2012–13 IFA Premiership

The 2012–13 IFA Premiership (known as the Danske Bank Premiership for sponsorship reasons) was the fifth season of Northern Ireland's national football league in this format since its inception in 2008, and the 112th season of Irish league football overall.

IFA Premiership
1st Premiership title
4th Irish title (inc. 1 shared)
RelegatedDonegal Celtic
Lisburn Distillery
Champions LeagueCliftonville
Europa LeagueGlentoran (via Irish Cup)
Matches played228
Goals scored684 (3 per match)
Top goalscorerLiam Boyce (29 goals)
Biggest home winGlenavon 7–0 Ballymena United
Glenavon 7–0 Lisburn Distillery
Biggest away winBallymena United 0–8 Cliftonville
Highest scoringGlentoran 4–5 Crusaders
Highest attendance5,458[1]
Linfield 2–1 Glentoran
(26 December 2012)
Lowest attendance39[1]
Donegal Celtic 2–1
Dungannon Swifts
(16 April 2013)
Average attendance828[1]

The season began on 11 August 2012 and ended on 27 April 2013. This was the last season of the league under the control of the Irish Football Association. From the following season onwards, the league became part of the newly created Northern Ireland Football League.[2]

Linfield were the defending champions after winning their third consecutive title – their 51st league title overall last season.[3] This season however, Cliftonville were the champions for the fourth time overall and the first time since the 1997–98 season.[4] It was also the first time in eleven years that neither Linfield or Glentoran had won the title, with the previous occasion being 2001–02 when Portadown won their fourth title.

Lisburn Distillery finished bottom of the table and were relegated to Championship 1 after a 2–0 defeat to Ballymena United on 16 April 2013. The club had participated in all 112 seasons of senior football so far, and at the time were one of only four clubs to have done so; the others being Cliftonville, Linfield and Glentoran. The club had not been outside the top division since winning the 2001–02 Irish League First Division title, which at the time was the second tier of senior football. However, the restructuring of the league system in 2003 consolidated senior football into one division, which meant that this was the first time in the club's history that they had been relegated to intermediate football. This brought an end to both their 123-year stay in senior football, and their 11-year stay in the top flight.[5] 11th-placed Donegal Celtic joined them in Championship 1, after losing on the away goals rule to Warrenpoint Town in the Promotion/relegation play-off following a 2–2 draw on aggregate.[6] This was the first time since the 2005–06 season that two clubs had been promoted to, and relegated from the top flight.


2011–12 Championship 1 winners Ballinamallard United were promoted to this season's Premiership after successfully gaining the required Championship Club Licence from the IFA.[7] Last season's bottom-placed Premiership club Carrick Rangers replaced them in Championship 1 after only one season in the top flight.[8][9]

Championship 1 runners-up Newry City lost out on promotion, as last season's 11th placed club Lisburn Distillery defeated them 3–2 on aggregate in the Promotion/relegation play-off.[10]

Stadia and locationsEdit

Location of the Belfast-based teams in the IFA Premiership 2012–13
Club Stadium Location Capacity[11][12][13]
Ballinamallard United Ferney Park Ballinamallard 2,000 (250 seated)
Ballymena United The Showgrounds Ballymena 3,050 (all seated)
Cliftonville Solitude Belfast 2,530 (all seated)
Coleraine The Showgrounds Coleraine 2,496 (1,106 seated)
Crusaders Seaview Belfast 3,383 (all seated)
Donegal Celtic Donegal Celtic Park Belfast 2,330 (650 seated)
Dungannon Swifts Stangmore Park Dungannon 5,000 (600 seated)
Glenavon Mourneview Park Lurgan 4,160 (4,000 seated)
Glentoran The Oval Belfast 5,056 (3,991 seated)
Linfield Windsor Park Belfast 12,342 (all seated)
Lisburn Distillery New Grosvenor Stadium Ballyskeagh 7,000 (540 seated)
Portadown Shamrock Park Portadown 3,940 (2,740 seated)

League tableEdit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification or relegation
1 Cliftonville (C) 38 29 4 5 95 38 +57 91 Qualification to Champions League second qualifying round
2 Crusaders 38 26 5 7 82 41 +41 83 Qualification to Europa League first qualifying round[a]
3 Linfield 38 17 11 10 69 48 +21 62
4 Glentoran 38 15 12 11 63 44 +19 57
5 Ballinamallard United 38 15 8 15 49 43 +6 53
6 Coleraine 38 13 14 11 50 57 −7 53
7 Portadown 38 15 10 13 55 55 0 55[b]
8 Ballymena United 38 11 13 14 54 68 −14 46
9 Glenavon 38 12 6 20 64 62 +2 42
10 Dungannon Swifts 38 9 13 16 42 58 −16 40
11 Donegal Celtic (R) 38 6 9 23 32 80 −48 27 Qualification to Promotion/relegation play-off
12 Lisburn Distillery (R) 38 4 7 27 29 90 −61 19 Relegation to NIFL Championship 1
Source: rsssf.com
Rules for classification: 1st points; 2nd goal difference; 3rd number of goals scored; 4th head-to-head points; 5th head-to-head goal difference
(C) Champion; (R) Relegated
  1. ^ Glentoran also qualified for the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League first qualifying round by winning the 2012–13 Irish Cup.
  2. ^ After 33 games, clubs in the bottom half of the table at the split cannot climb into the top half, regardless of the number of points earned during matches 34–38.


Matches 34–38Edit

During matches 34–38 each team played every other team in their half of the table once. As this was the fourth time that teams played each other this season, home sides in this round were chosen so that they played each other twice at home and twice away.

Promotion/relegation play-offEdit

Donegal Celtic played Warrenpoint Town, the runners-up of the 2012–13 IFA Championship 1 in a two-legged tie for a place in next season's NIFL Premiership. Warrenpoint Town won the tie on the away goals rule to reach the top flight for the first time in the club's history. Donegal Celtic were relegated to next season's Championship 1.[6]

Warrenpoint Town1 – 0Donegal Celtic
Hughes   77' Report
Milltown, Warrenpoint

Donegal Celtic2 – 1Warrenpoint Town
McVeigh   45'
Miskimmin   83'
Report McCabe   74'

2–2 on aggregate. Warrenpoint Town won on away goals rule and were promoted. Donegal Celtic were relegated.

Top scorersEdit

Rank Scorer Club Goals[15]
1   Liam Boyce Cliftonville 29
2   Andrew Waterworth Glentoran 20
3   Darren Murray Portadown 18
4   Curtis Allen Coleraine 17
  Joe Gormley Cliftonville 17
6   Jordan Owens Crusaders 16
7   Timmy Adamson Crusaders 15
8   Gary McCutcheon Crusaders 13
9   David Cushley Ballymena United 11
  Brian McCaul Linfield 11

IFA Premiership clubs in Europe 2012–13Edit

UEFA coefficient and rankingEdit

For the 2012–13 UEFA competitions, the associations were allocated places according to their 2011 UEFA country coefficients, which took into account their performance in European competitions from 2006–07 to 2010–11. In the 2011 rankings used for this season's European competitions, Northern Ireland's coefficient points total was 2.249. After earning a score of 1.125 during the 2010–11 European campaign, the league was ranked by UEFA as the 49th best league in Europe out of 53 – not moving from 49th the previous season. This season Northern Ireland earned 1.125 points, which was added to the points total for the 2013 rankings used in 2014–15 UEFA competitions.

UEFA Champions LeagueEdit

First qualifying round

After winning the league last season, Linfield were the league's sole representatives in the UEFA Champions League. They entered the draw at the first qualifying round where they were drawn to face B36 Tórshavn from the Faroe Islands. The first leg at Windsor Park ended in a 0–0 draw, with Linfield missing several opportunities to score, and Peter Thompson missing a penalty. The second leg was played on 10 July 2012 in the Faroe Islands, and again the teams were inseparable and the game finished as another 0–0 stalemate. The tie went to extra time and with still no goals, a penalty shootout. Linfield won the shootout 4–3 and progressed to the second qualifying round.

Second Qualifying round

They were drawn to face AEL Limassol of Cyprus. The first leg against was played on 18 July 2012 in Cyprus. Linfield succumbed to a 3–0 defeat in the searing heat against their full-time opponents. The return leg at Windsor Park was played on 25 July 2012. This time, Linfield managed to hold their opponents to a 0–0 draw, but it was not enough, and they left the competition 3–0 on aggregate.

UEFA Europa LeagueEdit

First qualifying round

2011–12 League runners-up Portadown, 3rd-placed Cliftonville, and Irish Cup runners-up Crusaders all earned a place in the UEFA Europa League. They entered the competition at the first qualifying round.

Cliftonville faced Kalmar FF from Sweden. The home leg was played on 5 July 2012, with Cliftonville earning a 1–0 win, Liam Boyce scoring the winning goal in the 71st minute. However, the away leg ended in a 4–0 defeat, and Cliftonville bowed out of the competition 4–1 on aggregate.

Crusaders got perhaps the toughest draw, after they were paired with Rosenborg BK from Norway, a club that reached the group stage of the 2007–08 UEFA Champions League, and held Chelsea to a 1–1 draw at Stamford Bridge in a group stage match. The first leg was played on 5 July 2012 at Seaview. Crusaders were second best for most of the match, with Rosenborg earning a comfortable 3–0 win. The second leg also ended in a Crusaders defeat, this time 1–0. Crusaders exited the competition 4–0 on aggregate.

Portadown were drawn to face Macedonian side FK Shkëndija. The first leg was played on 3 July 2012 in Macedonia, and ended in a 0–0 draw. The second leg was played on 10 July at Shamrock Park. Portadown fell behind in the 4th minute, but second-half goals from Richard Lecky and Ross Redman won the match for Portadown and they went through 2–1 on aggregate.

Second qualifying round

Portadown then faced NK Slaven Belupo from Croatia in the second qualifying round, with the first leg in Croatia being played on 19 July 2012. They were unable to repeat their heroics from the previous round, and fell to a heavy 6–0 defeat at the hands of their Croatian hosts. The second leg was played on 26 July 2012, with the Ports seemingly only having pride left to play for. They restored some pride by scoring 2 goals, but still lost the game 4–2. Portadown left the competition after a rather heavy 10–2 aggregate defeat.

That ended the IFA Premiership's involvement in Europe this season.


  1. ^ a b c "Irish League Supporters Forum – Attendances". Irish League Supporters Forum. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Linfield beat Portadown to secure Premiership crown". BBC Sport. 7 April 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  4. ^ "Cliftonville beat Linfield to secure Irish Premiership title". BBC Sport. 13 April 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  5. ^ "Tim McCann sacked as manager as Lisburn Distillery are relegated". BBC Sport. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Warrenpoint Town overcome Donegal Celtic in Premiership play-off". BBC Sport. 10 May 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  7. ^ "CLUB LICENSING DECISIONS ANNOUNCED". Irish Football Association. irishfa.com. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  8. ^ "Ballinamallard win Championship title as Newry lose". BBC Sport. 31 March 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  9. ^ "Donegal Celtic 3–5 Carrick Rangers". BBC Sport. 28 April 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  10. ^ "Newry City 2–3 Lisburn Distillery". BBC Sport. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  11. ^ "AQW 1178/11". niassembly.gov.uk. 18 October 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  12. ^ "Sport NI Annual review 2008/09" (PDF). sportni.net. p. 18. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  13. ^ "Sport NI Annual review 2009/10" (PDF). sportni.net. p. 16. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 October 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  14. ^ "DC back in automatic relegation picture after points deduction". BBC Sport. 25 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  15. ^ "IFA PREMIERSHIP – TOP GOAL SCORERS". ifapremiership.com. Retrieved 8 December 2012.