Archive | Sligo Rovers RSS for this section

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

President’s Day

Image

St. Patrick’s Athletic take on Sligo Rovers in the President’s Cup in Inchicore this afternoon in the inaugural clash of the League of Ireland and FAI Cup winners. The Saints claimed the league title last season and will have home advantage at Richmond Park as they take on FAI Cup winners Sligo.

Last week, President Michael D Higgins, one of the League of Ireland’s most well-known supporters, unveiled the Cup that the two teams will be competing for and the game could prove a milestone for Joseph Ndo, who is set to make his 300th appearance since moving to the league.

The FAI did have another competition which served as a curtain-raiser for the League of Ireland called the FAI Super Cup. It ran for four years from 1998 to 2001. The tournaments consisted of two semi finals, with the losers playing off for 3rd place and the winners going through to the final, except for the last one in 2001 which was organised in a group format where the four clubs played each other once.

Teams qualified for the Super Cup on the basis of playing in that year’s UEFA competitions to help prepare for their upcoming European adventures, although the Intertoto Cup participants had already played their tie by then. The league and FAI Cup winners were kept apart in the first two seasons with the FAI Cup champions going home at the semi-final stage both times. Shelbourne were double winners in 2000 and Bohemians did the double the following year.

The competition was won by Shamrock Rovers, St. Patrick’s Athletic, UCD and Shelbourne. Colin Hawkins scored from the spot in Pat’s’ penalty shootout victory over Shelbourne in the 1999 final at Richmond Park and that was the only cup final he ever won in his career.

Hawkins, who is now Shamrock Rovers’ First Division team manager, lost the 2002 FAI Cup and 2004 League Cup with Bohemians, the 2005 Setanta Cup and 2006 League Cup with Shelbourne, the 2011 Setanta Cup with Dundalk and the 2012 League Cup final with Rovers.

The 2014 competition should not be confused with the former LFA President’s Cup run by the Leinster Football Association, which goes back over seventy years. The cup was played on an annual basis between the winners of the league and the FAI Cup champions or teams from Leinster only that finished in the highest position in these competitions. When the cup was first established in 1930, every league winner had come from Leinster, with only two teams (Belfast club Alton United in 1923, and Fordsons from Cork in 1926) from outside the province lifting the FAI Cup trophy at that point.

The LFA tinkered with this format a number of times most notably in 1973-74 which saw an all-Munster final between Waterford and Cork Hibernians and the competition lasted until the 2002-03 season when it was consigned to the Cup scrap-heap along with the Dublin City, Top Four, Shield and Super Cup competitions. Shelbourne were the last name inscribed on the old trophy.

Pat’s won it six times, in 1952-53, 1953-54, 1955-56, 1971-72, 1990-91 and 1996-97 when the league champions defeated FAI Cup winners Shelbourne on penalties. Both teams agreed to dispense with the scheduled 30 minutes extra-time in favour of an immediate penalty shoot-out. Ex-Pat’s defender Dave Campbell eventually missed the final spot kick to earn Pat’s a 6-5 win and the former Inchicore favourite was subjected to the jeers of a minority as he exited the tunnel at the end.

There were two finals held at Richmond Park, the first leg of the 1980-81 final, which was a 1-1 draw with Dundalk, and a 4-0 defeat to Shelbourne in the 1998-99 final when Liam Buckley was in his first season as Saints boss. Pat’s have not been beaten by a four goal margin at home in any domestic game since, losing 5-0 to Zimbru Chișinău in a Champions League qualifier a year later.

Last week I posted every result of the Irish News Cup, for which only the winners were listed on Wikipedia, and this week I’ve produced the score and venue of every LFA President’s Cup final, which has never had an entry on either Wikipedia or http://www.rsssf.com. My sources are ‘A Record of League of Ireland Football 1921/2 – 1984/5’ by Niall MacSweeney and the Irish Football Handbooks by Gerry Desmond and Dave Galvin.

The LOI book went as far as the 1986-87 season (with supplements) and the Handbooks took me as far as 1993-94. I researched the other dates and goalscorers in the newspaper archives. The retrospective Vincent Hoey and Billy Young quotes are from the Irish Independent. My thanks to Dodge for the picture of the Pat’s programme.

LFA President’s Cup History

Season Winners Runners-up Score Venue
1929-30 + Shamrock Rovers Shelbourne 1-1* S
1930-31 Dundalk Shamrock Rovers 1-1, 7-3 S, D
1931-32 + This competition was not completed
1932-33 + Shamrock Rovers Dundalk 2-0 D
1933-34 to 1938-39 no competition
1939-40 Shelbourne Shamrock Rovers 2-1 S
1940-41 Shamrock Rovers St. James’s Gate 2-1 S
1941-42 Shamrock Rovers Drumcondra 3-3, 4-4, 5-3 T, D, M
1942-43 No competition
1943-44 Shamrock Rovers Dundalk 3-2 M
1944-45 Shamrock Rovers Drumcondra 2-0 M
1945-46 Shamrock Rovers Shelbourne 3-2 M
1946-47 Drumcondra Shamrock Rovers 2-2, 1-0 D, D
1947-48 Drumcondra Shelbourne 2-2* T
1948-49 Shamrock Rovers Drumcondra 3-2 M
1949-50 Drumcondra Dundalk 2-1 T
1950-51 Drumcondra Transport 2-0 T
1951-52 Dundalk Drumcondra 2-1 T
1952-53 St. Patrick’s Ath Dundalk 1-1, 5-0 T, D
1953-54 St. Patrick’s Ath Shelbourne 2-2, 3-1 T, T
1954-55 Shamrock Rovers Drumcondra 2-1 T
1955-56 St. Patrick’s Ath Shamrock Rovers 3-1 T
1956-57 Shamrock Rovers St. Patrick’s Ath 1-0 D
1957-58 Shamrock Rovers Drumcondra 3-3, 1-0 D, D
1958-59 Drumcondra Dundalk 4-3 D
1959-60 Shamrock Rovers St. Patrick’s Ath 1-1, 2-0 D, T
1960-61 + Shelbourne Shamrock Rovers 1-1, 1-1, 3-1 D, T, T
1961-62 Drumcondra St. Patrick’s Ath 3-0 D
1962-63 Shamrock Rovers Shelbourne 1-0 D
1963-64 Dundalk Shelbourne 4-3 D
1964-65 + Dundalk Shamrock Rovers 1-1, 4-2 D, D
1965-66 + Bohemians Shamrock Rovers 1-1, 3-2 D, D
1966-67 + Drumcondra Shamrock Rovers 1-0 T
1967-68 + Bohemians Drumcondra 0-0, 3-2 D, T
1968-69 Shamrock Rovers Dundalk 3-2 T
1969-70 + Shamrock Rovers St. Patrick’s Ath 4-3 T
1970-71 + Shamrock Rovers Drogheda 3-3, 3-1 D, T
1971-72 + St. Patrick’s Ath Bohemians 0-0, 2-1 D, T
1972-73 + Shamrock Rovers Dundalk 3-1 D
1973-74 Waterford Cork Hibernians 2-0 F
1974-75 Bohemians St. Patrick’s Ath 4-1 T
1975-76 Bohemians Home Farm 4-0 D
1976-77 Bohemians Dundalk 1-1, 1-0 D, O
1977-78 Bohemians Dundalk 2-1 O
1978-79 Bohemians Shamrock Rovers 3-1 M
1979-80 Dundalk Bohemians 2-1 O
1980-81 Dundalk St. Patrick’s Ath 1-1, 3-0 R, O
1981-82 Dundalk Athlone Town 2-1, 2-2 (4-3) O, SM
1982-83 Bohemians*** Dundalk 1-0, 2-3 (3-3) D, O
1983-84 Athlone Town Bohemians 2-1, 3-0 (5-1) SM, D
1984-85 Shamrock Rovers UCD 3-2 T
1985-86 Shamrock Rovers Bohemians 1-0 M
1986-87 Shamrock Rovers Dundalk 3-2 O
1987-88 Shamrock Rovers** Dundalk 0-0 O
1988-89 Dundalk St. Patrick’s Ath 3-2 T
1989-90 Dundalk Bray Wanderers 3-1 C
1990-91 St. Patrick’s Ath** Bray Wanderers 2-2 C
1992-93 Bohemians** Shelbourne 0-0 T
1993-94 Shelbourne Bohemians 3-2 T
1994-95 Bohemians Shamrock Rovers 2-1 D
1995-96 Shelbourne Dundalk 2-1 T
1996-97 St. Patrick’s Ath** Shelbourne 0-0 D
1997-98 Bohemians Shelbourne 1-0 D
1998-99 Shelbourne St. Pat’s 4-0 R
1999-00 No competition
2000-01 Bohemians** Shelbourne 0-0 D
2001-02 Bohemians** Shelbourne 1-1 D
2002-03 Shelbourne Dundalk 2-0 T

* Final not replayed
** Won on penalties
*** Won on away goals
+ More than two teams competed in the cup

Note: The 1991-92 President’s Cup final due to be contested by Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers was not played as the clubs failed to agree on a suitable date. The 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84 finals were two legged.

Key to Venues
C = Carlisle Grounds, D = Dalymount Park, F = Flower Lodge, M = Milltown, O = Oriel Park, R = Richmond Park, S = Shelbourne Park, SM = St. Mel’s Park, T = Tolka Park.

Club Winners Runners-up Final games by venue
Shamrock Rovers 20 10 Dalymount Park 28
Bohemians 13 5 Tolka Park 24
Dundalk 9 14 Oriel Park 8
Drumcondra 6 7 Milltown 7
St. Patrick’s Ath 6 8 Shelbourne Park 4
Shelbourne 6 9 St. Mel’s Park 2
Waterford 1 Carlisle Grounds 2
Athlone Town 1 1 Richmond Park 2
Bray Wanderers 2 Flower Lodge 1
St. James’s Gate 1
Transport 1
Drogheda 1
Cork Hibernians 1
Home Farm 1
UCD 1

League champions v FAI Cup winners in final (League champions in bold)

Season Winners Runners-up Score Venue
1932-33 + Shamrock Rovers Dundalk 2-0 D
1939-40 Shelbourne Shamrock Rovers 2-1 S
1940-41 Shamrock Rovers St. James’s Gate 2-1 S
1948-49 Shamrock Rovers Drumcondra 3-2 M
1949-50 Drumcondra Dundalk 2-1 T
1952-53 St. Patrick’s Ath Dundalk 1-1, 5-0 T, D
1954-55 Shamrock Rovers Drumcondra 2-1 T
1955-56 St. Patrick’s Ath Shamrock Rovers 3-1 T
1956-57 Shamrock Rovers St. Patrick’s Ath 1-0 D
1957-58 Shamrock Rovers Drumcondra 3-3, 1-0 D, D
1958-59 Drumcondra Dundalk 4-3 D
1959-60 Shamrock Rovers St. Patrick’s Ath 1-1, 2-0 D, T
1961-62 Drumcondra St. Patrick’s Ath 3-0 D
1963-64 Dundalk Shelbourne 4-3 D
1973-74 Waterford Cork Hibernians 2-0 F
1975-76 Bohemians Home Farm 4-0 D
1976-77 Bohemians Dundalk 1-1, 1-0 D, O
1978-79 Bohemians Shamrock Rovers 3-1 M
1981-82 Dundalk Athlone Town 2-1, 2-2 (4-3) O, SM
1984-85 Shamrock Rovers UCD 3-2 T
1990-91 St. Patrick’s Ath** Bray Wanderers 2-2 C
1992-93 Bohemians** Shelbourne 0-0 T
1996-97 St. Patrick’s Ath** Shelbourne 0-0 D
2002-03 Shelbourne Dundalk 2-0 T

Note: In 1929-30, League champions (Shamrock Rovers) beat FAI Cup champions (Bohemians) in the semi-finals. In 1940-41, they were respective champions from 1939-40, but the game was played in April, and Cork United had done the double by then. 1932-33 was an 8 team tournament and both champions happened to make it through to the final. In the 1965-66 season, the league champions (Drumcondra) lost to the FAI Cup winners (Shamrock Rovers) in the quarter-finals.

1985-86 to 2002-03 Details

04.09.85 – Shamrock Rovers 1-0 Bohemians [M.Byrne]
After extra-time

11.09.86 – Shamrock Rovers 3-2 Dundalk – [O’Brien, M. Byrne 2 (1p); Malone (p), Keogh]

12.11.87 – Shamrock Rovers 0-0 Dundalk
Shamrock Rovers won 3-1 on penalties

28.09.88 – Dundalk 3-2 St. Patrick’s Ath [Gorman 2, Shelley; Byrne, Fenlon]

03.04.90 – Dundalk 3-1 Bray Wanderers [Cleary 2 (1p), Cousins; Judge (p)]

07.04.91 – St. Patrick’s Ath 2-2 Bray Wanderers [Ennis, Fenlon; Gough 2]
After extra-time, St. Patrick’s Ath won 5-4 on penalties

06.10.92 – Bohemians 0-0 Shelbourne
After extra-time, Bohemians won 4-2 on penalties

11.08.93 – Shelbourne 3-2 Bohemians [Arkins, Mooney 2; L. King, Devlin]
After extra-time

05.08.94 – Bohemians 2-1 Shamrock Rovers [Tilson, Cousins; Toal (p)]

04.08.95 – Shelbourne 2-1 Dundalk [Arkins, O’Rourke; Withnell]

08.09.96 – St. Patrick’s Ath 0-0 Shelbourne
St. Patrick’s Ath won 6-5 on penalties

14.07.97 – Bohemians 1-0 Shelbourne [Doolin]

24.11.98 – Shelbourne 4-0 St. Patrick’s Ath [Fitzgerald 2, Geoghegan (p), Byrne]

04.08.00 – Bohemians 0-0 Shelbourne
Bohemians won 4-1 on penalties

26.07.01 – Bohemians 1-1 Shelbourne [Molloy; Byrne]
Bohemians won 4-3 on penalties

06.09.02 – Shelbourne 2-0 Dundalk [Sheridan 2]

1929 – 1969
The President’s Cup was inaugurated for the purpose of providing funds to equip the new LFA premises at Parnell Square. The top placed Leinster clubs took part in two semi-finals at the end of the 1929-30 season. Shelbourne beat Brideville 1-0 at Harold’s Cross in the first game on Sunday, 4 May 1930. Joe Glavey had the honour of scoring the first ever goal.

Three days later FAI Cup champions Shamrock Rovers defeated League champions Bohemians 2-0 at Dalymount Park, and in the final on May 23rd, Rovers and Shelbourne drew 1-1 at Shelbourne Park. That final was never replayed.

Dundalk surprisingly beat Rovers 7-3 in the 1930-31 final. That was the highest scoring final but the biggest win was a 5-0 victory for St. Pat’s against the Lilywhites in 1952-53. 10 teams were supposed to participate in 1931-32 but the competition was abandoned after only three games played.

8 teams competed in 1932-33 and the competition was held over until the following season, something which also happened in 1930-31 and 1941-42. The 1941-42 competition took nearly an entire year to complete a single tie; Shamrock Rovers and Drumcondra drew in August 1941, drew in the replay in April 1942 before Rovers, in Bob Fullam’s first competitive match in charge, won the second replay in August 1942.

There was no separate competition in 1933-34 or 1942-43. After a six year hiatus, the President’s Cup returned in 1939 and was played on a single tie basis in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1930-31 and 1944-45 Shelbourne were the reigning champions but did not take part. The late 50s saw a particularly good run though with the League and FAI Cup champions meeting six consecutive times until Limerick won the title win 1960.

In 1960-61 there were 4 teams, with three clubs teams battling it out for the right to face FAI Cup winners Shelbourne who awaited them in the final. The competition went back to just one game for another three seasons until 1964-65 and 1965-66 when there were 7 teams involved, one of them getting a bye to the semi-finals.

The President’s Cup was the least important of all the competitions played for but it was a worthy opener to the season and Billy Young has picked out the 1965-66 final replay as his most memorable sporting moment. “The night I captained Bohs to a 3-2 win over Shamrock Rovers in the final of the President’s Cup in front of 20,000. It was the first trophy we had won in 19 years and, even though it was small battered cup, we didn’t care. We had a great night”, he said.

Five clubs competed the following season and then a standard semi-final to final format the season after that. In 1962-63, unusually, the cup game had been held at the end of the campaign and in 1966-67, the first round was in January and the final was in April.

In the 1967-68 season four teams played in the competition without Dundalk (League champions) and Shamrock Rovers (FAI Cup champions). Rovers withdrew from both Leinster competitions, the President’s Cup and the Leinster Senior Cup, citing tiredness as the reason for their absence after playing in America that summer as Boston Rovers.

They were granted permission to play Everton in a friendly the month the President’s Cup kicked off. It’s unclear why Dundalk didn’t participate though they had also arranged a friendly with English opposition (Oldham Athletic).

1970s
After a single tie final in 1968-69, eight teams entered the competition each year from 1969-70 to 1972-73. In 1971-72, three of the first round games were decided by penalties and two years earlier Rovers won a game against Drogheda on corners (the destination of the trophy was once decided on the away goals rule, won by Bohemians in the 1982-83 final).

Vincent Hoey, the former Drogheda chairman later recalled the President’s Cup Final of 1970 when Drogheda faced Shamrock Rovers at a packed Dalymount Park and were leading 3-2 going into injury-time.

“We were three minutes into overtime and the big cup was put up beside me and I started imagining it being carried down the Dublin Road on horseback. I had it all planned. I was beside Joe Wickham, who was the FAI General Secretary at the time, and he turned to me and said, ‘Vincent, I am delighted, this will be the making of you.'”

“Then the referee, who shall be nameless, gave a penalty when Ronnie Whelan tackled a Shamrock Rovers fellow on the edge of the penalty area [Damien Richardson converted it]. Three-all, three minutes of overtime, and of course we lost the replay.

“I often said afterwards to Shamrock Rovers and indeed to the referee that they didn’t know what they did on Drogheda. It wouldn’t have meant very much to Shamrock Rovers but it meant a hell of a lot to us. It would have been the breakthrough.”

When Drogheda won the FAI Cup in 2005, Hoey went out to bring the cup to Bellewstown and lo and behold the referee himself (John Carpenter) came out of the crowd. Hoey instantly recognised Carpenter and told him that it wasn’t even a foul, and that he’d never forgive him for setting the club back about 35 years!

It was the first of six cup competition finals that the Boynesiders lost before finally capturing their first senior trophy in the form of the 1983-84 League Cup, twenty years after they had been elected to the League of Ireland. A young Mick Cooke scored in that 1970-71 President’s Cup final and he never won a senior trophy in his playing career.

The 1973-74 season was a significant one. Not only did the new League Cup replace the League of Ireland Shield but for the first and only time the President’s Cup featured teams from outside Leinster. From now until its demise in 2002 the format of the competition remained the same except for three seasons in the early 1980s which were two legged affairs.

The LFA were seeking a new format to make the competition financially viable and decided to revert to the old set up of League champions v FAI Cup champions. Waterford and great rivals Cork Hibernians had kept Munster football supreme and engaged in some memorable matches in recent years.

With Waterford winning the league in six of the previous eight seasons and Hibs the Cup kingpins two years in a row it should have vindicated the departure from usual procedure, but it was a disappointing game, with a meagre gate of £746 at Flower Lodge on 29 August 1973. Alfie Hale scored both of the goals (one penalty) in a 2-0 win for the Blues as Hibs finished the game with nine men.

Bohemians won the President’s Cup five times in a row in the 1970s. Pat Byrne made his senior debut in their 1974 win over St. Pat’s while Noel King was sent off on his debut for Shamrock Rovers in a 3-1 defeat to Bohs in 1978.

1980 – 2002
Shamrock Rovers won the 1985-86 President’s Cup against Bohemians in extra-time despite captain Harry Kenny being shown a red card. On Thursday, 12 November 1987, the Hoops won the trophy for a third successive year at Oriel Park. No extra time was played because of the appalling conditions. Controversy surrounded the playing of the game in the first place as Dundalk felt it should have been called off due to the heavy rain which persisted throughout the match.

Steve Staunton, 14 months after signing for Liverpool for £20,000, played his one and only game for Dundalk that day. Bray Wanderers were in the First Division when they lost both of their finals in 1989-90 and 1990-91, as were Dundalk for their 2002-03 defeat. In 1993-94, Brian Mooney scored a spectacular overhead kick on his debut for Shelbourne against Bohs and he scored the winner in extra time.

In 1995-96, tempers frayed at Tolka Park as Alan Byrne was sent off and Mark Rutherford stretchered off in an ill-tempered President’s Cup final. Shels lifted their first trophy of the season but the talking point was Richie Purdy’s 76th minute x-rated tackle on Rutherford, which left the speedy winger writing in agony with a broken leg. Purdy was cautioned and substituted by Dundalk before the restart.

“The game in this country is being destroyed by incompetent referees and cynical players” blasted Shels manager Damien Richardson. In 1997-98, a Paul Doolin goal two minutes from time sealed the win for Bohs. The last ever game was held at Tolka Park on 6 September 2002. Dundalk were due to be idle at the weekend with the FAI Cup quarter-finals to be played.

However with league holders Shelbourne also knocked out of the competition, the opportunity was taken to run off the annual showpiece between last season’s cup and league winners, although St. Pat’s collected the most points. Super-sub Tony Sheridan scored a brace for Shels.

In the case of a Leinster club doing the double, their opponents would be the next highest placed Leinster team in the league, and not the FAI Cup runners-up, as seen in 1979-80, 1985-86, 1986-87 and 2001-02. In 1988-89 and 2000-01, the same club were the next best performers in both competitions behind the double winners. In 1994-95, Rovers (league champions) had been the only Leinster side in the top four, and Bohemians (knocked out in semi-final) were the only Leinster team to reach the last four of the FAI Cup.

Altogether there were 62 winners of the LFA President’s Cup. There were 64 finals but two were never replayed with a total of 65 competitions, another one of them incomplete. 15 different clubs played in the final in 9 different venues. Shamrock Rovers played in a record 31 finals.

It was League champions versus FAI Cup champions on 24 occasions with the cup kings winning only a third of the time. The final featured neither the league nor cup champions nine times, lastly Dundalk v St. Pat’s in 1989-90 after Derry City had won the treble. From 1985-86 until the last competition in 2002-03, the league champions were at home five times, away five times and playing on a neutral venue twice.

Image