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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The clubs competing in the 2008 FAI eircom League of Ireland

The 2008 League of Ireland season consisted of both Premier and First Division, as well as the newly introduced 'A' Championship. The season kicked off in March and the 'A' Championship commenced in June. In order to prepare for the 'A' Championship, competing clubs were offered the opportunity to compete in a Shield competition, which began in March.[1]

The season was a transitional one in order to reduce the number of clubs in the Premier Division to ten and increase the amount in the First Division to twelve. As a result there was no playoffs with just the three bottom clubs in the Premier Division automatically relegated to the First Division and the First Division champions automatically promoted to the Premier Division.

There was a playoff between the bottom placed side in the First Division and an 'A' Championship qualifier to determine who would participate in 2009 in the First Division.

Contents

Pre-season developments

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Managerial changes

Several League of Ireland clubs changed their managers during pre-season. Alan Mathews resigned as manager of recently relegated Longford Town. The First Division club have since promoted Mathews' assistant at the club, Aaron Callaghan, to replace him as manager of the club.[2] Pat Fenlon was also back in management after his brief reign in charge of Derry City in the early stage of the previous season. He was manager of Bohemians after they sacked Sean Connor.[3] Back at Derry City they re-appointed former manager Stephen Kenny after he had left the eircom league club the season before previous to take over the reins of then SPL side Dunfermline Athletic. Kenny was sacked by the Scottish club this season.[4] Another manager without a job was Damien Richardson after he and Cork City reached a settlement for him to leave the club.[5] The 2007 FAI Cup winners have since appointed Alan Mathews as their new manager.[6]

Kilkenny City withdraw from League

Shortly before the league issued fixtures for the new season Kilkenny City issued a statement saying they were withdrawing from the League due to financial and inadequate support.[7] Sporting Fingal, who were due to take part in the inaugural 'A' Championship, were offered Kilkenny's place in the First Division.[8]

'A' Championship

The 'A' Championship was a new league introduced in order to provide a link between non-league soccer in the Republic of Ireland and the eircom League. It gave clubs the opportunity to win promotion to the league for the first time. It has been decided that this championship would not kick off until June but a Shield competition, starting in March, was put in place in order to give the 'A' Championship participants a chance to prepare. The league contained reserve sides of the eircom League clubs also. The previous December four new clubs were accepted for entry into the championship. These clubs were Mervue United, Salthill Devon (both from Galway), Tullamore Town from Offaly and newly formed Dublin club Sporting Fingal who have since been elevated to the First Division.[1]

Television coverage

For the first time in the history of the league the national broadcaster Radio Telefís Éireann started showing highlights of every Premier Division game played on its new show Monday Night Soccer. This show was presented by Con Murphy. Radio coverage was provided by national broadcaster RTÉ with live reports and commentary on match nights. TG4 were the weekly broadcasters, with Sacar Beo. RTÉ and Setanta Sports occasionally showed matches.

Clubs information

Team Base Manager Main sponsor Kit supplier Stadium Capacity
Athlone Town Athlone, Co. Westmeath Republic of Ireland Place, Brendan Ganly's Hardware O'Neills Athlone Town Stadium 2,000
Bohemians Dublin Republic of Ireland Fenlon, Pat Des Kelly Interiors Umbro Dalymount Park 8,500
Bray Wanderers Bray, Co. Wicklow Republic of Ireland Gormley, Eddie Hard Metal Umbro Carlisle Grounds 7,000
Cobh Ramblers Cobh, Co. Cork Republic of Ireland Hill, Dave Goodyear Uhlsport St. Colman's Park 5,000
Cork City Cork Republic of Ireland Doolin, Paul Beamish Hummel Turners Cross 8,000
Derry City Derry Republic of Ireland Kenny, Stephen MeteorElectrical.com O'Neills The Brandywell 7,700
Drogheda United Drogheda, Co. Louth Republic of Ireland Mathews, Alan Hunky Dorys Jako United Park 5,400
Dundalk Dundalk, Co. Louth Republic of Ireland Connor, Sean Shop Dundalk Umbro Oriel Park 6,000
Finn Harps Ballybofey, Co. Donegal Republic of Ireland Gallagher, James Donegal Creameries Masita Finn Park 7,900
Galway United Galway England Foster, Ian O'Connell Drylining LTD Rival Terryland Park 5,000
Kildare County Newbridge, Co. Kildare Republic of Ireland Somerville, John Cill Dara Betting O'Neills Station Road 2,500
Limerick 37 Limerick Republic of Ireland Kerley, Michael Limerick's Live 95FM Jako Jackman Park 8,000
Longford Town Longford Republic of Ireland Gough, Alan Flancare Umbro Flancare Park 4,500
Mervue United Galway Republic of Ireland Glynn, Johnny Atlantic Developments Fahy's Field
Monaghan United Monaghan Republic of Ireland Cooke, Mick The Squeeling Pig Nike Century Homes Park 3,000
Salthill Devon Galway Republic of Ireland Long, Emlyn FCS Umbro Drom Clubhouse 2,000
Shamrock Rovers Dublin Northern Ireland O'Neill, Michael Woodie's DIY Umbro Tolka Park 9,700
Shelbourne Dublin Republic of Ireland Keely, Dermot Cab 2000 Umbro Tolka Park 9,700
Sligo Rovers Sligo England Cook, Paul Toher's Jako The Showgrounds 5,500
Sporting Fingal Dublin Republic of Ireland Buckley, Liam Keelings O'Neills Morton Stadium 10,000
St. Patrick's Athletic Dublin Republic of Ireland Kenna, Jeff Paddy Power Umbro Richmond Park 5,500
Tullamore Town Offaly Republic of Ireland Colsh, Keith Leah Victoria Park 4,000
UCD Dublin Republic of Ireland Mahon, Pete Budweiser O'Neills UCD Bowl 3,000
Waterford United Waterford Republic of Ireland Henderson, Stephen Hutchison 3G Azzurri Waterford Regional Sports Centre 8,000
Wexford Youths Crossabeg, Co. Wexford Republic of Ireland Wallace, Mick Wallace Construction O'Neills Ferrycarraig Park 5,000

League

Rules

Procedure

There were twelve participating clubs in the Premier Division and ten participating clubs in the First Division for 2007. During the course of the 2008 season (which lasted from March to November) each Premier club played the respective others three times. A pre-season draw decided which clubs will have the benefit of two home games in these matches. First Division sides played each other four times throughout the season - two games at home and two games at the stadium of the opposition. Each team in the Premier Division played 33 matches in total during the season, while those in the First Division played 36 games. The 'A' League Championship contained three clubs and reserve sides from Premier Division and some First Division clubs. The Championship was divided into two sections or groups. This didn't start until June with a Shield competition taking place before that.

Teams received three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points were awarded for a loss. Teams were ranked by total points, then goal difference and then goals scored. If there is equality in points, goal difference and goals for tallies, the clubs involved must partake in a play-off to decide their finishing positions. At the end of the season, the club with the most points in their division were crowned as champion of that division. The three lowest placed teams in the Premier were automatically relegated into the First Division and the top team from the First Division was automatically promoted to the Premier Division. In addition, the 2007 winner of the First Division had a once-off play-off with the winners of the FAI League Cup for a Setanta Cup place. The team that finished last in the First Division participated in a promotion/relegation playoff. The winners of the playoff between the highest placed non-reserve sides in both 'A' League Championship groups, provided that they both finished in the top four in their respective group, would have challenged the team that finished last in the First Division for their place in a promotion/relegation playoff. However, since only one of the 'A' League Championship groups had a non-reserve side in the top four then this team automatically faced the club that finished last in the First Division in a promotion/relegation playoff. If eircom League reserve sides had occupied the top four positions in both 'A' League Championship sections then no promotion/relegation playoff would have taken place and the team that finished last in the First Division would not have been relegated.

Qualification for 2009–10 European competitions

The top team in the Premier League qualified for the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round and must win three two-legged knockout ties against higher seeded and stronger opposition with progression in order to enter the group phase.

There were also three spots reserved in newly formed UEFA Europa League, two through league positions and one through domestic cup. The second-placed and third-placed team should have qualified for the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round while the cup winners should have qualified for the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round. However, since Bohemians won both the cup and the league, Europa League spot went to cup runners-up. Because they qualified for Europe through league, fourth-placed team were also awarded with a spot in the Europa League. The spot were thereby given to teams according to league positions. League runners-up and third-place team were given spots in the second, while the fourth-placed team was given a spot in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.

Prize funds

The trend of increasing prize funds for the league has continued this season. Between the National League, FAI Cup, FAI League Cup and the Setanta Cup a prize fund in excess of €2 million was available. The prize fund for the Premier Division in 2008 has increased with the winners being awarded €250,000. Unlike previous year every team received funds, even the last placed.[9] The winners of the 'A' Championship were given €20,000.[1]

Season

Tables

Premier Division

P
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Bohemians  (C) 33 27 4 2 55 13 +42 85 2009–10 UEFA Champions League Second qualifying round 2
2 St Patrick's Athletic 33 20 6 7 48 24 +24 66 2009–10 UEFA Europa League Second qualifying round 1,2
3 Derry City 33 16 10 7 46 25 +21 58 2009–10 UEFA Europa League Second qualifying round 1
4 Sligo Rovers 33 12 12 9 41 28 +13 48 2009–10 UEFA Europa League First qualifying round 1
5 Cork City 33 15 11 7 45 28 +17 0463
6 Bray Wanderers 33 11 6 16 28 52 −24 39
7 Shamrock Rovers 33 8 13 12 33 35 −2 37
8 Drogheda United 33 12 9 12 38 32 +6 0353
9 Galway United 33 8 8 17 34 49 −15 32
10 Finn Harps  (R) 33 9 4 20 26 53 −27 31 Relegation to First Division 2009
11 Cobh Ramblers  (R) 33 6 8 19 27 55 −28 26
12 UCD  (R) 33 4 9 20 19 46 −27 21

Source: soccerway.com
Rules for classification: 1st points; 2nd goal difference; 3rd goals scored.
1Since winners of FAI Cup 2008, Bohemians, also won the league, their spot in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League went to league runners-up, St Patrick's Athletic. Derry City, as cup runners-up, were guaranteed a spot in the first qualifying round. However, because Derry City finished third (and thereby already securing UEFA place), fourth-placed team Sligo Rovers also earned Europa League spot.
2Team also qualified for Setanta Sports Cup 2009–10.
3Cork City and Drogheda United were both deducted ten points after going into administration.[10][11]
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (Q) = Qualified to respective phase of tournament; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.

First Division

P
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Dundalk  (C) 36 21 8 7 69 30 +39 71 Promotion to Premier Division 2009
2 Shelbourne 36 20 10 6 55 25 +30 70
3 Waterford United 36 18 9 9 55 35 +20 63
4 Sporting Fingal 36 17 11 8 53 32 +21 62
5 Limerick FC 36 15 7 14 49 45 +4 52
6 Monaghan United 36 13 8 15 38 51 −13 47
7 Wexford Youths 36 10 7 19 36 51 −15 37
8 Longford Town 36 9 8 19 36 55 −19 35
9 Athlone Town 36 6 14 16 23 51 −28 32
10 Kildare County 36 6 8 22 34 73 −39 26 Qualification to Relegation/Promotion play-off

Source: soccerway.com
Rules for classification: 1st points; 2nd goal difference; 3rd goals scored.
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (Q) = Qualified to respective phase of tournament; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.

'A' League Championship

Group 1
P
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Bohemians A 14 11 2 1 34 12 +22 0321 Qualification to 'A' Championship play-off
2 Finn Harps A 14 9 1 4 24 12 +12 28
3 Mervue United  (P) 14 6 2 6 24 24 0 20 Relegation/Promotion play-off
4 Drogheda United A 14 5 5 4 23 23 0 0171
5 Shamrock Rovers A 14 4 4 6 23 22 +1 16
6 Sligo Rovers A 14 4 3 7 24 23 +1 15
7 Derry City A 14 4 1 9 16 34 −18 13
8 Salthill Devon 14 3 2 9 13 31 −18 11

Source: loi.ie
Rules for classification: 1st points; 2nd goal difference; 3rd goals scored.
1Bohemians 'A' and Drogheda United 'A' were both deducted 3 points for fielding ineligible players.
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (Q) = Qualified to respective phase of tournament; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.

Group 2
P
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 University College Dublin A  (C) 14 10 3 1 52 8 +44 33 Qualification to 'A' Championship play-off
2 Cork City A 14 7 3 4 22 13 +9 24
3 Galway United A 14 6 4 4 20 14 +6 22
4 Bray Wanderers A 14 6 3 5 31 20 +11 21
5 St Patrick's Athletic A 14 5 4 5 16 16 0 19
6 Cobh Ramblers A 14 6 2 6 24 25 −1 0171
7 Limerick 37 A 14 4 2 8 17 33 −16 14
8 Tullamore Town 14 1 1 12 7 60 −53 4

Source: loi.ie
Rules for classification: 1st points; 2nd goal difference; 3rd goals scored.
1Cobh Ramblers 'A' were deducted 3 points for fielding an ineligible player.
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (Q) = Qualified to respective phase of tournament; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.

Relegation/Promotion play-off

Kildare County and Mervue United competed in a two-legged playoff for one spot in 2009 First Division. Mervue United won 5–2 on aggregate and thereby secured a place in next year's FAI First Division.

18 November 2008
20:00
Mervue United 2 – 2 Kildare County Fahy's Field
Keogh Goal 10'
Goldbey Goal 28'
Hughes Goal 54' Goal 76'

21 November 2008
19:45
Kildare County 0 – 3 Mervue United Station Road
O'Brien Goal 15'
Goldbey Goal 64' Goal 81'

'A' Championship play-off

Bohemians 'A' and UCD 'A' competed in a playoff for the inaugural 'A' Championship title. UCD 'A' won 2–1 and therefore became the 2008 'A' Championship winners.

11 November 2008
UCD 'A' 2 – 1 Bohemians 'A' UCD Bowl

Results

Premier League

Matches 1–22
Home \ Away1 BOH BRW COB COR DER DRO FHA GAL SHM SLI StP UCD
Bohemians 1–1 3–0 2–1 0–0 2–0 3–0 2–1 2–1 3–0 0–1 2–0
Bray Wanderers 0–2 1–0 0–3 1–0 1–0 1–0 0–1 1–0 0–0 0–3 0–2
Cobh Ramblers 0–1 1–2 0–0 0–3 0–4 1–3 1–1 2–0 1–3 0–1 0–0
Cork City 0–1 0–0 5–0 1–1 0–2 3–0 3–2 1–1 1–0 0–0 1–0
Derry City 0–0 4–0 1–0 2–3 2–0 2–1 0–0 0–1 0–0 0–3 4–1
Drogheda United 1–2 2–0 3–0 0–1 0–1 1–0 1–0 0–1 1–1 2–2 2–1
Finn Harps 0–2 1–0 2–1 0–1 0–2 1–3 0–2 1–1 0–1 0–3 1–0
Galway United 0–1 2–3 0–1 1–3 0–4 0–1 2–2 0–2 1–1 2–2 1–2
Shamrock Rovers 0–1 2–0 0–0 1–1 1–1 0–0 0–2 3–1 1–0 0–1 1–1
Sligo Rovers 1–2 3–0 3–1 0–1 0–0 0–0 4–1 3–0 3–2 1–2 0–0
St Patrick's Athletic 0–1 1–1 1–0 3–2 0–1 0–1 5–1 1–0 1–1 3–1 0–0
UCD 1–1 2–2 1–1 0–2 2–3 1–3 1–0 0–1 0–2 0–0 0–3

Source: soccerway.com
1The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.

Matches 23–33
Home \ Away1 BOH BRW COB COR DER DRO FHA GAL SHM SLI StP UCD
Bohemians 2–1 3–1 0–1 3–0 3–0
Bray Wanderers 3–2 2–1 4–3 0–1 0–1 2–1
Cobh Ramblers 0–2 1–1 4–1 1–0 2–0
Cork City 3–0 1–1 0–0 1–1 0–0 2–0
Derry City 4–2 0–1 1–0 2–0 1–1
Drogheda United 1–2 0–0 1–2 1–1 1–1 0–2
Finn Harps 2–2 2–0 0–2 0–1 2–0
Galway United 0–2 4–0 3–2 3–0 1–1
Shamrock Rovers 1–2 2–2 3–0 1–1 1–3 1–1
Sligo Rovers 0–1 2–0 4–0 3–3 1–1 2–1
St Patrick's Athletic 0–3 0–1 2–1 0–1 1–0 2–0
UCD 0–1 1–2 1–0 0–1 0–1

Source: soccerway.com
1The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.

First Division

First half of season
Home \ Away1 ATH DUN KIL LIM LON MON SHB SFI WAT WEX
Athlone Town 0–3 1–1 2–2 1–0 0–0 0–1 0–3 0–0 3–1
Dundalk 1–0 6–0 0–2 0–0 3–0 1–3 3–2 1–0 2–1
Kildare County 1–1 1–2 1–2 0–1 4–0 1–3 0–2 1–2 2–0
Limerick FC 0–0 1–2 4–0 2–1 2–2 0–3 1–3 0–3 2–0
Longford Town 3–0 1–2 0–0 1–2 3–0 2–0 5–1 0–2 0–1
Monaghan United 1–2 0–0 0–0 1–0 1–0 1–0 1–0 0–0 0–2
Shelbourne 2–0 0–0 5–0 0–2 2–0 2–0 1–1 2–0 1–0
Sporting Fingal 2–0 1–1 2–2 1–0 1–1 4–0 0–0 3–1 2–0
Waterford United 1–1 1–0 3–2 3–1 1–1 5–0 1–1 2–0 1–0
Wexford Youths 2–0 0–5 1–1 1–0 1–1 1–2 2–2 0–1 1–2

Source: soccerway.com
1The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.

Second half of season
Home \ Away1 ATH DUN KIL LIM LON MON SHB SFI WAT WEX
Athlone Town 2–2 3–0 0–3 0–0 1–0 0–1 0–1 1–1 1–0
Dundalk 7–0 4–1 0–1 1–2 3–0 2–1 2–1 2–1 1–0
Kildare County 1–0 1–6 0–2 0–2 1–2 1–2 1–1 1–2 1–2
Limerick FC 0–0 2–0 1–2 1–3 2–1 1–2 1–1 5–1 1–1
Longford Town 1–1 0–3 0–1 1–2 1–3 1–2 0–3 0–3 2–4
Monaghan United 3–0 2–2 3–3 0–2 5–1 2–0 0–2 2–0 1–2
Shelbourne 3–3 0–0 3–1 1–1 5–0 1–0 0–0 0–0 1–0
Sporting Fingal 1–0 0–0 2–0 2–0 0–0 0–1 2–1 3–1 2–3
Waterford United 3–0 0–1 3–1 3–1 4–0 1–1 0–1 2–1 1–0
Wexford Youths 0–0 3–1 0–1 3–0 0–2 1–3 0–3 2–2 1–1

Source: soccerway.com
1The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.

'A' Championship

Group 1
Home \ Away1 BOH DER DRO FHA MER SAL SHA SLI
Bohemians A 1–0 3–2 4–1 4–0 2–0 3–1 3–1
Derry City A 1–1 1–3 1–1 1–3 4–0 0–0 3–0
Drogheda United A 1–1 1–0 0–2 1–1 2–2 1–0 5–1
Finn Harps A 1–3 0–1 4–0 3–1 1–0 1–0 2–0
Mervue United 1–2 5–4 1–1 0–3 1–2 4–0 2–0
Salthill Devon 0–3 3–1 0–1 0–1 0–4 2–2 3–1
Shamrock Rovers A 2–0 4–3 4–4 2–0 0–1 6–0 2–2
Sligo Rovers A 1–4 1–4 3–1 0–4 3–0 2–1 1–0
Source: loi.ie
1The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.
Group 2
Home \ Away1 BRW COB COR GAL LIM StP TUL UCD
Bray Wanderers A 3–4 1–0 2–2 3–0 4–0 9–0 1–5
Cobh Ramblers A 2–0 0–3 1–2 6–0 1–1 3–0 0–3
Cork City A 1–0 2–1 0–2 3–1 0–0 8–1 0–5
Galway United A 3–0 2–2 0–0 1–0 2–0 4–0 1–1
Limerick 37 A 1–2 1–2 0–1 1–0 1–1 3–1 4–3
St Patrick's Athletic A 0–0 2–0 2–0 2–0 0–4 3–0 0–2
Tullamore Town 1–5 1–2 0–4 2–1 1–1 0–4 0–8
University College Dublin A 1–1 5–0 0–0 3–0 9–0 2–1 5–0
Source: loi.ie
1The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.

Top goalscorers

The following sections contain only goals which were scored in the respective leagues.

Premier League

Source: soccerway.com

16 goals
15 goals
13 goals
11 goals
9 goals
8 goals

First Division

Source: soccerway.com

16 goals
15 goals
13 goals
11 goals
9 goals
8 goals

League of Ireland Clubs in Europe 2008–09

Team 2007 league position Competition Reason
Drogheda United 1 UEFA Champions League (1st qual.) League champions
Cork City 4 UEFA Cup (1st qual.) FAI Cup winners
St Patrick's Athletic 2 UEFA Cup (1st qual.) League runners-up
Bohemians 3 UEFA Intertoto Cup Third in League

UEFA Champions League

Drogheda United beat Estonian champions Levadia Tallinn in the first qualifying round and went on to play three times Champions League/European Cup semi-finalists Dynamo Kyiv. Despite a 2–1 loss at home to the champions from Ukraine, Drogheda went on to draw 2–2 away from home and almost went on to win the game that would have sent them into the Third Qualifying Round.

UEFA Cup

Cork City drew 2–2 with FC Haka of Finland in their first qualifying round tie but disappointingly lost the second leg 4–0 knocking them of the European competition.

St Patrick's Athletic were paired with Latvian side JFK Olimps Rīga and won both legs to seal a 3–0 victory on aggregate. Pats drew Elfsborg from Sweden in the second qualifying round and despite going 2–0 down in the 1st half of the away leg, they put in an excellent performance during the second half to score twice leaving it at 2–2. The second leg at home was tense with both teams creating chances. Elfsborg scored first in the second half leaving it in the Swedes' favour. Pats however weren't down an out and shortly equalised, before scoring the winner in extra time, sending the home crowd into euphoria. Pats drew Hertha BSC in the First Round and lost their first leg in Germany 2–0 despite putting in a strong performance. The RDS in Dublin hosted the return leg and Pats were unlucky not to win after striking the post twice as well as dominating the play during a 0–0 draw. The Saints bowed out of Europe having done themselves proud, winning three games and drawing another two, losing just once - in the Olympiastadion.

UEFA Intertoto Cup

Bohemians progressed to the second round of the 2008 Intertoto Cup after defeating Rhyl of Wales 9–3 on aggregate in the first round. They played FK Rīga in the second round but were defeated on away goals. They lost the first leg 1–0 away in Latvia but could only tie up the aggregate score by winning 2–1 at Dalymount Park in the second leg. Rīga's away goal put Bohemians out. Ironically, FK Rīga lost their third qualifying round of the Intertoto Cup to Elfsborg from Sweden, the same side who St. Pats knocked out in the Uefa Cup.

2008 UEFA Coefficient

The FAI National League's UEFA coefficient accumulated to a total value of 7.332 as of the 2007–08 European season.

2008 national league UEFA ranking

Ranking going into 2008–09 European season:

  1. Lithuania Lithuania
  2. Moldova Moldova
  3. Republic of Ireland Republic of Ireland
  4. Republic of Macedonia Macedonia
  5. Iceland Iceland

See also

External links

References


The 2008 FAI League of Ireland season consisted of both Premier and First Division, as well as the newly introduced 'A' Championship. The season kicked off in March and the 'A' Championship commenced in June. In order to prepare for the 'A' Championship, competing clubs were offered the opportunity to compete in a Shield competition, which began in March.[1]

The season was a transitional one in order to reduce the number of clubs in the Premier Division to ten and increase the amount in the First Division to twelve. As a result there was no playoffs with just the three bottom clubs in the Premier Division automatically relegated to the First Division and the First Division champions automatically promoted to the Premier Division.

There was a playoff between the bottom placed side in the First Division and an 'A' Championship qualifier to determine who would participate in 2009 in the First Division.

Contents

Pre-season developments

Managerial changes

Several FAI League of Ireland clubs changed their managers during pre-season. Alan Mathews resigned as manager of recently relegated Longford Town. The First Division club have since promoted Mathews' assistant at the club, Aaron Callaghan, to replace him as manager of the club.[2] Pat Fenlon was also back in management after his brief reign in charge of Derry City in the early stage of the previous season. He was manager of Bohemians after they sacked Sean Connor.[3] Back at Derry City they re-appointed former manager Stephen Kenny after he had left the eircom league club the season before previous to take over the reins of then SPL side Dunfermline Athletic. Kenny was sacked by the Scottish club this season.[4] Another manager without a job was Damien Richardson after he and Cork City reached a settlement for him to leave the club.[5] The 2007 FAI Cup winners have since appointed Alan Mathews as their new manager.[6]

Kilkenny City withdraw from League

Shortly before the league issued fixtures for the new season Kilkenny City issued a statement saying they were withdrawing from the League due to financial and inadequate support.[7] Sporting Fingal, who were due to take part in the inaugural 'A' Championship, were offered Kilkenny's place in the First Division.[8]

'A' Championship

The 'A' Championship was a new league introduced in order to provide a link between non-league soccer in the Republic of Ireland and the eircom League. It gave clubs the opportunity to win promotion to the league for the first time. It has been decided that this championship would not kick off until June but a Shield competition, starting in March, was put in place in order to give the 'A' Championship participants a chance to prepare. The league contained reserve sides of the eircom League clubs also. The previous December four new clubs were accepted for entry into the championship. These clubs were Mervue United, Salthill Devon (both from Galway), Tullamore Town from Offaly and newly formed Dublin club Sporting Fingal who have since been elevated to the First Division.[1]

Television coverage

For the first time in the history of the league the national broadcaster Radio Telefís Éireann started showing highlights of every Premier Division game played on its new show Monday Night Soccer. This show was presented by Con Murphy. Radio coverage was provided by national broadcaster RTÉ with live reports and commentary on match nights. TG4 were the weekly broadcasters, with Sacar Beo. RTÉ and Setanta Sports occasionally showed matches.

Clubs information

Team Base Manager Main sponsor Kit supplier Stadium Capacity
Athlone Town Athlone, Co. Westmeath Place, Brendan Ganly's Hardware O'Neills Athlone Town Stadium 2,000
Bohemians Dublin Fenlon, Pat Des Kelly Interiors Umbro Dalymount Park 8,500
Bray Wanderers Bray, Co. Wicklow Gormley, Eddie Hard Metal Umbro Carlisle Grounds 7,000
Cobh Ramblers Cobh, Co. Cork Hill, Dave Goodyear Uhlsport St. Colman's Park 5,000
Cork City Cork Doolin, Paul Beamish Hummel Turners Cross 8,000
Derry City Derry Kenny, Stephen MeteorElectrical.com O'Neills The Brandywell 7,700
Drogheda United Drogheda, Co. Louth Mathews, Alan Hunky Dorys Jako United Park 5,400
Dundalk Dundalk, Co. Louth Connor, Sean Shop Dundalk Umbro Oriel Park 6,000
Finn Harps Ballybofey, Co. Donegal Gallagher, James Donegal Creameries Masita Finn Park 7,900
Galway United Galway Foster, Ian O'Connell Drylining LTD Rival Terryland Park 5,000
Kildare County Newbridge, Co. Kildare Somerville, John Cill Dara Betting O'Neills Station Road 2,500
Limerick 37 Limerick Kerley, Michael Limerick's Live 95FM Jako Jackman Park 8,000
Longford Town Longford Gough, Alan Flancare Umbro Flancare Park 4,500
Mervue United Galway Glynn, Johnny Atlantic Developments Fahy's Field
Monaghan United Monaghan Cooke, Mick The Squeeling Pig Nike Century Homes Park 3,000
Salthill Devon Galway Long, Emlyn FCS Umbro Drom Clubhouse 2,000
Shamrock Rovers Dublin O'Neill, Michael Woodie's DIY Umbro Tolka Park 9,700
Shelbourne Dublin Keely, Dermot Cab 2000 Umbro Tolka Park 9,700
Sligo Rovers Sligo Cook, Paul Toher's Jako The Showgrounds 5,500
Sporting Fingal Dublin Buckley, Liam Keelings O'Neills Morton Stadium 10,000
St. Patrick's Athletic Dublin Kenna, Jeff Paddy Power Umbro Richmond Park 5,500
Tullamore Town Offaly Colsh, Keith Leah Victoria Park 4,000
UCD Dublin Mahon, Pete Budweiser O'Neills UCD Bowl 3,000
Waterford United Waterford Henderson, Stephen Hutchison 3G Azzurri Waterford Regional Sports Centre 8,000
Wexford Youths Crossabeg, Co. Wexford Wallace, Mick Wallace Construction O'Neills Ferrycarraig Park 5,000

League

Rules

Procedure

There were twelve participating clubs in the Premier Division and ten participating clubs in the First Division for 2007. During the course of the 2008 season (which lasted from March to November) each Premier club played the respective others three times. A pre-season draw decided which clubs will have the benefit of two home games in these matches. First Division sides played each other four times throughout the season - two games at home and two games at the stadium of the opposition. Each team in the Premier Division played 33 matches in total during the season, while those in the First Division played 36 games. The 'A' League Championship contained three clubs and reserve sides from Premier Division and some First Division clubs. The Championship was divided into two sections or groups. This didn't start until June with a Shield competition taking place before that.

Teams received three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points were awarded for a loss. Teams were ranked by total points, then goal difference and then goals scored. If there is equality in points, goal difference and goals for tallies, the clubs involved must partake in a play-off to decide their finishing positions. At the end of the season, the club with the most points in their division were crowned as champion of that division. The three lowest placed teams in the Premier were automatically relegated into the First Division and the top team from the First Division was automatically promoted to the Premier Division. In addition, the 2007 winner of the First Division had a once-off play-off with the winners of the FAI League Cup for a Setanta Cup place. The team that finished last in the First Division participated in a promotion/relegation playoff. The winners of the playoff between the highest placed non-reserve sides in both 'A' League Championship groups, provided that they both finished in the top four in their respective group, would have challenged the team that finished last in the First Division for their place in a promotion/relegation playoff. However, since only one of the 'A' League Championship groups had a non-reserve side in the top four then this team automatically faced the club that finished last in the First Division in a promotion/relegation playoff. If eircom League reserve sides had occupied the top four positions in both 'A' League Championship sections then no promotion/relegation playoff would have taken place and the team that finished last in the First Division would not have been relegated.

Qualification for 2009–10 European competitions

The top team in the Premier League qualified for the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round and must win three two-legged knockout ties against higher seeded and stronger opposition with progression in order to enter the group phase.

There were also three spots reserved in newly formed UEFA Europa League, two through league positions and one through domestic cup. The second-placed and third-placed team should have qualified for the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round while the cup winners should have qualified for the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round. However, since Bohemians won both the cup and the league, Europa League spot went to cup runners-up. Because they qualified for Europe through league, fourth-placed team were also awarded with a spot in the Europa League. The spot were thereby given to teams according to league positions. League runners-up and third-place team were given spots in the second, while the fourth-placed team was given a spot in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.

Prize funds

The trend of increasing prize funds for the league has continued this season. Between the National League, FAI Cup, FAI League Cup and the Setanta Cup a prize fund in excess of €2 million was available. The prize fund for the Premier Division in 2008 has increased with the winners being awarded €250,000. Unlike previous year every team received funds, even the last placed.[9] The winners of the 'A' Championship were given €20,000.[1]

Season

Tables

Premier Division

P
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Bohemians  (C) 33 27 4 2 55 13+42 85 UEFA Champions League 2009–10 Second qualifying round 2
2 St Patrick's Athletic 33 20 6 7 48 24+24 66 UEFA Europa League 2009–10 Second qualifying round 1,2
3 Derry City 33 16 10 7 46 25+21 58 UEFA Europa League 2009–10 Second qualifying round 1
4 Sligo Rovers 33 12 12 9 41 28+13 48 UEFA Europa League 2009–10 First qualifying round 1
5 Cork City 33 15 11 7 45 28+17 463
6 Bray Wanderers 33 11 6 16 28 52−24 39
7 Shamrock Rovers 33 8 13 12 33 35−2 37
8 Drogheda United 33 12 9 12 38 32+6 353
9 Galway United 33 8 8 17 34 49−15 32
10 Finn Harps  (R) 33 9 4 20 26 53−27 31 Relegation to
First Division 2009
11 Cobh Ramblers  (R) 33 6 8 19 27 55−28 26
12 UCD  (R) 33 4 9 20 19 46−27 21

Source: soccerway.com
Rules for classification: 1st points; 2nd goal difference; 3rd goals scored.
1Since winners of FAI Cup 2008, Bohemians, also won the league, their spot in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League went to league runners-up, St Patrick's Athletic. Derry City, as cup runners-up, were guaranteed a spot in the first qualifying round. However, because Derry City finished third (and thereby already securing UEFA place), fourth-placed team Sligo Rovers also earned Europa League spot.
2Team also qualified for Setanta Sports Cup 2009.
3Cork City and Drogheda United were both deducted ten points after going into administration.[10][11]
P = Position; Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points;
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (Q) = Qualified to respective phase of tournament; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.

First Division

P
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Dundalk  (C) 36 21 8 7 69 30+39 71 Promotion to
Premier Division 2009
2 Shelbourne 36 20 10 6 55 25+30 70
3 Waterford United 36 18 9 9 55 35+20 63
4 Sporting Fingal 36 17 11 8 53 32+21 62
5 Template:Fb team Limerick 37 36 15 7 14 49 45+4 52
6 Monaghan United 36 13 8 15 38 51−13 47
7 Wexford Youths 36 10 7 19 36 51−15 37
8 Longford Town 36 9 8 19 36 55−19 35
9 Athlone Town 36 6 14 16 23 51−28 32
10 Kildare County 36 6 8 22 34 73−39 26 Qualification to
Relegation/Promotion play-off

Source: soccerway.com
Rules for classification: 1st points; 2nd goal difference; 3rd goals scored.
P = Position; Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points;
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (Q) = Qualified to respective phase of tournament; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.

'A' League Championship

Template:'A' League Championship 2008 Tables

Relegation/Promotion play-off

Kildare County and Mervue United competed in a two-legged playoff for one spot in 2009 First Division. Mervue United won 5–2 on aggregate and thereby secured a place in next year's FAI First Division.

18 November 2008
20:00
Mervue United 2 – 2 Kildare County Fahy's Field
Keogh  10'
Goldbey  28'
Hughes  54'  76'

21 November 2008
19:45
Kildare County 0 – 3 Mervue United Station Road
O'Brien  15'
Goldbey  64'  81'

'A' Championship play-off

Bohemians 'A' and UCD 'A' competed in a playoff for the inaugural 'A' Championship title. UCD 'A' won 2–1 and therefore became the 2008 'A' Championship winners.

11 November 2008
UCD 'A' 2 – 1 Bohemians 'A' UCD Bowl

Results

Premier League

Matches 1–22
Home \ Away1 BOH BRW COBCORDERDROFHAGALSHMSLIStPUCD
Bohemians 1–1 3–0 2–1 0–0 2–0 3–0 2–1 2–1 3–0 0–1 2–0
Bray Wanderers 0–2 1–0 0–3 1–0 1–0 1–0 0–1 1–0 0–0 0–3 0–2
Cobh Ramblers 0–1 1–2 0–0 0–3 0–4 1–3 1–1 2–0 1–3 0–1 0–0
Cork City 0–1 0–0 5–0 1–1 0–2 3–0 3–2 1–1 1–0 0–0 1–0
Derry City 0–0 4–0 1–0 2–3 2–0 2–1 0–0 0–1 0–0 0–3 4–1
Drogheda United 1–2 2–0 3–0 0–1 0–1 1–0 1–0 0–1 1–1 2–2 2–1
Finn Harps 0–2 1–0 2–1 0–1 0–2 1–3 0–2 1–1 0–1 0–3 1–0
Galway United 0–1 2–3 0–1 1–3 0–4 0–1 2–2 0–2 1–1 2–2 1–2
Shamrock Rovers 0–1 2–0 0–0 1–1 1–1 0–0 0–2 3–1 1–0 0–1 1–1
Sligo Rovers 1–2 3–0 3–1 0–1 0–0 0–0 4–1 3–0 3–2 1–2 0–0
St Patrick's Athletic 0–1 1–1 1–0 3–2 0–1 0–1 5–1 1–0 1–1 3–1 0–0
UCD 1–1 2–2 1–1 0–2 2–3 1–3 1–0 0–1 0–2 0–0 0–3
Source: soccerway.com
1The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; White = draw; Red = away team win.
Matches 23–33
Home \ Away1 BOH BRW COBCORDERDROFHAGALSHMSLIStPUCD
Bohemians 2–1 3–1 0–1 3–0 3–0
Bray Wanderers 3–2 2–1 4–3 0–1 0–1 2–1
Cobh Ramblers 0–2 1–1 4–1 1–0 2–0
Cork City 3–0 1–1 0–0 1–1 0–0 2–0
Derry City 4–2 0–1 1–0 2–0 1–1
Drogheda United 1–2 0–0 1–2 1–1 1–1 0–2
Finn Harps 2–2 2–0 0–2 0–1 2–0
Galway United 0–2 4–0 3–2 3–0 1–1
Shamrock Rovers 1–2 2–2 3–0 1–1 1–3 1–1
Sligo Rovers 0–1 2–0 4–0 3–3 1–1 2–1
St Patrick's Athletic 0–3 0–1 2–1 0–1 1–0 2–0
UCD 0–1 1–2 1–0 0–1 0–1
Source: soccerway.com
1The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; White = draw; Red = away team win.

First Division

First half of season
Home \ Away1 ATH DUN KILTemplate:Fb team Limerick 37LONMONSHBSFIWATWEX
Athlone Town 0–3 1–1 2–2 1–0 0–0 0–1 0–3 0–0 3–1
Dundalk 1–0 6–0 0–2 0–0 3–0 1–3 3–2 1–0 2–1
Kildare County 1–1 1–2 1–2 0–1 4–0 1–3 0–2 1–2 2–0
Template:Fb team Limerick 37 0–0 1–2 4–0 2–1 2–2 0–3 1–3 0–3 2–0
Longford Town 3–0 1–2 0–0 1–2 3–0 2–0 5–1 0–2 0–1
Monaghan United 1–2 0–0 0–0 1–0 1–0 1–0 1–0 0–0 0–2
Shelbourne 2–0 0–0 5–0 0–2 2–0 2–0 1–1 2–0 1–0
Sporting Fingal 2–0 1–1 2–2 1–0 1–1 4–0 0–0 3–1 2–0
Waterford United 1–1 1–0 3–2 3–1 1–1 5–0 1–1 2–0 1–0
Wexford Youths 2–0 0–5 1–1 1–0 1–1 1–2 2–2 0–1 1–2
Source: soccerway.com
1The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; White = draw; Red = away team win.
Second half of season
Home \ Away1 ATH DUN KILTemplate:Fb team Limerick 37LONMONSHBSFIWATWEX
Athlone Town 2–2 3–0 0–3 0–0 1–0 0–1 0–1 1–1 1–0
Dundalk 7–0 4–1 0–1 1–2 3–0 2–1 2–1 2–1 1–0
Kildare County 1–0 1–6 0–2 0–2 1–2 1–2 1–1 1–2 1–2
Template:Fb team Limerick 37 0–0 2–0 1–2 1–3 2–1 1–2 1–1 5–1 1–1
Longford Town 1–1 0–3 0–1 1–2 1–3 1–2 0–3 0–3 2–4
Monaghan United 3–0 2–2 3–3 0–2 5–1 2–0 0–2 2–0 1–2
Shelbourne 3–3 0–0 3–1 1–1 5–0 1–0 0–0 0–0 1–0
Sporting Fingal 1–0 0–0 2–0 2–0 0–0 0–1 2–1 3–1 2–3
Waterford United 3–0 0–1 3–1 3–1 4–0 1–1 0–1 2–1 1–0
Wexford Youths 0–0 3–1 0–1 3–0 0–2 1–3 0–3 2–2 1–1
Source: soccerway.com
1The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; White = draw; Red = away team win.

'A' Championship

Group 1
Home \ Away1 BOH DER DROFHAMERSALSHASLI
Bohemians 'A' 1–0 3–2 4–1 4–0 2–0 3–1 3–1
Derry City 'A' 1–1 1–3 1–1 1–3 4–0 0–0 3–0
Drogheda United 'A' 1–1 1–0 0–2 1–1 2–2 1–0 5–1
Finn Harps 'A' 1–3 0–1 4–0 3–1 1–0 1–0 2–0
Mervue United 1–2 5–4 1–1 0–3 1–2 4–0 2–0
Salthill Devon 0–3 3–1 0–1 0–1 0–4 2–2 3–1
Shamrock Rovers 'A' 2–0 4–3 4–4 2–0 0–1 6–0 2–2
Sligo Rovers 'A' 1–4 1–4 3–1 0–4 3–0 2–1 1–0
Source: loi.ie
1The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; White = draw; Red = away team win.

Group 2
Home \ Away1 BRW COB CORGALLIMStPTULUCD
Bray Wanderers 'A' 3–4 1–0 2–2 3–0 4–0 9–0 1–5
Cobh Ramblers 'A' 2–0 0–3 1–2 6–0 1–1 3–0 0–3
Cork City 'A' 1–0 2–1 0–2 3–1 0–0 8–1 0–5
Galway United 'A' 3–0 2–2 0–0 1–0 2–0 4–0 1–1
Limerick 37 'A' 1–2 1–2 0–1 1–0 1–1 3–1 4–3
St Patrick's Athletic 'A' 0–0 2–0 2–0 2–0 0–4 3–0 0–2
Tullamore Town 1–5 1–2 0–4 2–1 1–1 0–4 0–8
University College Dublin 'A' 1–1 5–0 0–0 3–0 9–0 2–1 5–0
Source: loi.ie
1The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; White = draw; Red = away team win.

Top goalscorers

The following sections contain only goals which were scored in the respective leagues.

Premier League

Source: soccerway.com

16 goals
15 goals
13 goals
11 goals
9 goals
8 goals

First Division

Source: soccerway.com

16 goals
15 goals
13 goals
11 goals
9 goals
8 goals

FAI eircom National League Clubs in Europe 2008–09

Team 2007 league position Competition Reason
Drogheda United 1 UEFA Champions League (1st qual.) League champions
Cork City 4 UEFA Cup (1st qual.) FAI Cup winners
St Patrick's Athletic 2 UEFA Cup (1st qual.) League runners-up
Bohemians 3 UEFA Intertoto Cup Third in League

UEFA Champions League

Drogheda United beat Estonian champions Levadia Tallinn in the first qualifying round and went on to play three times Champions League/European Cup semi-finalists Dynamo Kyiv. Despite a 2–1 loss at home to the champions from Ukraine, Drogheda went on to draw 2–2 away from home and almost went on to win the game that would have sent them into the Third Qualifying Round.

UEFA Cup

Cork City drew 2–2 with FC Haka of Finland in their first qualifying round tie but disappointingly lost the second leg 4–0 knocking them of the European competition.

St Patrick's Athletic were paired with Latvian side JFK Olimps Rīga and won both legs to seal a 3–0 victory on aggregate. Pats drew Elfsborg from Sweden in the second qualifying round and despite going 2–0 down in the 1st half of the away leg, they put in an excellent performance during the second half to score twice leaving it at 2–2. The second leg at home was tense with both teams creating chances. Elfsborg scored first in the second half leaving it in the Swedes' favour. Pats however weren't down an out and shortly equalised, before scoring the winner in extra time, sending the home crowd into euphoria. Pats drew Hertha BSC in the First Round and lost their first leg in Germany 2–0 despite putting in a strong performance. The RDS in Dublin hosted the return leg and Pats were unlucky not to win after striking the post twice as well as dominating the play during a 0–0 draw. The Saints bowed out of Europe having done themselves proud, winning three games and drawing another two, losing just once - in the Olympiastadion.

UEFA Intertoto Cup

Bohemians progressed to the second round of the 2008 Intertoto Cup after defeating Rhyl of Wales 9–3 on aggregate in the first round. They played FK Rīga in the second round but were defeated on away goals. They lost the first leg 1–0 away in Latvia but could only tie up the aggregate score by winning 2–1 at Dalymount Park in the second leg. Rīga's away goal put Bohemians out. Ironically, FK Rīga lost their third qualifying round of the Intertoto Cup to Elfsborg from Sweden, the same side who St. Pats knocked out in the Uefa Cup.

2008 UEFA Coefficient

The FAI National League's UEFA coefficient accumulated to a total value of 7.332 as of the 2007–08 European season.

2008 national league UEFA ranking

Ranking going into 2008–09 European season:

  • 33 Lithuania
  • 34 Moldova
  • 35 Republic of Ireland
  • 36 Template:Country data FYR Macedonia FYR Macedonia
  • 37 Template:Country data Iceland Iceland

See also

External links

References

Template:Fb start |-

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Template:2007-08 in European Football (UEFA) Template:2008-09 in European Football (UEFA) Template:Fb end


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