it became clear as the season went on what a mistake I had made. Shelbourne’s challenge waned and Dundalk went on to win the league. I really wish I had stayed.”

Alan O’Neill conceded five goals for the Lilywhites that day but he kept 23 clean sheets in the entire campaign. The worst start by the holders was Shelbourne’s 3-0 defeat away to Cork City in 2002-03. Newly promoted Bray Wanderers beat defending champions Shels 1-0 at Tolka Park in 2000. The last time league champions were beaten in the first game of their title defence was when Shamrock Rovers won 1-0 at Drogheda in 2008.

St Pat’s have lost their first game in each of the last three seasons (Rovers, Galway and Bray). Limerick end a run of six consecutive seasons with a home fixture first as they face Sligo Rovers tomorrow.

It’s a repeat of last year’s opener when Rodrigo Tosi, Limerick’s 34-year-old Brazilian striker, became the first player to score a hat-trick in the first Premier Division game of the season in 17 years. There were a total of 19 goals on 2017 opening day, one short of the 1994-95 modern era record. Only 6 goals were scored in 2013.

Johnny Brooks scored in Sligo’s 1966 opening day win over Limerick and Brooks that season became the only Sligo player ever to be the League’s top goalscorer. When they met Limerick at the Showgrounds in the first round of games four years later, Blues left-back Sean Byrnes scored two first half own goals in the space of a minute.

Derry travel to Waterford, the fifth year in a row that they begin their season away from home. Waterford have been involved in both of the Premier Division’s biggest wins on opening weekend. They won 7-1 in Sligo (1987) and lost 6-0 at Bohs (1992) with a hat-trick from their current Direct of Football Pat Fenlon at Dalymount Park.

While Cork City v St Pat’s is set to become the most frequent opener in the modern era (7 times), Waterford and Derry meet for the first time.

Last season (Limerick and Drogheda) was the first time since 2000-01 (Bray and Longford) that two promoted teams won on opening day. Drogheda in fact won their first two games in 2015 and 2017 but were still relegated in both seasons.

In last season’s First Division, the team that finished bottom of the table (Athlone) beat the champions (Waterford) on opening day. This also happened in 2015 (Cabinteely v Wexford).

Waterford haven’t won their first match of a league season since the 2010 First Division. This is the first time there are 3 Munster clubs in the top flight since the 1993-94 season (Cork, Limerick and Cobh).

The Byrne Legacy

Jason Byrne

This is my fourth and presumably final update of the definitive record of Jason Byrne’s career.

Byrne’s quest to become the all-time leading goalscorer in the League of Ireland looks to be over as he turns 40 and drops down to amateur football with Bluebell United.

He only scored one league goal for Cabinteely last season, in just 4 starts, to bring his tally to 222 – that’s 13 off Brendan Bradley’s record.

All the statistics and analysis below has been fully updated up to the end of 2017. The FAI count playoff matches towards a player’s league record so I have done the same here.

To ensure accuracy I went through each and every league goal on http://www.soccerbot.com and then compared them to various sources, including European Football Yearbooks, National League Annuals, http://www.irishfootballonline.com (now closed down), http://www.braywanderers.com, http://www.extratime.ie and http://www.sseairtricityleague.ie.

I discovered only a few minor errors on Soccerbot; there was an incorrect date and two instances where they did not put a goal down as a penalty kick. However, there were many inconsistencies when it came to his total appearances (including the Airtricity League Media Guide) so they took a lot longer to finally get right. He fell just one short of 500 in the end.

As always, dedicated to Pat Morley.

League total – 413 (86) appearances, 222 goals
1998-99 – Bray Wanderers – 15 (2) appearances, 5 goals
1999-00 – Bray Wanderers – 26 (7) appearances, 7 goals
2000-01 – Bray Wanderers – 30 appearances, 11 goals
2001-02 – Bray Wanderers – 29 (1) appearances, 14 goals
2002-03 – Bray Wanderers – 20 appearances, 12 goals
2003 – Shelbourne – 34 appearances, 21 goals
2004 – Shelbourne – 33 (1) appearances, 25 goals
2005 – Shelbourne – 31 appearances, 22 goals
2006 – Shelbourne – 22 (4) appearances, 15 goals
2008 – Bohemians – 17 (12) appearances, 7 goals
2009 – Bohemians – 32 (2) appearances, 22 goals
2010 – Bohemians – 24 (6) appearances, 12 goals
2011 – Dundalk – 19 (5) appearances, 6 goals
2012 – Bray Wanderers – 25 appearances, 13 goals
2013 – Bray Wanderers – 33 (2) appearances, 15 goals
2014 – Bohemians – 16 (3) appearances, 9 goals
2015 – Bohemians – 2 (18) appearances, 1 goal
2016 – UCD – 1 (16) appearances, 4 goals
2017 – Cabinteely – 4 (7) appearances, 1 goal

League total – 499 appearances, 222 goals
Bray Wanderers – 190 appearances, 77 goals
Shelbourne – 125 appearances, 83 goals
Bohemians – 132 appearances, 51 goals
Dundalk – 24 appearances, 6 goals
UCD – 17 appearances, 4 goals
Cabinteely – 11 appearances, 1 goal

League
Premier Division – 208
First Division – 12
Playoff – 2

Halves
First half – 98
Second half – 124

When Byrne scored, his team…
Won – 116
Drew – 34
Lost – 20

Hat-tricks
4 goals – 2 times
3 goals – 9 times
2 goals – 28 times
1 goal – 131 times

Goals by club
St. Patrick’s Athletic – 22
Shamrock Rovers – 21
UCD – 21
Drogheda United – 21
Longford Town – 19
Waterford United – 15
Dundalk – 13
Bray Wanderers – 12
Derry City – 12
Bohemians – 9
Dublin City – 8
Cork City – 8
Galway United – 7
Sligo Rovers – 7
Shelbourne – 7
Finn Harps – 5
Athlone Town – 4
Limerick – 3
Home Farm – 2
Kilkenny City – 2
Cobh Ramblers – 2
Monaghan United – 1
Cabinteely – 1

Home/Away
Home – 138
Away – 84

Province
Leinster – 199
Munster – 12
Connacht – 6
Ulster – 5

Goals by venue
Tolka Park – 63
Carlisle Grounds – 53
Dalymount Park – 36
Hunky Dorys Park – 9
Richmond Park – 9
UCD Bowl – 8
RSC – 7
Oriel Park – 6
Flancare Park – 4
Terryland Park – 4
Turner’s Cross – 4
Morton Stadium – 2
The Brandywell – 2
Belfield Park – 2
Finn Park – 2
Tallaght Stadium – 2
The Showgrounds – 2
Buckley Park – 1
St. Mel’s Park – 1
Hogan Park – 1
Whitehall – 1
Century Holmes Park – 1
Lissywollen – 1
Stradbrook – 1

Months
September – 47
April – 33
October – 29
March – 25
May – 24
June – 19
August – 13
July – 12
November – 9
January – 5
February – 3
December – 3

Days
Friday – 141
Monday – 23
Tuesday – 18
Saturday – 18
Sunday – 15
Thursday – 4
Wednesday – 3

Note: Byrne started two games against Dublin City in 2006 and one against Monaghan United in 2012. He scored at Gortakeegan, which was wiped from the record when Monaghan withdrew from the league mid-season (à la Dublin City). These 3 appearances and 1 goal, while listed at the bottom of the post for completeness, are discounted from all facts and figures.

Debut, top scorer record, penalties, landmarks
Jason Byrne made his league debut for newly promoted Bray Wanderers on 30 August 1998 in a 1-0 defeat at home to Cork City. He scored in his next game against Shamrock Rovers at Tolka Park. From a corner, in the 54th minute, Byrne was unmarked at the near post and his rising header finished in the top right hand corner of the net gave Forde no chance. In his first spell with Bray they rarely lost a game in which he scored, winning 12 in a row from January 2001 to March 2002.

Byrne is the only player in history to be League of Ireland top goalscorer in four consecutive seasons which he achieved with Shelbourne from 2003 to 2006. He wasn’t the highest league scorer at his club on seven occasions; that honour went to Bray’s Barry O’Connor in 1999-00 (having been joint best with him the previous season), Killian Brennan for Bohemians in 2008, Dundalk’s Mark Quigley in 2011, Bohs strikers Dinny Corcoran (2014), Ismahil Akinade (2015), UCD’s Gary O’Neill (2016) as well as Cabinteely’s Marty Waters (2017).

He scored 32 penalties. Eight of them were scored against Shamrock Rovers with ten spot kicks converted at Dalymount Park. Byrne never scored one in his first spell at Bray as Colm Tresson and Eddie Gormley were on penalty taking duties at the time. He last missed a penalty against Sligo Rovers in April 2014 when Gary Rogers saved his 95th minute effort.

Byrne’s landmark goals were when he got his half century on the opening day of the 2003 season, scored his 100th goal against Longford Town in June 2005, reached 150 goals with a penalty at Tallaght Stadium in May 2009 and smashed the 200 goal barrier in June 2013 by hitting the back of the net four times at the UCD Bowl. It took Brendan Bradley 14 seasons to reach 200 goals; Byrne accomplished it in his 15th season.

Strike rate, league wins, best/worst totals and runs, awards
Byrne had a 44% strike rate in his League of Ireland career. It was 41% at Bray Wanderers, 66% with Shelbourne and 39% for Bohemians. He only scored a goal every four games for Dundalk and UCD. His worst performance in a single season was 1 goal (0.05 goals per game) in 2015. He has scored in 170 games overall, his season best being 18 games in 2004.

Byrne has five Premier Division winners’ medals from 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009, with a last minute strike for Bohs against Drogheda to seal the 2008 title. He was voted PFAI Players’ Player of the Year in 2003 and 2004. The 2004 season was a personal best for the Dubliner as he hit 25 league goals for Shelbourne, played in a dream Champions League Third Qualifying Round tie with Deportivo and earned his first cap for the Republic of Ireland international team. He scored his first hat-trick for the Reds on the 4th of June 2004, the night before his wedding day!

Byrne played in the fewest number of games in his final season for Cabinteely. He only made 17 appearances in his first season because he broke his ankle in January 1999 and missed the rest of the league campaign, famously returning to score in Bray’s FAI Cup final triumph. He was ever-present for the Wanderers in 2013.

Byrne’s record goalscoring run in the League of Ireland was nine games in a row for Shelbourne from November 2003 to April 2004. His single season best is seven from July to September 2003. When Bray Wanderers took on Drogheda United on 24 May 2013, Byrne had not scored in his last 10 games for the club.

By the time he left UCD campus a fortnight later he had helped himself to consecutive hat-tricks, scoring seven goals in two games! However, that was not his worst scoreless streak. He went 20 matches (3 starts) without a goal from May 2015 to July 2016. Other droughts were the 12 games from October 1998 to September 1999, 11 during the 2001/02 season (all starts) and 12 from October 2016 to October 2017.

Byrne won a record six Player of the Month awards, in September 1998 (Bray), September 2003 (Shelbourne), April 2004 (Shelbourne), October 2005 (Shelbourne), May 2012 (Bray) and June 2013 (Bray). He scored 8 goals in both September 2004 and September 2005 but didn’t win the prize in either of those months – instead it went to Daryl Murphy (Waterford United) and Peter Hutton (Derry City) respectively.

Clubs, home/away, venues, first/second half, Cardiff, goalscoring sub
Byrne scored against 23 different clubs. In 2004 and 2009, he scored against every team in the league (nine of them). He netted in all four meetings with Dublin City in 2004 with a total of eight goals against the Vikings. The 2015 campaign was the first time in eight seasons that he failed to score against Drogheda United. He went six straight seasons without scoring against Shamrock Rovers (2010-15).

Byrne scored 17 home goals in 2005 and 11 away goals in 2004. The most home goals have come against St. Patrick’s Athletic (16) and the most on his travels to Shamrock Rovers (12), scoring in five different away grounds against the Hoops; Tolka Park, Morton Stadium, Richmond Park, Dalymount Park and Tallaght Stadium.

Byrne scored in 24 different stadiums. The most home goals were scored at Tolka Park (52) with eleven away goals in the Drumcondra venue against three different clubs – Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers and Dublin City. The first and last league goals of his senior career were scored at Tolka, 19 years apart. 124 goals of the goals were scored in Dublin and he last found the net at the Brandywell in 2004. He never scored at St Colman’s Park or Ferrycarrig Park.

In a game in September 2005, he had completed a hat-trick for Shelbourne against Waterford United by half-time. However, Byrne’s quickest hat-trick was in the last 17 minutes of Bohemians’ 5-0 win over Dundalk in May 2009, adding a fourth goal in injury-time. He has scored in the first minute of a game on three occasions; v Derry in February 2001, v Longford in September 2001 and after just 33 seconds at home to St Pat’s in May 2003.

Byrne notched one league goal for Cardiff City in the Championship. He came off the bench to make his debut in January 2007, scoring the winner with two minutes to go in a 2-1 victory over Wolves at Molineux. Each of his last six goals have come as a substitute. In this country, he scored as a sub four other times, all for Bohs, against Finn Harps in June 2008, St. Pat’s in September 2008 and twice v UCD in March 2010 and March 2014.

Brendan Bradley scored one goal for then Irish League side Derry City and it was his debut against Coleraine in the North-West City Cup final on the 11th of May 1968. He scored 12 league goals for Lincoln City in the 1972-73 season and one in the FA Cup. Bradley scored 7 of his LOI goals in the First Division while Byrne scored 12.

In all competitions for League of Ireland clubs, Bradley netted 307 goals including 22 in the FAI Cup and one Cup Winners’ Cup strike in 1974. Byrne is on 281 overall, with 28 FAI Cup and 10 European goals.

1998-99 Premier Division
04.09.98 – Shamrock Rovers 0-1 Bray Wanderers…1
19.09.98 – Bray Wanderers 1-0 Shelbourne…1
25.09.98 – Bohemians 1-2 Bray Wanderers…1
17.10.98 – Bray Wanderers 6-0 Waterford United…2

1999-00 First Division
11.09.99 – Bray Wanderers 5-0 Cobh Ramblers…1
30.10.99 – Kilkenny City 5-1 Bray Wanderers…1
28.01.00 – Athlone Town 1-1 Bray Wanderers…1
15.02.00 – Bray Wanderers 5-1 Home Farm Fingal…1
18.02.00 – Limerick FC 1-2 Bray Wanderers…1
08.04.00 – Home Farm Fingal 2-2 Bray Wanderers…1
11.04.00 – Bray Wanderers 3-1 Athlone Town…1

2000-01 Premier Division
13.08.00 – Shelbourne 0-1 Bray Wanderers…1
10.09.00 – Bray Wanderers 2-2 Shamrock Rovers…2
06.10.00 – Bray Wanderers 3-0 Kilkenny City…1
29.10.00 – Bray Wanderers 2-2 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1
12.01.01 – Bray Wanderers 3-1 Longford Town…1
09.02.01 – Bray Wanderers 2-1 Derry City…1
01.04.01 – Shamrock Rovers 1-2 Bray Wanderers…2
29.04.01 – Longford Town 1-3 Bray Wanderers…1
06.05.01 – Bray Wanderers 4-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1

2001-02 Premier Division
17.08.01 – Galway United 0-2 Bray Wanderers…1
19.09.01 – Bray Wanderers 5-1 Longford Town…2
21.09.01 – Bray Wanderers 5-1 Dundalk…3
06.01.02 – Bray Wanderers 2-1 Shamrock Rovers…2
31.01.02 – Derry City 1-2 Bray Wanderers…1
01.03.02 – Bray Wanderers 4-1 Longford Town…3
16.03.02 – Monaghan United 0-3 Bray Wanderers…1
25.03.02 – Bray Wanderers 1-2 Dundalk…1

2002-03 Premier Division
12.07.02 – UCD 1-1 Bray Wanderers…1
05.08.02 – Bray Wanderers 1-5 Shelbourne…1
30.08.02 – Bray Wanderers 3-2 Drogheda United…2
13.09.02 – Bray Wanderers 3-3 Derry City…2
23.09.02 – St. Patrick’s Athletic 1-2 Bray Wanderers…1
29.11.02 – Bray Wanderers 2-0 Longford Town…2
08.12.02 – Bray Wanderers 1-3 Bohemians…1
13.12.02 – St. Patrick’s Athletic 1-4 Bray Wanderers…2

2003 Premier Division
11.04.03 – Waterford United 0-4 Shelbourne…2
18.04.03 – Shelbourne 1-0 Derry City…1
22.04.03 – Shelbourne 3-2 Longford Town..1
25.04.03 – Drogheda United 1-1 Shelbourne…1
02.05.03 – Shelbourne 2-2 St. Patrick’s Athletic…2
18.07.03 – Shelbourne 1-1 UCD…1
07.08.03 – Shelbourne 1-1 Cork City…1
01.09.03 – Waterford United 1-2 Shelbourne…1
05.09.03 – Shelbourne 3-1 Derry City…1
19.09.03 – Shelbourne 2-1 Longford Town…2 (1p)
23.09.03 – Drogheda United 0-1 Shelbourne…1
26.09.03 – Shelbourne 2-0 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1
28.10.03 – Shamrock Rovers 2-4 Shelbourne…2 (1p)
17.11.03 – Shelbourne 2-0 Drogheda United…1
21.11.03 – Shelbourne 2-0 Cork City…1
24.11.03 – Longford Town 2-1 Shelbourne…1
28.11.03 – Shamrock Rovers 1-1 Shelbourne…1 (p)

2004 Premier Division
19.03.04 – Shelbourne 1-0 Shamrock Rovers…1
27.03.04 – Derry City 0-2 Shelbourne…1
02.04.04 – Shelbourne 3-0 Drogheda United…1
05.04.04 – Bohemians 1-1 Shelbourne…1 (p)
09.04.04 – Shelbourne 2-1 Dublin City…1 (p)
16.04.04 – Shelbourne 1-1 Longford Town…1
30.04.04 – Shelbourne 2-0 St. Patrick’s Athletic…2
04.06.04 – Dublin City 1-3 Shelbourne…3
08.06.04 – Shelbourne 2-2 Cork City…1 (p)
18.06.04 – Shelbourne 1-0 Waterford United…1
01.09.04 – Waterford United 3-1 Shelbourne…1
06.09.04 – Shelbourne 4-1 Dublin City…3
20.09.04 – Shelbourne 3-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1
24.09.04 – Shamrock Rovers 1-4 Shelbourne…3 (1p)
08.10.04 – Drogheda United 2-5 Shelbourne…1
15.10.04 – Shelbourne 1-1 Bohemians…1
21.10.04 – Dublin City 2-3 Shelbourne…1
12.11.04 – Shelbourne 2-1 Waterford United…1

2005 Premier Division
01.04.05 – Shelbourne 1-0 Waterford United…1 (p)
21.04.05 – Longford Town 0-2 Shelbourne…1
29.04.05 – Shelbourne 4-1 Bray Wanderers…1
06.05.05 – Shelbourne 3-0 Finn Harps…1
27.06.05 – Shelbourne 1-0 Longford Town…1
01.07.05 – Shelbourne 1-2 Derry City…1
08.08.05 – Shelbourne 3-3 Drogheda United…1
19.08.05 – Shelbourne 2-1 Bohemians…1 (p)
02.09.05 – Shelbourne 4-2 UCD…3 (1p)
09.09.05 – Shamrock Rovers 0-2 Shelbourne…1 (p)
16.09.05 – Shelbourne 5-0 Waterford United…3
23.09.05 – Finn Harps 0-3 Shelbourne…1
15.10.05 – Longford Town 0-2 Shelbourne…1
28.10.05 – Shelbourne 1-0 Finn Harps…1
31.10.05 – Shelbourne 5-0 Bray Wanderers…3 (1p)
18.11.05 – Bohemians 0-3 Shelbourne…1

2006 Premier Division
10.03.06 – Bray Wanderers 2-2 Shelbourne…2 (1p)
24.03.06 – St. Patrick’s Athletic 2-2 Shelbourne…1
07.04.06 – Waterford United 0-1 Shelbourne…1
15.05.06 – Cork City 2-1 Shelbourne…1 (p)
02.06.06 – Shelbourne 4-1 Bray Wanderers…1
06.06.06 – Shelbourne 1-0 Derry City…1
27.06.06 – Shelbourne 3-0 St. Patrick’s Athletic…2
21.07.06 – Shelbourne 6-0 UCD…2
28.07.06 – Shelbourne 3-0 Sligo Rovers…2
11.08.06 – Shelbourne 2-2 Cork City…1
20.10.06 – UCD 0-2 Shelbourne…1

2008 Premier Division
28.03.08 – Bohemians 3-0 Finn Harps…1 (p)
11.04.08 – Bohemians 1-1 Bray Wanderers…1 (p)
24.06.08 – Finn Harps 0-2 Bohemians…1 (p)
01.08.08 – Bohemians 3-0 Cobh Ramblers…1
08.09.08 – Bohemians 3-0 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1
10.10.08 – Drogheda United 1-2 Bohemians…2

2009 Premier Division
20.03.09 – Bohemians 2-0 Shamrock Rovers…2 (1p)
07.04.09 – Galway United 0-2 Bohemians…2
11.04.09 – Bohemians 3-0 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1
24.04.09 – Bohemians 2-0 Bray Wanderers…1
01.05.09 – Bohemians 5-0 Dundalk…4 (1p)
16.05.09 – Shamrock Rovers 2-1 Bohemians…1 (p)
29.05.09 – Cork City 0-1 Bohemians…1
02.06.09 – Bohemians 2-0 Galway United…1 (p)
19.06.09 – Bohemians 2-0 Sligo Rovers…1 (p)
03.07.09 – Bray Wanderers 1-3 Bohemians…1 (p)
19.07.09 – Bohemians 1-0 Derry City…1
18.09.09 – Bohemians 3-2 Dundalk…2
09.10.09 – Bohemians 4-0 Drogheda United…1
20.10.09 – Bohemians 3-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1
30.10.09 – Bohemians 3-1 Sligo Rovers…1
06.11.09 – Bray Wanderers 1-1 Bohemians…1

2010 Premier Division
16.03.10 – UCD 1-2 Bohemians…1
19.03.10 – Drogheda United 2-4 Bohemians…2
06.04.10 – Bohemians 1-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1
16.04.10 – Bohemians 2-3 Galway United…1
08.05.10 – Sligo Rovers 1-2 Bohemians…1
21.05.10 – St. Patrick’s Athletic 3-1 Bohemians…1
10.09.10 – Bohemians 3-1 UCD…1
13.09.10 – Bohemians 2-0 Drogheda United…1
05.10.10 – Bohemians 1-0 Shamrock Rovers…1
22.10.10 – Galway United 3-2 Bohemians…1 (p)
29.10.10 – Bohemians 3-1 Dundalk…1 (p)

2011 Premier Division
04.03.11 – Shamrock Rovers 3-1 Dundalk…1 (p)
11.03.11 – Dundalk 3-2 Galway United…1
01.04.11 – Dundalk 3-1 UCD…1
15.04.11 – Dundalk 1-1 Sligo Rovers…1
02.05.11 – Dundalk 1-1 Shamrock Rovers…1 (p)
12.08.11 – Drogheda United 2-2 Dundalk…1

2012 Premier Division
16.03.12 – UCD 2-3 Bray Wanderers…1
23.03.12 – Bray Wanderers 2-4 Drogheda United…1
30.03.12 – Cork City 1-1 Bray Wanderers…1
13.04.12 – Shelbourne 2-1 Bray Wanderers…1
27.04.12 – Monaghan United 0-1 Bray Wanderers…1*
04.05.12 – Bray Wanderers 2-1 Bohemians…1
11.05.12 – Dundalk 0-2 Bray Wanderers…2 (2p)
18.05.12 – Bray Wanderers 3-3 St. Patrick’s Athletic…2
01.06.12 – Bray Wanderers 3-1 UCD…2
07.07.12 – Sligo Rovers 1-1 Bray Wanderers…1
19.10.12 – Bray Wanderers 1-4 Bohemians…1 (p)

2013 Premier Division
08.03.13 – Bray Wanderers 1-0 Shelbourne…1
24.03.13 – Drogheda United 2-1 Bray Wanderers…1
29.03.13 – Bray Wanderers 2-2 UCD…1
24.05.13 – Bray Wanderers 3-2 Drogheda United…3
08.06.13 – UCD 4-5 Bray Wanderers…4
19.07.13 – Bray Wanderers 1-3 Bohemians…1 (p)
04.08.13 – Bray Wanderers 1-1 Shelbourne…1
08.09.13 – Bray Wanderers 1-1 UCD…1
28.10.13 – Bray Wanderers 2-2 Longford Town…2 **

2014 Premier Division
07.03.2014 – UCD 0-3 Bohemians…1
07.04.2014 – Athlone Town 1-3 Bohemians…1
18.04.2014 – St. Patrick’s Athletic 3-1 Bohemians…1
25.04.2014 – Cork City 1-1 Bohemians…1
02.05.2014 – Bohemians 1-1 Derry City…1
15.08.2014 – Bohemians 2-1 Drogheda United…1
05.09.2014 – Bohemians 2-1 Bray Wanderers…1
26.09.2014 – Bohemians 2-0 Limerick…1
24.10.2014 – Bohemians 2-1 Derry City…1 (p)

2015 Premier Division
08.05.2015 – Bohemians 2-1 Limerick…1

2016 First Division Division
29.07.2016 – UCD 5-1 Athlone Town…1
02.09.2016 – Cabinteely 0-2 UCD…1
30.09.2016 – Waterford United 1-8 UCD…2

2017 First Division Division
07.10.2017 – Shelbourne 3-1 Cabinteely…1

* Match annulled
** Promotion/Relegation Playoff

League of Ireland Books (Update)

Athlone Town
A History of Athlone Town F.C. The First 101 Years – by Frank Lynch (1991)
Who Needs Cantona We’ve Got Rod de Khors – by Kevin O’Neill (2005)
When We Were Kings: The Story of Athlone Town’s 1924 FAI Cup Triumph – by Tadhg Carey (2009)
In Rod We Trust: How Athlone Won the League – by Kevin O’Neill (2013)

kings

Bohemians
Bohemian A.F.C. Official Club History 1890-1976 – by Tony Reid (1977)
Bohemian Football Club Golden Jubilee Reprint (1988) *
Bohemian Times: An Outline History of Bohemian Football Club & Dalymount Park 1890-1993 – by Phil Howlin (1994)
Dalymount Park: The Home of Irish Football – by Colin White (2015)

Dalymount book

Bray Wanderers
Tales of The Wanderers 1996-98 – by Colm Keane (1998)
Triumphant Seagulls: Bray Wanderers AFC 12 Days of Glory Cup Winners (1999)
More Tales of The Wanderers 1998-2000 – by Colm Keane (2000)
Bray Wanderers 25 Years in League of Ireland Football 1985-2010 – by Aidan O’Toole (2010)

Cobh Ramblers
Cobh Ramblers AFC Golden Jubilee Souvenir Brochure (1979) *

Cork & Cork Celtic/Hibs/City
Soccer Memories Volume 1, Cork – by Plunkett Carter (1980) *
Soccer Memories Volume 2, Cork – by Plunkett Carter (1982) *
Evening Echo A Century of Cork Memories – by Plunkett Carter (1996)
From The ‘Lodge to the Box: A Miscellany of Cork Soccer – by Plunkett Carter (2002)
Reflections From The Shed – by Darren O’Keeffe (2010)
The Dav: Anecdotes and Stories from Inside & Outside the Box – by Carl Davenport (2010)
Death of a Football Club? The Story of Cork City FC: Season 2008 – by Neal Horgan (2014)
Soccer in Munster: A Social History 1877-1937 – by David Toms (2015) *
Goals in Life: My Autobiography by Bobby Tambling (2016)
Second City: The Fall, Death and Rise of Cork City FC Part Two Season 2009 by Neal Horgan (2016)

horgan

Derry City
The Derry City F.C. Story 1928-1986 – by Frank Curran (1986)
A History of Derry City Football and Athletic Club 1929-1972 – by W.H.W. Platt (1986)
Come on the City: Derry City Down the Decades (1986) *
Derry City Football Club Diary of a Season Special Championship Souvenir 1986/87 – by Richard Cambell & Michael O’Donnell (1987)
Eddie McMahon’s Derry City – by Eddie McMahon (1997)
Born to Play: The Liam Coyle Story – by Joe W. Doherty (2002)
When You’ve Read Their History: 75th Anniversary of Cup Campaigns – by Derry City Sports Project Committee (2003)
How The League Was Won: Derry City’s Winning of the Irish League Championship 1964/65 – by Derry City Sports Project Committee (2005)
The Team I Loved So Well – by Gary Ferry (2008)
30 Years 1985-2015: The Journey So Far – by Gary Ferry (2015)

gary-ferry-story-pic-e1450281688526

Drogheda United
Drogheda United The Story So Far – by Tom Reilly (2007)
DUFC A Claret and Blue History – by Brian Whelan (2010)

Dundalk
The Story of Dundalk League and Shield Winners 1966-67 (1967)
My Most Difficult Opponent – by Barry Kehoe (1989) *
Dundalk FC 70th Anniversary Season Media Guide (1996)
The History of Dundalk F.C. The First 100 Years – by Jim Murphy (2003)
C’mon The Town: A Dundalk FC Miscellany – by Jim Murphy (2013)
Dundalk FC Champions 2014 Season Review – by Gavin McLaughlin (2014)
The Double: Dundalk FC – by Gavin McLaughlin (2015)
Dundalk FC: Making History – by Gavin McLaughlin (2016)

dundalk_fc_making_history_2016___front_cover

Finn Harps
The Strings of my Harps – by Patsy McGowan (1998)
The Finn Harps Story – by Bartley Ramsay (2008)
Finn Harps F.C. Our First Season: Celebrating 40 Years of League of Ireland Football (2009)
Finn Harps 1974 FAI Cup Winners 40th Anniversary Souvenir Programme (2014)
Diary of the Finn Harps Season: Promotion 2015 (2016)

Galway United
Galway United FC 25th Anniversary Celebration – by Pat Kelly & Paul O’Brien (2002)
Chick: The Eamonn Deacy Story – by Ger Geraghty (2015)

Home Farm
Home Farm Football Club Yearbook (1975) *
Home Farm The Story of a Dublin Football Club 1928-1998 – by Brendan Menton (1999)

Kilkenny City
Mud Sweat & Jeers – by Jim Rhatigan (2000)

Limerick
How Limerick Won the League – by the Limerick Leader (1980) *
The End of an Era: A History of Limerick Senior Soccer at the Markets Field 1937/1984 – by Aidan Corr & Bernard Spain (1985)

Mervue United
The History of Mervue United 1960-2010 – by Willie Henry (2011)

St Patrick’s Athletic
Back from the Brink – by Paul McGrath (2006)
For the Love of the Game: The Paul O’Brien Story – by Paul O’Brien (2016)

for_the_love_of_the_game_3_10_november_2016

Shamrock Rovers
Shamrock Rovers Three in a Row 1983/4, 84/5, 85/6 (1986)
Come on the Hoops: The Story of Shamrock Rovers Ireland’s Greatest Football Club – by Charlie Willoughby (1987)
The Hoops: A History of Shamrock Rovers – by Paul Doolan & Robert Goggins (1993)
Shamrock Rovers 100 Years – by Robert Goggins (2002)
We Are Rovers: An Oral History of Shamrock Rovers FC – by Eoghan Rice (2005)
Dyed in the Wool: Memoirs of a Hoops Fan – by Robin Browett (2005)
The Four-in-a-row Story – by Robert Goggins (2009)
Chronological History of Shamrock Rovers FC – by Robert Goggins (2012)
Through The Hoops – by Jimmy Cummins (2013)
Tallaght Time: Shamrock Rovers 2009-2012 – by Macdara Ferris & Karl Reilly (2013)

Shamrock Rovers books

Shelbourne
Shelbourne Football Club Golden Jubilee 1895-1945 Official Souvenir (1945) *
Shelbourne FC: Facts and Figures – by Frank Martin (1996)
Shelbourne Double Champions 2000 (2000) *
In Full Flood: A Memoir – by Finbarr Flood (2006)
Shelbourne Cult Heroes: From Bulawayo to Ballybough – by Sean Fitzpatrick (2009, second revised edition in 2010)
Shelbourne’s European Run 2004 – by Peter Goulding (2013)
Shels: A Grand Old Team to Know – by Christopher Sands (2016)

shels-book

Sligo Rovers
A History of Sligo Rovers – by Tony Reid (1980)
Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down! – by Billy Sinclair (1991)
They Think It’s All Over – by Declan Burke, Martin Finan & Stephen Fahy (1995)
A History of Sligo Rovers 1928-1997 – by Joe Molloy (1997)
There’s Only One Red Army – by Eamonn Sweeney (1997)
North West Frontier: Professional Football in the F.A.I. National League – by Conall Collier (1998)
Stories of the Showgrounds – by Kevin Colreavy (2014)
The Bit O’Red: A History of Sligo Rovers 1928 – 2016 by Aidan Mannion, Joe Molloy and Anthony Kilfeather

sligo-book

UCD
UCD AFC Golden Jubilee – by S.B. Hooper (1945) *
St. Patrick’s Blue & Saffron: A Miscellany of UCD Sport since 1895 – by Patrick N. Meenan (1997)

Waterford United
Singing The Blues – by Brian Kennedy (2006)
Blue, White & Dynamite: A Collection of Waterford Football Stories – by Brian Kennedy (2007)

League
Who Stole Our Game? The Fall and Fall of Irish Soccer – by Daire Whelan (2006)
Just Follow The Floodlights! The Complete Guide to League of Ireland Football – by Brian Kennedy (2011)

who-stole-our-game

FAI Cup
Gillette Book of the FAI Cup – by Sean Ryan & Terry O’Rourke (1985)
The Official Book of the FAI Cup – by Sean Ryan (2011)

faicup

Europe
Gods Vs Mortals: Irish Clubs in Europe, A Front Row Seat at 10 of the Greatest Games – by Paul Keane (2010)
Grobar: Partizan Pleasure, Pain and Paranoia. Lifting the lid on Serbia’s undertakers – by James Moor (2013)

gods-v-mortals

International
Ireland On The Ball – by Donal Cullen (1993)
The Boys in Green: The FAI International Story by Sean Ryan (1997)
The Garrison Game: The State of Irish Football – by Dave Hannigan (1998)
Ireland’s First Real World Cup: The Story of the 1924 Ireland Olympic Football Team – by David Needham (2012)
The Irish Soccer Split – by Cormac Moore (2015)

ireland-books-3

Stats
Bass Sports Book of Irish Soccer – by Noel Dunne & Sean Ryan (1975)
A Record of League of Ireland 1921/2-1984/5 – by Niall Macsweeney (1985)
The AFS Book of Inter League Matches: A Complete Record – by R.J. Spiller (1985)
The Book of Irish Goalscorers – by Sean Ryan & Stephen Burke (1987)
Irish Football Handbook 1991-92 – by Gerry Desmond & Dave Galvin (1991)
European League Results Surveys: Eire – by Dave Allen & Graeme Riley (1992)
Irish Football Handbook 1992-93 – by Gerry Desmond & Dave Galvin (1992)
Irish Football Handbook 1993-94 – by Gerry Desmond & Dave Galvin (1993)
Irish Football Handbook 1994-95 – by Gerry Desmond & Dave Galvin (1994)
National League Annual 1996 – by Michael Hayes (1995)
National League Annual 1996-97 – by Michael Hayes (1996)
National League Annual 1997-98 – by Michael Hayes (1997)
National League Annual 1998/99 – by Michael Hayes (1998)
Eircom League Annual 1999/00 – by Michael Hayes (1999)
Eircom League Annual 2001/02 – by Michael Hayes (2001)
Republic of Ireland Football League Tables and Results 1921-2005 – by Alex Graham (2006)
League of Ireland Media Guide 2009 – by Michael Hayes (2009)
Airtricity League Guide 2010 – by Michael Hayes (2010)
Republic of Ireland Football League Tables and Results 1921-2012 – by Alex Graham (2013)
SSE Airtricity League Media Guide 2017 Guide – by Kieran Crowley & Michael Hayes

book-of-irish-goalscorers

Other
League of Ireland Yearbook – by Tony Reid (1977)
The Football League of Ireland Rules and Yearbook 1989-90 (1989) *
90/91 Irish Soccer Supporter’s Guide – by Patrick Brizay (1990)
The Supporters’ Guide to Irish Football 1998 – by John Robinson (1997)
Football in Ireland – by Peter Miles (1999)
The Supporters’ Guide to Eircom FAI Clubs 2005 – by John Robinson (2005)
The Supporters’ Guide to Eircom FAI Clubs 2006 – by John Robinson (2006)

———————-

Since I posted this list a year ago, I have kindly been sent two Derry books, a Cork poetry book and three Finn Harps booklets – the 40th anniversary of their League membership and FAI Cup win and a 2015 promotion season diary.

I bought ‘Irish Soccer Split’, memoirs by former Shelbourne chairman Finbar Flood and ex-Sligo manager Billy Sinclair and picked up all five new ones released in late 2016.

They were the Dundalk Season Review, a massive 590-page history of Sligo Rovers and autobiographies by Bobby Tambling, Paul O’Brien and Neal Horgan.

It brings my LOI related collection to 112.

Not shown above are:

Many booklets and souvenirs, by Derry, Dundalk, Drogheda and Monaghan, for example. I haven’t included everything in this category, just the ones I own and that I’m looking for, which I have placed a * beside.

Maureen O’Hara (Shamrock Rovers), Keith Gillespie (Longford Town) and Roy Keane (Cobh Ramblers) mention LOI clubs in their autobiographies.

Tony Reid wrote a history of Waterford in the 1970s. There are also books on the Leinster Football Association, Leinster Senior League, Munster Football Assocation and Munster Senior League, as well as non-league clubs.

I bought the MSL one written by Gerry Desmond and Dave Galvin, the same authors of the Irish Handbooks in the 90s, and a Glenmore Celtic Golden Jubilee.

You will find the results and goalscorers of every league game from the 1987-88 to 2015 seasons in the European Football Yearbooks, except 1988-89, 1989-90 and 2003.

Airtricity League Media Guides were released in PDFs in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 but I have never seen one, either in print or online, for the 2011 season.

I’ve one other e-book, ‘The Irish Brawn Drain’, which was published by the British Journal of Sociology in 2000.

If anyone wants any information on these, please get in touch.

The Byrne Supremacy IV

jason-byrne-signs-for-cabinteely-fc

This is my third update of the definitive record of Jason Byrne’s career.

Byrne, who turns 39 next week, will continue his quest to become the all-time leading goalscorer in the League of Ireland as the striker recently signed for Cabinteely.

He has only managed to grab 5 league goals in the last two seasons, in just 3 starts, to bring his tally to 221 – 14 behind Brendan Bradley’s record.

All the statistics and analysis below has been fully updated up to the end of 2016. The FAI count playoff matches towards a player’s league record so I have done the same here.

To ensure accuracy I went through each and every league goal on http://www.soccerbot.com and then compared them to various sources, including European Football Yearbooks, National League Annuals, http://www.irishfootballonline.com (now closed down), http://www.braywanderers.com, http://www.extratime.ie and http://www.sseairtricityleague.ie.

I discovered only a few minor errors on Soccerbot; there was an incorrect date and two instances where they did not put a goal down as a penalty kick. However, there were many inconsistencies when it came to his total appearances (including the Airtricity League Media Guide) so they took a lot longer to finally get right.

Once again, dedicated to Pat Morley.

League total – 409 (79) appearances, 221 goals
1998-99 – Bray Wanderers – 15 (2) appearances, 5 goals
1999-00 – Bray Wanderers – 26 (7) appearances, 7 goals
2000-01 – Bray Wanderers – 30 appearances, 11 goals
2001-02 – Bray Wanderers – 29 (1) appearances, 14 goals
2002-03 – Bray Wanderers – 20 appearances, 12 goals
2003 – Shelbourne – 34 appearances, 21 goals
2004 – Shelbourne – 33 (1) appearances, 25 goals
2005 – Shelbourne – 31 appearances, 22 goals
2006 – Shelbourne – 22 (4) appearances, 15 goals
2008 – Bohemians – 17 (12) appearances, 7 goals
2009 – Bohemians – 32 (2) appearances, 22 goals
2010 – Bohemians – 24 (6) appearances, 12 goals
2011 – Dundalk – 19 (5) appearances, 6 goals
2012 – Bray Wanderers – 25 appearances, 13 goals
2013 – Bray Wanderers – 33 (2) appearances, 15 goals
2014 – Bohemians – 16 (3) appearances, 9 goals
2015 – Bohemians – 2 (18) appearances, 1 goal
2016 – UCD – 1 (16) appearances, 4 goals

League total – 488 appearances, 221 goals
Bray Wanderers – 190 appearances, 77 goals
Shelbourne – 125 appearances, 83 goals
Bohemians – 132 appearances, 51 goals
Dundalk – 24 appearances, 6 goals
UCD – 17 appearances, 4 goals

League
Premier Division – 208
First Division – 11
Playoff – 2

Halves
First half – 98
Second half – 123

When Byrne scored, his team…
Won – 116
Drew – 34
Lost – 19

Hat-tricks
4 goals – 2 times
3 goals – 9 times
2 goals – 28 times
1 goal – 130 times

Goals by club
St. Patrick’s Athletic – 22
Shamrock Rovers – 21
UCD – 21
Drogheda United – 21
Longford Town – 19
Waterford United – 15
Dundalk – 13
Bray Wanderers – 12
Derry City – 12
Bohemians – 9
Dublin City – 8
Cork City – 8
Galway United – 7
Sligo Rovers – 7
Shelbourne – 6
Finn Harps – 5
Athlone Town – 4
Limerick – 3
Home Farm – 2
Kilkenny City – 2
Cobh Ramblers – 2
Monaghan United – 1
Cabinteely – 1

Home/Away
Home – 138
Away – 83

Province
Leinster – 198
Munster – 12
Connacht – 6
Ulster – 5

Goals by venue
Tolka Park – 62
Carlisle Grounds – 53
Dalymount Park – 36
Hunky Dorys Park – 9
Richmond Park – 9
UCD Bowl – 8
RSC – 7
Oriel Park – 6
Flancare Park – 4
Terryland Park – 4
Turner’s Cross – 4
Morton Stadium – 2
The Brandywell – 2
Belfield Park – 2
Finn Park – 2
Tallaght Stadium – 2
The Showgrounds – 2
Buckley Park – 1
St. Mel’s Park – 1
Hogan Park – 1
Whitehall – 1
Century Holmes Park – 1
Lissywollen – 1
Stradbrook – 1

Months
September – 47
April – 33
October – 28
March – 25
May – 24
June – 19
August – 13
July – 12
November – 9
January – 5
February – 3
December – 3

Days
Friday – 141
Monday – 23
Tuesday – 18
Saturday – 17
Sunday – 15
Thursday – 4
Wednesday – 3

Note: Byrne started two games against Dublin City in 2006 and one against Monaghan United in 2012. He scored at Gortakeegan, which was wiped from the record when Monaghan withdrew from the league mid-season (à la Dublin City). These 3 appearances and 1 goal, while listed at the bottom of the post for completeness, are discounted from all facts and figures.

Debut, top scorer record, penalties, landmarks
Jason Byrne made his league debut for newly promoted Bray Wanderers on 30 August 1998 in a 1-0 defeat at home to Cork City. He scored in his next game against Shamrock Rovers at Tolka Park. From a corner, in the 54th minute, Byrne was unmarked at the near post and his rising header finished in the top right hand corner of the net gave Forde no chance. In his first spell with Bray they rarely lost a game in which he scored, winning 12 in a row from January 2001 to March 2002.

Byrne is the only player in history to be League of Ireland top goalscorer in four consecutive seasons which he achieved with Shelbourne from 2003 to 2006. He wasn’t the highest league scorer at his club on six occasions; that honour went to Bray’s Barry O’Connor in 1999-00 (having been joint best with him the previous season), Killian Brennan for Bohemians in 2008, Dundalk’s Mark Quigley in 2011, Bohs strikers Dinny Corcoran (2014), Ismahil Akinade (2015) as well as UCD’s Gary O’Neill (2016)

He has scored 32 penalties to date. Eight of them have been scored against Shamrock Rovers with ten spot kicks converted at Dalymount Park. Byrne never scored one in his first spell at Bray as Colm Tresson and Eddie Gormley were on penalty taking duties at the time. He last missed a penalty against Sligo Rovers in April 2014 when Gary Rogers saved his 95th minute effort.

Byrne’s landmark goals were when he got his half century on the opening day of the 2003 season, scored his 100th goal against Longford Town in June 2005, reached 150 goals with a penalty at Tallaght Stadium in May 2009 and smashed the 200 goal barrier in June 2013 by hitting the back of the net four times at the UCD Bowl. It took Brendan Bradley 14 seasons to reach 200 goals; Byrne accomplished it in his 15th season.

Strike rate, league wins, best/worst totals and runs, awards
Byrne currently has a 45% strike rate in his League of Ireland career. It was 41% at Bray Wanderers, 66% with Shelbourne and 39% for Bohemians. He only scored a goal every four games for Dundalk and UCD. His worst performance in a single season was 1 goal (0.05 goals per game) in 2015. He has scored in 169 games overall, his season best being 18 games in 2004.

Byrne has five Premier Division winners’ medals from 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009, with a last minute strike for Bohs against Drogheda to seal the 2008 title. He was voted PFAI Players’ Player of the Year in 2003 and 2004. The 2004 season was a personal best for the Dubliner as he hit 25 league goals for Shelbourne, played in a dream Champions League Third Qualifying Round tie with Deportivo and earned his first cap for the Republic of Ireland international team. He scored his first hat-trick for the Reds on 4 June 2004, the night before his wedding day!

Byrne played in the fewest number of games in 1998-99 and 2016 but he broke his ankle in January 1999 and missed the rest of the league campaign, famously returning to score in Bray’s FAI Cup final triumph. He was ever-present for the Wanderers in 2013.

Byrne’s record goalscoring run in the League of Ireland is nine games in a row for Shelbourne from November 2003 to April 2004. His single season best is seven from July to September 2003. When Bray Wanderers took on Drogheda United on 24 May 2013, Byrne had not scored in his last 10 games for the club.

By the time he left UCD campus a fortnight later he had helped himself to consecutive hat-tricks, scoring seven goals in two games! However, that was not his worst scoreless streak. He went 20 matches (3 starts) without a goal from May 2015 to July 2016. Other droughts were the 12 games from October 1998 to September 1999 and 11 during the 2001/02 season (all starts).

Byrne has won a record six Player of the Month awards, in September 1998 (Bray), September 2003 (Shelbourne), April 2004 (Shelbourne), October 2005 (Shelbourne), May 2012 (Bray) and June 2013 (Bray). He scored 8 goals in both September 2004 and September 2005 but didn’t win the prize in either of those months – instead it went to Daryl Murphy (Waterford United) and Peter Hutton (Derry City) respectively.

Clubs, home/away, venues, first/second half, Cardiff, goalscoring sub
Byrne has scored against 23 different clubs. In 2004 and 2009, he scored against every team in the league (nine of them). He netted in all four meetings with Dublin City in 2004 with a total of eight goals against the Vikings. The 2015 campaign was the first time in eight seasons that he failed to score against Drogheda United and he is set to face Wexford for the first time. He went six straight seasons without scoring against Shamrock Rovers (2010-15).

Byrne scored 17 home goals in 2005 and 11 away goals in 2004. The most home goals have come against St. Patrick’s Athletic (16) and the most on his travels to Shamrock Rovers (12), scoring in five different away grounds against the Hoops; Tolka Park, Morton Stadium, Richmond Park, Dalymount Park and Tallaght Stadium.

Byrne has scored in 24 different stadiums so far. The most home goals have been scored in Tolka Park (52) with ten away goals in the Drumcondra venue against three different clubs – Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers and Dublin City. 123 goals of the goals were scored in Dublin and he last found the net at the Brandywell in 2004. There are two new venues for him to score in this season – St Colman’s Park and Ferrycarrig Park.

In September 2005 he had completed a hat-trick for Shelbourne against Waterford United by half-time. Byrne’s quickest hat-trick though was in the last 17 minutes of Bohemians’ 5-0 win over Dundalk in May 2009, adding a fourth goal in injury time. He has scored in the first minute of a game on three occasions; v Derry in February 2001, v Longford in September 2001 and after just 33 seconds at home to St. Pat’s in May 2003.

Byrne notched one league goal for Cardiff City in the Championship. He came off the bench to make his debut on 20 January 2007, scoring the winner with two minutes to go in a 2-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux. Each of his last five goals have come as a substitute. In this country, he scored as a sub four other times, all for Bohs, v Finn Harps in June 2008, v St. Pat’s in September 2008 and twice v UCD in March 2010 and March 2014.

Brendan Bradley scored one goal for then Irish League side Derry City and it was his debut against Coleraine in the North-West City Cup final on 11 May 1968. He scored 12 league goals for Lincoln City in the 1972-73 season and one in the FAI Cup. Bradley scored 7 of his LOI goals in the First Division while Byrne scored 11.

In all competitions for League of Ireland clubs, Bradley netted 307 goals including 22 in the FAI Cup and one Cup Winners’ Cup strike in 1974. Byrne is on 280 overall, with 28 FAI Cup and 10 European goals.

1998-99 Premier Division
04.09.98 – Shamrock Rovers 0-1 Bray Wanderers…1
19.09.98 – Bray Wanderers 1-0 Shelbourne…1
25.09.98 – Bohemians 1-2 Bray Wanderers…1
17.10.98 – Bray Wanderers 6-0 Waterford United…2

1999-00 First Division
11.09.99 – Bray Wanderers 5-0 Cobh Ramblers…1
30.10.99 – Kilkenny City 5-1 Bray Wanderers…1
28.01.00 – Athlone Town 1-1 Bray Wanderers…1
15.02.00 – Bray Wanderers 5-1 Home Farm Fingal…1
18.02.00 – Limerick FC 1-2 Bray Wanderers…1
08.04.00 – Home Farm Fingal 2-2 Bray Wanderers…1
11.04.00 – Bray Wanderers 3-1 Athlone Town…1

2000-01 Premier Division
13.08.00 – Shelbourne 0-1 Bray Wanderers…1
10.09.00 – Bray Wanderers 2-2 Shamrock Rovers…2
06.10.00 – Bray Wanderers 3-0 Kilkenny City…1
29.10.00 – Bray Wanderers 2-2 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1
12.01.01 – Bray Wanderers 3-1 Longford Town…1
09.02.01 – Bray Wanderers 2-1 Derry City…1
01.04.01 – Shamrock Rovers 1-2 Bray Wanderers…2
29.04.01 – Longford Town 1-3 Bray Wanderers…1
06.05.01 – Bray Wanderers 4-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1

2001-02 Premier Division
17.08.01 – Galway United 0-2 Bray Wanderers…1
19.09.01 – Bray Wanderers 5-1 Longford Town…2
21.09.01 – Bray Wanderers 5-1 Dundalk…3
06.01.02 – Bray Wanderers 2-1 Shamrock Rovers…2
31.01.02 – Derry City 1-2 Bray Wanderers…1
01.03.02 – Bray Wanderers 4-1 Longford Town…3
16.03.02 – Monaghan United 0-3 Bray Wanderers…1
25.03.02 – Bray Wanderers 1-2 Dundalk…1

2002-03 Premier Division
12.07.02 – UCD 1-1 Bray Wanderers…1
05.08.02 – Bray Wanderers 1-5 Shelbourne…1
30.08.02 – Bray Wanderers 3-2 Drogheda United…2
13.09.02 – Bray Wanderers 3-3 Derry City…2
23.09.02 – St. Patrick’s Athletic 1-2 Bray Wanderers…1
29.11.02 – Bray Wanderers 2-0 Longford Town…2
08.12.02 – Bray Wanderers 1-3 Bohemians…1
13.12.02 – St. Patrick’s Athletic 1-4 Bray Wanderers…2

2003 Premier Division
11.04.03 – Waterford United 0-4 Shelbourne…2
18.04.03 – Shelbourne 1-0 Derry City…1
22.04.03 – Shelbourne 3-2 Longford Town..1
25.04.03 – Drogheda United 1-1 Shelbourne…1
02.05.03 – Shelbourne 2-2 St. Patrick’s Athletic…2
18.07.03 – Shelbourne 1-1 UCD…1
07.08.03 – Shelbourne 1-1 Cork City…1
01.09.03 – Waterford United 1-2 Shelbourne…1
05.09.03 – Shelbourne 3-1 Derry City…1
19.09.03 – Shelbourne 2-1 Longford Town…2 (1p)
23.09.03 – Drogheda United 0-1 Shelbourne…1
26.09.03 – Shelbourne 2-0 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1
28.10.03 – Shamrock Rovers 2-4 Shelbourne…2 (1p)
17.11.03 – Shelbourne 2-0 Drogheda United…1
21.11.03 – Shelbourne 2-0 Cork City…1
24.11.03 – Longford Town 2-1 Shelbourne…1
28.11.03 – Shamrock Rovers 1-1 Shelbourne…1 (p)

2004 Premier Division
19.03.04 – Shelbourne 1-0 Shamrock Rovers…1
27.03.04 – Derry City 0-2 Shelbourne…1
02.04.04 – Shelbourne 3-0 Drogheda United…1
05.04.04 – Bohemians 1-1 Shelbourne…1 (p)
09.04.04 – Shelbourne 2-1 Dublin City…1 (p)
16.04.04 – Shelbourne 1-1 Longford Town…1
30.04.04 – Shelbourne 2-0 St. Patrick’s Athletic…2
04.06.04 – Dublin City 1-3 Shelbourne…3
08.06.04 – Shelbourne 2-2 Cork City…1 (p)
18.06.04 – Shelbourne 1-0 Waterford United…1
01.09.04 – Waterford United 3-1 Shelbourne…1
06.09.04 – Shelbourne 4-1 Dublin City…3
20.09.04 – Shelbourne 3-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1
24.09.04 – Shamrock Rovers 1-4 Shelbourne…3 (1p)
08.10.04 – Drogheda United 2-5 Shelbourne…1
15.10.04 – Shelbourne 1-1 Bohemians…1
21.10.04 – Dublin City 2-3 Shelbourne…1
12.11.04 – Shelbourne 2-1 Waterford United…1

2005 Premier Division
01.04.05 – Shelbourne 1-0 Waterford United…1 (p)
21.04.05 – Longford Town 0-2 Shelbourne…1
29.04.05 – Shelbourne 4-1 Bray Wanderers…1
06.05.05 – Shelbourne 3-0 Finn Harps…1
27.06.05 – Shelbourne 1-0 Longford Town…1
01.07.05 – Shelbourne 1-2 Derry City…1
08.08.05 – Shelbourne 3-3 Drogheda United…1
19.08.05 – Shelbourne 2-1 Bohemians…1 (p)
02.09.05 – Shelbourne 4-2 UCD…3 (1p)
09.09.05 – Shamrock Rovers 0-2 Shelbourne…1 (p)
16.09.05 – Shelbourne 5-0 Waterford United…3
23.09.05 – Finn Harps 0-3 Shelbourne…1
15.10.05 – Longford Town 0-2 Shelbourne…1
28.10.05 – Shelbourne 1-0 Finn Harps…1
31.10.05 – Shelbourne 5-0 Bray Wanderers…3 (1p)
18.11.05 – Bohemians 0-3 Shelbourne…1

2006 Premier Division
10.03.06 – Bray Wanderers 2-2 Shelbourne…2 (1p)
24.03.06 – St. Patrick’s Athletic 2-2 Shelbourne…1
07.04.06 – Waterford United 0-1 Shelbourne…1
15.05.06 – Cork City 2-1 Shelbourne…1 (p)
02.06.06 – Shelbourne 4-1 Bray Wanderers…1
06.06.06 – Shelbourne 1-0 Derry City…1
27.06.06 – Shelbourne 3-0 St. Patrick’s Athletic…2
21.07.06 – Shelbourne 6-0 UCD…2
28.07.06 – Shelbourne 3-0 Sligo Rovers…2
11.08.06 – Shelbourne 2-2 Cork City…1
20.10.06 – UCD 0-2 Shelbourne…1

2008 Premier Division
28.03.08 – Bohemians 3-0 Finn Harps…1 (p)
11.04.08 – Bohemians 1-1 Bray Wanderers…1 (p)
24.06.08 – Finn Harps 0-2 Bohemians…1 (p)
01.08.08 – Bohemians 3-0 Cobh Ramblers…1
08.09.08 – Bohemians 3-0 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1
10.10.08 – Drogheda United 1-2 Bohemians…2

2009 Premier Division
20.03.09 – Bohemians 2-0 Shamrock Rovers…2 (1p)
07.04.09 – Galway United 0-2 Bohemians…2
11.04.09 – Bohemians 3-0 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1
24.04.09 – Bohemians 2-0 Bray Wanderers…1
01.05.09 – Bohemians 5-0 Dundalk…4 (1p)
16.05.09 – Shamrock Rovers 2-1 Bohemians…1 (p)
29.05.09 – Cork City 0-1 Bohemians…1
02.06.09 – Bohemians 2-0 Galway United…1 (p)
19.06.09 – Bohemians 2-0 Sligo Rovers…1 (p)
03.07.09 – Bray Wanderers 1-3 Bohemians…1 (p)
19.07.09 – Bohemians 1-0 Derry City…1
18.09.09 – Bohemians 3-2 Dundalk…2
09.10.09 – Bohemians 4-0 Drogheda United…1
20.10.09 – Bohemians 3-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1
30.10.09 – Bohemians 3-1 Sligo Rovers…1
06.11.09 – Bray Wanderers 1-1 Bohemians…1

2010 Premier Division
16.03.10 – UCD 1-2 Bohemians…1
19.03.10 – Drogheda United 2-4 Bohemians…2
06.04.10 – Bohemians 1-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic…1
16.04.10 – Bohemians 2-3 Galway United…1
08.05.10 – Sligo Rovers 1-2 Bohemians…1
21.05.10 – St. Patrick’s Athletic 3-1 Bohemians…1
10.09.10 – Bohemians 3-1 UCD…1
13.09.10 – Bohemians 2-0 Drogheda United…1
05.10.10 – Bohemians 1-0 Shamrock Rovers…1
22.10.10 – Galway United 3-2 Bohemians…1 (p)
29.10.10 – Bohemians 3-1 Dundalk…1 (p)

2011 Premier Division
04.03.11 – Shamrock Rovers 3-1 Dundalk…1 (p)
11.03.11 – Dundalk 3-2 Galway United…1
01.04.11 – Dundalk 3-1 UCD…1
15.04.11 – Dundalk 1-1 Sligo Rovers…1
02.05.11 – Dundalk 1-1 Shamrock Rovers…1 (p)
12.08.11 – Drogheda United 2-2 Dundalk…1

2012 Premier Division
16.03.12 – UCD 2-3 Bray Wanderers…1
23.03.12 – Bray Wanderers 2-4 Drogheda United…1
30.03.12 – Cork City 1-1 Bray Wanderers…1
13.04.12 – Shelbourne 2-1 Bray Wanderers…1
27.04.12 – Monaghan United 0-1 Bray Wanderers…1*
04.05.12 – Bray Wanderers 2-1 Bohemians…1
11.05.12 – Dundalk 0-2 Bray Wanderers…2 (2p)
18.05.12 – Bray Wanderers 3-3 St. Patrick’s Athletic…2
01.06.12 – Bray Wanderers 3-1 UCD…2
07.07.12 – Sligo Rovers 1-1 Bray Wanderers…1
19.10.12 – Bray Wanderers 1-4 Bohemians…1 (p)

2013 Premier Division
08.03.13 – Bray Wanderers 1-0 Shelbourne…1
24.03.13 – Drogheda United 2-1 Bray Wanderers…1
29.03.13 – Bray Wanderers 2-2 UCD…1
24.05.13 – Bray Wanderers 3-2 Drogheda United…3
08.06.13 – UCD 4-5 Bray Wanderers…4
19.07.13 – Bray Wanderers 1-3 Bohemians…1 (p)
04.08.13 – Bray Wanderers 1-1 Shelbourne…1
08.09.13 – Bray Wanderers 1-1 UCD…1
28.10.13 – Bray Wanderers 2-2 Longford Town…2 **

2014 Premier Division
07.03.2014 – UCD 0-3 Bohemians…1
07.04.2014 – Athlone Town 1-3 Bohemians…1
18.04.2014 – St. Patrick’s Athletic 3-1 Bohemians…1
25.04.2014 – Cork City 1-1 Bohemians…1
02.05.2014 – Bohemians 1-1 Derry City…1
15.08.2014 – Bohemians 2-1 Drogheda United…1
05.09.2014 – Bohemians 2-1 Bray Wanderers…1
26.09.2014 – Bohemians 2-0 Limerick…1
24.10.2014 – Bohemians 2-1 Derry City…1 (p)

2015 Premier Division
08.05.2015 – Bohemians 2-1 Limerick…1

2016 First Division Division
29.07.2016 – UCD 5-1 Athlone Town…1
02.09.2016 – Cabinteely 0-2 UCD…1
30.09.2016 – Waterford United 1-8 UCD…2

* Match annulled
** Promotion/Relegation Playoff

We need to talk about Peter Collins

Peter Collins pic

Last month, for the first time in a couple of years, I decided to give an episode of Soccer Republic a miss. I haven’t even watched the last three on the RTÉ Player.

Tonight’s show will probably open with highlights of Dundalk’s brilliant performance against BATE in the Champions League and I’m sure the panelists worked hard to prepare analysis for us. Maybe the team have put together another one of those great montages. My God, the montages.

But I just can’t face it. After a glorious two week holiday, I have been dreading the stiff introduction to a “crucial Airtricity League Premier Division fixture”. I outright refuse to listen to Peter Collins anymore.

It is abundantly clear to me and countless other viewers that Peter Collins has no interest in football. He doesn’t watch it. He doesn’t get it. He seems surprised by anything that happens.

Is it too much to ask that the host of a football highlights show be a fan? I’d argue that it should be a minimum requirement to be the face of our league coverage, to have some emotional investment in a league that faces an uphill battle to capture the imagination of a sports-loving public every year.

His full-time predecessor was Con Murphy, a man who couldn’t help but show his love for Shamrock Rovers from time to time. No one could deny Con was a passionate supporter of the League, and he added greatly to the programme.

Inevitably, a few debates about poor attendances come about during the season and a man, who has likely not been to more than a couple of League of Ireland grounds in his life (off duty), is sitting there asking how “we” can get more people through the turnstiles.

Collins’ wooden presence does those who actually care about the League a disservice.

The Après Match skits this summer were funny but talk about shooting fish into a barrel. “The European draw was made for the Euros” and “Because of the strength of both squads, that game always had the potential to be a draw” are not things that Risteard Cooper came out with – the original Peter Collins said them.

Nobody speaks this way in a real life conversation, like a written match report read out loud, nor would they transition from one segment to the next with the finesse of a circus elephant, needlessly summarising everything we just heard. Hash tag no doubt we’ll come back to discuss this issue later in the season.

Unfortunately, like that uncle no one likes, I think Mr. Collins sees himself as something of a comedian too. He once said “It’s time to cease the pre-match banter”, ignoring his own Alan Partridge-esque advice with lines such as “Tekkers”, “Smash hit!” and “The Awsnal”, which nearly trumped Clive Tyldesley’s Oasis impression.

What has made it especially difficult to switch on the TV on Mondays was the bloody marvellous job his stand-in had done during his fortnight absence and her baffling return to the sidelines.

The reaction to Joanne Cantwell as presenter was overwhelmingly positive and not for the first time either.

We know from when she anchored a Champions League semi-final that Joanne is sharp, and Cork pundit Dave Barry, so used to getting a free pass when he goes off on a tangent and ends up saying nothing whatsoever, obviously hadn’t been challenged like this in a long time. It looked like he enjoyed it too.

Many fans commented on a good July 11th episode. The Stephen Kenny interview was one of their best in years, thanks to Joanne asking intelligent, probing questions of the Dundalk manager. It made for a lively show.

No one knows if Joanne Cantwell supports a LOI team (like Con Murphy) but it’s clear she likes football and that she understands the topic she’s presenting on and what her audience wants.

Joanne Cantwell succeeded Con Murphy as presenter of the rugby programme Against The Head when he left in 2008 and I can’t think of one good reason why she didn’t take over Monday Night Soccer too, after Con vacated the presenter’s chair in 2012.

Peter Collins would still be covering Formula 1 and the Olympics, and I’m sure, if we absolutely had to, we could tolerate him on commentary at the World Cup once every four years.

Oh.

MNS was rebranded as Soccer Republic in 2014, to encompass the latest news surrounding the Irish international team and shifted to a new slot (7pm to 11.05pm).

Champions League content was introduced and quickly dropped, while segments such as ‘Celebrity Six’ and ‘Free Kick King’ were replaced by a torturous Euro 2016 song contest this season (shoutout to Jacqui Hurley and my favourite MNS feature of all time, ’60 Sixty’).

The response to Joanne’s performance largely explains the apathy towards the show that I have noticed recently when chatting to friends about it. The audience has always been there, ready and willing to have a bit of pride and excitement in how the product is showcased, particularly after such incredible results in Europe.

The broader show will continue to experiment and it will always have its critics. A First Division highlights package isn’t going to happen anytime soon but here is one refreshing change that might please everyone.

Well, almost everyone.

These Go To Eleven

Since October, I’ve ran @Peile50YearsAgo, posting real-time Tweets from Irish football fifty years ago.

Friday marks the last day of the 1965-66 domestic season as Shamrock Rovers face Bohemians in the final of the Top Four Cup (although, spoiler alert: it will require two replays).

This has been a lot of fun to do; I rather enjoy the old-timey language, the big crowds, the dramatic rise of Waterford and the huge importance placed on the FAI Cup.

One thing I disliked, however, was the constant mention of a “record” Shamrock Rovers supposedly equalled by winning 11 league games in a row. Every week the media would write about it.

It was enough to make any statistician weep. There were times I found myself longing for a time traveling closet, like in a Stephen King novel, to go back and find W.P. Murphy of the Irish Independent (and those who copied him) to set the record straight once and for all.

Bohemians, in fact, had won their first 15 games of the 1923-24 season but this ’11’ myth has persisted for over 50 years and appeared in a newspaper again just this past week.

Limerick’s blistering start to this season’s First Division has re-opened the topic, as the Super Blues set a First Division record by winning each of their opening 8 games (now 9).

Curiously, the only Premier Division teams (Cork City and Sligo Rovers) to win their first 8 both failed to go on and win the title.

Here’s part of an article I wrote for LOI Monthly last year, which talked about those winning starts by Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers.

————————————————————————————

‘Somebody must kidnap Sligo Rovers’, screamed the headline of the Irish Press. Despite finishing a lowly tenth in the Shield before the start of the league season, Sligo would hit the ground running in the 1936-37 Free State League Championship with a 100 per cent record at the half-way stage.

It was an Englishman, Harry Litherland, whose name was on everybody’s lips. Litherland scored 19 league goals in his first season for Sligo, a total not beaten until Eoin Doyle scored 20 in 2011. He scored a brace in a club record 9-0 win over Dolphin and the following week the former Everton centre-forward got another two goals in the 6-1 victory over Shamrock Rovers at Milltown.

Sligo’s run crashed with a terrific thud by losing 8-2 away to Waterford in January 1937. Although their form dropped slightly after that, the Westerners took their first title by 10 points, which remained the highest ever margin in a two points for a win system.

Sligo's title winning team in 1936-37

In 1965, Shamrock Rovers won the Shield for an impressive seventeenth time. Rovers were given a bye into the second round of the Fairs Cup and the Hoops went out of the competition rather gallantly on a 3-2 aggregate scoreline to Real Zaragoza.

Rovers made a storming start to the league season and on 16 January 1966, from ten matches played, they were five points clear with not the slightest blemish on their run. In a strange twist, the team trying to foil the Hoops of 11 wins in a row was Sligo who had accomplished the feat 29 years earlier.

The game attracted a magnificent attendance under the adverse weather conditions which prevailed on the south side of the city and Shamrock Rovers rather deservedly emerged narrow winners on a snow-covered pitch at Milltown.

Sligo goalkeeper Finbarr Flood watched almost in amazement as Johnny Fullam hit a 25 yard free kick straight into the corner of the net after 28 minutes. Six minutes later Shamrock Rovers were two up when Frank O’Neill, always a menacing figure on the right wing, sent over a chipped cross for Bobby Gilbert to head home his 9th league goal of the campaign.

Three minutes after the interval and with the snow falling heavily, Jimmy Burnside pulled a goal back for the Bit O’ Red with a great hooked shot over his shoulder to keep the home supporters worried until the final whistle.

The talking point of the game, however, was the penalty in the second half that never was. To the crowd it was a staggering sight to see Liam Tuohy head the ball for the corner of the net and Sligo left-back, Paul Dowling, unable to reach it with his head, dive, and with his hands extended, turn the ball around the post without being penalised.

Referee Billy O’Neill, the target for many an accurate snowball when he managed to get within range of spectators at either end of the ground, said after the game: ‘I saw Dowling dive with his hand out but I thought the ball beat him. There was a strong glare with the snow and the white ball, and now everybody tells me I was wrong’.

16 Jan 1966 Bobby Gilbert (not pictured) scores against Sligo as Liam Tuohy looks on

The line-ups on that Sunday afternoon were as follows. Shamrock Rovers: Smyth; Keogh, Courtney, Mulligan, Nolan, Fullam, O’Neill, Tyrell, Gilbert, Tuohy, O’Connell. Sligo Rovers: Flood, Murray, Dowling, Quinn, Pugh, Dunne, Millington, Turner, Burnside, Corcoran, McDonnell.

Rovers had completed the first half of the season without dropping a point and established what looked an unassailable lead but in just three weeks the table underwent a remarkable transformation.

Their winning streak was brought to a halt with a 3-2 defeat at home to Bohemians and on February 6th a record crowd of 24,000 packed Milltown to see Rovers play their nearest challengers Waterford, who won the game by a single goal.

That was to have a vital bearing on the destination of the title and an incredible run of 13 straight wins would catapult Waterford to the top of the table by March, a position Paddy Coad’s men would not relinquish. It was to be the beginning of a new order in League of Ireland football.

Best Winning Starts
15 – Bohemians in 1923-24
11 – Sligo Rovers in 1936-37
11 – Shamrock Rovers in 1965-66
9 – Bohemians in 1929-30
9 – Limerick in 2016 (First Division)
8 – Waterford in 1971-72
8 – Cork City in 1998-99
8 – Sligo Rovers in 2013