Opening Fixtures in Numbers

All statistics except for previous meetings relate to the Premier Division only, the top flight of the League of Ireland from 1985 to 2013.

Previous opening-day meetings

Shamrock Rovers v Derry City
11.07.02 – PD – Derry City 1-2 Shamrock Rovers [Hargan; Kenny, Robinson]
This was Rovers’ first game of the season but it was Derry’s second outing

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

UCD v Bohemians
08.03.13 – PD – Bohemians 2-1 UCD [Lyons (p), Devaney; McMillan (p)]
11.04.03 – PD – Bohemians 1-0 UCD [Crowe]
05.07.02 – PD – Bohemians 2-1 UCD [Keegan, Ryan; Doyle]
03.09.89 – PD – Bohemians 3-0 UCD [Carroll, O’Brien, Swan (p)]
03.10.82 – L – UCD 1-4 Bohemians [Cassidy; L O’Brien, Lawless, Shelley, Eviston]

Sligo Rovers v Athlone Town
11.08.00 – FD – Athlone Town 0-0 Sligo Rovers
26.08.95 – PD – Sligo Rovers 4-2 Athlone Town [Gilzean, Dykes, Ramage, Kenny; Parkes 2]
28.08.94 – PD – Athlone Town 0-0 Sligo Rovers
02.10.83 – L – Athlone Town 3-1 Sligo Rovers [Wyse, Collins, M O’Connor; Conn]

Limerick v Bray Wanderers
None

Drogheda United v Dundalk
None

Consecutive opening-day appearances (current)

11 – Dan Murray
10 – Stephen Rice
9 – Conor Kenna
7 – Owen Heary

Top opening-day goalscorers

8 – Jason Byrne
7 – Eric Lavine
6 – Pat Fenlon
5 – Dessie Gorman

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)

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

Defending champions’ record

Won 17, Drew 4, Lost 7

League winners’ record

Won 16, Drew 9, Lost 4

Promoted clubs’ record

Won 12, Drew 16, Lost 27

How the Premier Division clubs have fared on opening day

P W D L Win %
Athlone Town 8 1 3 4 13
Bohemians 29 17 8 4 59
Bray Wanderers 18 5 7 6 28
Cork City 27 14 6 7 52
Derry City 26 12 6 8 46
Drogheda United 19 2 6 11 11
Dundalk 20 6 7 7 30
Limerick 9 3 3 3 33
St. Patrick’s Athletic 29 12 9 8 41
Shamrock Rovers 28 9 14 5 32
Sligo Rovers 19 7 6 6 37
UCD 19 5 4 10 26

Live League of Ireland Openers

Televised Openers

Meeting for a sixth time, Cork City v St. Patrick’s Athletic will become the joint most played opening fixture in the Premier Division, along with Shamrock Rovers/Drogheda United. After 50 years, tonight’s game between Drogheda and Dundalk at Hunky Dorys Park is, remarkably, the first ever Louth derby in any league opener.

Bohemians have a superb opening day record, winning 17 out of 29, and losing just four times, while Drogs’ stats are abysmal with only 2 wins. Reigning champions St. Patrick’s Athletic have won each of their last four opening fixtures; Drogheda have lost a record 6 consecutive openers. Shamrock Rovers are unbeaten since 2004; Cork and Drogheda are without a top flight win since 2006.

79 players played on the opening day of both the 2012 and 2013 Premier Division. 38 of those played in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Dan Murray has played in every opener since his first full season with Cork City in 2003. Jason Byrne has scored the most goals on opening day (8) and he is aiming to score for a record fourth different club for Bohemians at the UCD Bowl tonight. Brendan Clarke is the only goalkeeper to keep 3 clean sheets in the last 3 openers, saving an Eamon Zayed penalty for Sligo Rovers in 2011.

The 1995/96 season was the last time a team lost their first game and went on to win the title. That was Cork City 1-0 St. Patrick’s Athletic at Turner’s Cross, where John Caulfield and Liam Buckley, now managers of these two clubs, both played. Limerick are the last team to win the opening game and finish bottom of the Premier Division, 2-1 away to Galway United in September 1990.

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.

In the Premier Division no team has ever lost their first game and gone unbeaten for the rest of the season nor has any club gained their sole victory on opening day. However, in the 1922-23 Free State Championship, Shamrock Rovers suffered their only loss in the first match, and in the 1985-86 First Division, Bray Wanderers lost their league opener and avoided defeat for the remainder of the campaign.

Both clubs were making their League of Ireland debut and went on to win the title. Elsewhere in LOI history, 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.

Image

Lights, camera, action! Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk in 2011

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: