Sunday, April 17, 2011
The clubs from the League of Ireland have faired well in international competition. The UEFA Champions League has allowed the 1st place team from Ireland play. Here are the results from 1999 til now
2000-01 Shelbourne advanced to the second round
2001-02 Boenians advanced to the second round
2002-03 Shelbourne loses
2003-04 Bohemians advance to 2nd Round
2004-05 Shelbourne advances the the 3rd round. This is the farthest any League of Ireland has advanced in this tournament this decade.
2005-06 Shelbourne again advances to 2nd round
2008-09 Drougheda United advance to 2nd round becoming the 5th club in the decade to advance
2009-10 Boheminas lose
2010-11 Bohemians lose--
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Sentanta Sports Cup expands to 12 clubs
Setanta Sports Cup tournament to be revamped for 2011
I have stated in a previous post that I would like to see the League of Ireland and the Premiership conbine. This would expand the league and hopefully create a more marketable league. Most people tune into the English Premiership and their favorite teams are not in Ireland. The League of Ireland and the Premiership have to do things to make their league more marketable.
The main attention grabber would be if a club could advance deep into the Champions League or deep into the Europa League. Going deep into these prestigious international tournaments brings a lot of attention. Attention to the players, to the club and ultimatly to the League.
The League of Ireland has had a number of different teams win at each of these competitions. Advancing effects the Leagues co-efficient that is a baromitor as to how you league ranks against the 53 other European Leagues.
The competition between the two Irish Leagues is a good idea. However attendance is quite low for this competition.
This video shows an empty Linfield Stadium. The crowd in from the traveling Dundalk fans. The stadium however is the biggest and best n Belfast.
The League of Ireland
The League of Ireland is a nice competitive league. The famous teams are mostly from Dublin. The Shamrock Rovers from the south side of Dublin have 16 Championships. The biggest derby in Ireland is Shamrock Rovers against the Northern Dublin rival Bohemians. The Bohemians have 11 Titles to their credit. Shelbourne is also a north side Dublin club. The “Shells” can boast of 13 Championships themselves. The Shells – Bohemians derby has intensified this last decade. From 1999-00 season to the 2009 season each Northern Dublin club has won 5 Championships apiece. (03 = 2 Championships w/ schedule change). Winning the League of Ireland is the most prestigious award in football. The 2011 League of Ireland presently has 10 teams competing. The Shamrock Rovers are the current Champions and favorites to repeat.
The other main football tournament in Ireland is the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) Cup. This Cup has been dominated by the Shamrock Rovers. Shamrock Rovers have 24 Cups to their name. The second best is Dundalk with 9 Cup Titles. Shelbourne and Bohemians have 7 apiece. This tournament is a knockout competition that has all association Clubs of Ireland can participate. The final game has been moved around stadiums to maximize attendance. There have been close to 10,000 at the FAI finals for the 10 years. However in 2010 36,101 turn out for this event. The final was in the brand new, state of the art Dublin Arena (Aviva Stadium). Many fans wanted to see this jewel of Ireland. The Shamrock Rovers have only been in 2 Title game in the last 20 years. The Shamrock Rovers also had many fans that could get there on foot. All future FAI Cups will be held in the new Dublin Arena. The League of Ireland is presently the 29 League in the EUFA co-efficient ranking. This ranking awards the League of Ireland with 4 spots in international competition. The winner of the League of Ireland is invited to participate in the EUFA Champions League, Europe most prestigious Competition. The 2nd and 3rd place teams also earn spots in the EUFA Europa League. The winner of the FAI Cup gets the 4th Irish spot in the EUFA Europa League. The League of Ireland has made great progress in thee EUFA co-efficient since the 2000 season. They were at 41 (out of 53) in 2000. They are currently ranked 31st moving up 10 slots. They have been Europe’s biggest movers over the last 10 years. They accomplished this by playing and beating teams in these international tournaments. Every year (except 2003) a club from the League of Ireland has advanced in one of these international tournaments. Shelbourne is the only club team to advance to the 3rd Round in the Champions league (2004-05) which was a big accomplishment for Shelbourne and the League. The Shamrock Rovers (2011), Derry City (2007), Cork City (2006) and St Patrick 2009 & 2010 all have reached the playoff round in the Europa League. Despite 24 FAI Cups and 16 League Championships by the Shamrock Rovers the league is a well balanced League. Shelbourne won 5 Championships in the 1990’s and are presently in the First Division along with 2005 League of Ireland Champions Cork City. Drogheda United won the League in 2007 which was their first ever. The have been 5 different Champions in the last 6 years. The main problem I see is the power in Dublin. The Shamrock Rovers, Boheminas, Shelbourne and St Patrick Athletic are all from Dublin. Dublin’s population is about 1,045 Million so it is fair to say that Dublin can afford 4 quality teams. Cork City is the second most populated City in the Republic of Ireland at a pale 190,000. Cork City should have a more competitive team.
Reviewing records I found out that Cork did have some quality teams. Cork United had 5 consecutive Championships from 1941 through 1946. Cork Athletic had 2 consecutive Championships in 50 and 51 and Cork Celtic had 1 Championship in 74. Cork has only had one team play each year. Why couldn’t they (Cork City) combine these Championships to make the team more attractive? Championships add great history and recognition to any Club. Cork could have 10 Championships thus creating a very proud supporters group that could boast of their past accomplishments. These Championships could compete with the clubs of Dublin. Cork could give Dublin the rival city it needs to boost interest around the country. The Premiership has the cities of London, Manchester and Liverpool. London has 4 big clubs in Chelsea, Arsenal, Fulham and West Ham United. Dublin has their 4 Shamrock Rovers, Boheminas, Shelbourne and St Patrick. Manchester has (Manchester United/Manchester City. Cork may able to support Cork City and a 2nd team Cork United. Derry City population is similar to Corks. Could they possibly host 2 teams? Inner City rivals seem to bring out the fans.
Can I dare say it how about combining the League of Ireland with Northern Islands League? Belfast is the 2nd most populated city on the island. Linfield has a great club team that has a rich football history. Linfield can match any of the clubs in Dublin on the field and in attendance. Belfast could also brings it’s competitive derbies of Linfield vs. Glentoran and Belfast Celtic vs. Lisburn Distillery. The league could expand to 16 teams. This league would be very competitive and no one team would dominate. By adding a City like Belfast and it’s competitive clubs to this new league would create more interest throughout the island of Ireland. I am not looking to anger neither Northern Ireland nor the Republic. I am just looking to make the League of Ireland more competitive both locally (on the island) and internationally. Dublin, Belfast, Derry and Cork having competitive teams would make the League of Ireland a national event. There would be more media coverage, more TV coverage and hopefully more fans support.