Cork City Football Club (Irish: Cumann Peile Chathair Chorcaí) is an Irish association football club based in Cork. The club was founded and elected to the League of Ireland in 1984. It was one of the first clubs in Ireland (and the first in Cork) to field a team of professional footballers. With the progression of professionalism at the club, continued development of the Turners Cross stadium and the transition to summer football, the club became one of the biggest and best supported clubs in the country. In 2008, financial issues resulted in a period of examinership, and the club's then holding company was wound up in 2010. A team was entered into the 2010 League of Ireland First Division, before the club re-acquired rights to the name "Cork City Football Club", and was promoted back to the premier division for the 2012 season. Cork City FC won its third premier division title, and first FAI Cup double, during the 2017 season. Following the 2020 League of Ireland Premier Division, the club were relegated to the League of Ireland First Division.
|Full name||Cork City Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||Rebel Army, City|
|Owner||FORAS (supporter owned)|
|League||League of Ireland First Division|
The club's traditional colours are green and white with red trim, and the crest is a variant of the Cork coat of arms. City's home games are played at Turners Cross. In a survey published in 2020, the club was the highest supported League of Ireland club.
The current club are not the first to use the name Cork City. During the 1920s teams referred to as Cork City competed in both the Munster Senior League and the Munster Senior Cup. A team named Cork City finished as Munster Senior Cup runners up in 1924–25. Another Cork City F.C. also played in the League of Ireland between 1938 and 1940.
Following the bankruptcy of Cork United in 1982, senior football returned to the city with the formation of a new Cork City FC in 1984. Founded by officials from several Cork clubs (including Cork United and Avondale United), the new club was elected to the League of Ireland. Bobby Tambling was the first manager appointed to the club, but he was replaced by Tony 'Tucker' Allen after only 13 games.
In its first and second seasons, the young club barely averted relegation to the new First Division – failing to win a single game at home in Flower Lodge and avoiding relegation only on goal difference. The club reached the semi-finals of the FAI Cup, but were knocked-out by Shamrock Rovers – in the last match played at the Lodge.
In 1986 the club moved to a new home at Turners Cross, where new manager Noel O'Mahony brought Cork to a midtable finish. The following year, former Ireland striker Eamon O'Keefe arrived as manager, delivering the Munster Senior Cup, and the League of Ireland Cup (the club's first national silverware).
By 1988, O'Mahony was re-installed as manager, and the side finished eighth in the league, and a loss to champions Derry City in the FAI Cup final earned the club its first European ticket. While Torpedo Moscow knocked the club out of the 1989–90 European Cup Winners' Cup, City earned a fifth-place finish in the Premier Division, and the Munster Senior Cup was reclaimed.
The early 1990s saw lengthy unbeaten league runs, high league positions, retention of the Munster Senior Cup through four years, and a number of games in European competition. The most notable European game was a UEFA Cup tie with Bayern Munich, which saw City hold the Germans 1:1 at Musgrave Park before falling 0:2 to late goals in Bavaria. 1993 saw Cork City land the League of Ireland Premier Division title for the first time, after a complicated three team play-off. O'Mahoney resigned and the club moved to a new stadium in Bishopstown at the end of the season.
Damien Richardson took the helm and the 1993/94 season began with City coming from three goals down to beat Welsh side Cwmbran Town in the UEFA Champions League. In the following round they suffered odd-goal defeats both home and away to Turkish side Galatasaray. City finished in runners-up position in the league that year.
1994/95 was a varied season for Cork City. After a strong start to the season, financial pressures forced Richardson to resign and with Bishopstown not being developed to plan, games were switched to Cobh, Turners Cross, and an enforced trip to Tolka Park. Noel O'Mahony was re-appointed as manager but the title challenge collapsed. The club did have successes in the Munster Senior Cup and League of Ireland Cup that season however.
At the start of the 1995/96 season Rob Hindmarch took the reins, but the club was in trouble. With the stadium dragging it under, the receiver was called in and the club left 'homeless'. Efforts to save the situation saw a new board installed and a move back to Turners Cross. With limited funds, Hindmarch had skimmed along but relegation still threatened, and a Cup exit saw Dave Barry appointed. The team managed a ninth-place finish in the league, and for the first time in five years City lost the Munster Cup – to Waterford junior side Waterford Crystal.
1996/97 saw City finish in fourth place. The club also narrowly lost out in the League Cup with an unexpected loss to First Division Galway United. Crowds began to increase, and the Munster Senior Cup was recaptured. The following season Cork performed well in the InterToto Cup and the team improved to third in the league. Dave Barry's reign reached its high point in that year, when City won the 1998 FAI Cup. Cork began the following season with eight straight wins but in the end had to settle for second place, as three defeats to champions St Patrick's Athletic were costly. After finishing runner up for the second season in a row in 1999/2000, Barry resigned to be replaced by Colin Murphy.
Colin Murphy stayed for one FAI Super Cup game before departing to Leicester City just days before a UEFA Cup game. His replacement, Derek Mountfield, lasted less than a season and was replaced by former player Liam Murphy. Under Murphy, City embarked on a 13-game unbeaten run that brought an Intertoto ticket and a tenth Munster Cup success.
In 2001, a controversial link-up was proposed between City, English side Leicester City and local outfit Mayfield United. Fans protested however, and the link-up never materialised. Also in 2001, the board of directors stepped down and businessman Brian Lennox assumed control and lead the club to a professional era.
2002 was most notable as a time of transition, as several older players, who had been a mainstay of the team in the 1990s, left the club or joined the coach staff. They were replaced by younger signings – such as George O'Callaghan, John O'Flynn and Dan Murray.
In February 2003 ex-St. Pat's manager Pat Dolan was unveiled as the new boss and he led City to third place in the new summer season. Dolan's second season as manager also proved successful, as City surpassed Malmö FF and NEC Nijmegen in the Intertoto Cup and secured second place in the league.
Dolan was controversially sacked in pre-season 2005 and replaced by former manager Damien Richardson. In 2005, Richardson lead Cork City to their second league championship – winning on the final day of the season with a 2–0 victory over Derry City. In the same year, Cork City finished runners-up the FAI Cup.
2006 saw further upgrade work begin at Turners Cross and City met Apollon Limassol and Red Star Belgrade in the UEFA Champions League. The club lost to Drogheda United in the Setanta Cup Final, finished 4th in the league, and secured a place in the Intertoto and Setanta Cup.
At the start of the 2007 season, two new signings were deemed ineligible for play. This mirrored an inconsistent season start, with elimination from the Setanta Cup, a home win against St. Pat's and a record-equalling 4–1 defeat to Sligo Rovers. In August 2007, Roy O'Donovan left for Sunderland for a record LOI fee of €500,000. 2007 also saw the club's ownership change hands: from chairman Brian Lennox to venture capital firm "Arkaga". Despite an FAI Cup win, manager Damien Richardson's future at the club was in doubt, and – after some acrimony – he and the club parted ways.
In January 2008, former Longford Town boss Alan Mathews became manager, and the club signed several players – including taking advantage of FIFA's changes to the "3 club" rule by re-signing George O'Callaghan from Ipswich Town. However O'Callaghan was later dropped and released. City were knocked out of the first qualifying round in European competition by FC Haka. While David Mooney retained the league's top scorer spot, City failed to take points from Bohemians or St. Pats and finished fifth in the league. The club did however gain some silverware, beating Glentoran in the Setanta Sports Cup final. Off the pitch the club suffered a considerable threat when, in August 2008, after investment difficulties with venture capital firm Arkaga, the club entered into examinership. With debts of up to €800,000, cost-cutting measures were implemented. Under related rules, the club was docked 10 points in the league. In October 2008 the High Court ruled in favour of Tom Coughlan's bid to take over the club, and ended the examinership.
Paul Doolin replaced Mathews as manager for the 2009 season, and the side gained a number of positive results early in 2009 – including defeating Roy Keane's touring Ipswich Town 2–0. Despite these on pitch results however, the club's future was left in considerable doubt following a High Court decision on outstanding Revenue receipts. A "winding up" order was issued when no agreement could be reached on tax payments. The club were given several extensions to pay or to appeal, and the club narrowly staved off closure by meeting a final deadline. Doolin left at the end of 2009, after leading the club to a third-place finish in the 2009 League of Ireland Premier Division.
Fallout from the financial and management difficulties in 2008 and 2009 followed the club into the new decade. Roddy Collins was appointed manager before the start of the 2010 season, despite questions over his contract status at Floriana F.C.. Mounting pressure on owner Tom Coughlan (including threatened boycotts and censure by the FAI) resulted in his resignation as chairman. Club participation in the Premier Division was also left in doubt as licensing decisions were deferred pending changes in club ownership and payment of outstanding tax receipts.
Despite some temporary stays, and several months of court and legal wrangling, the club ultimately failed to gain a licence, meaning a deal on new ownership could not be secured, and the courts enforced a winding-up order on Cork City Investment FC Limited. Cork City fans entered the 2010 League of Ireland First Division with a new company under the name Cork City FORAS Co-op in the immediate aftermath of the winding up of the holding company CCIFC Ltd. The name of the club was restored on 1 June 2010 when a supporters' trust, FORAS, completed the purchase of the rights from Cork City Investments FC Ltd's liquidator. The team continued to compete in the League of Ireland as Cork City FORAS Co-op for the remainder of the season – though the club and most Irish media returned to calling the club Cork City FC, and supporters used this name during the entire period regardless.
Tommy Dunne (formerly assistant manager to Paul Doolin) was appointed first team manager, and oversaw the 2010 season. A number of players were called-up and played for the Ireland U23s, and others to the Ireland U21s. Shane Duggan, and Graham Cummins were both named in the PFAI First Division Team of the Year, while Cummins won the PFAI First Division Player of the Year award and was joint top-scorer in the First Division with 18 league goals. Cork ultimately finished 6th in the First Division in 2010.
In 2011 the club won the First Division, on the last day of the season, securing promotion to the premier division. The team also reached the league cup final losing to Derry City in a game played at Turner's Cross. The club were knocked-out of the 2012 FAI Cup by Shamrock Rovers in the third round, and finished sixth in the 2012 Premier Division league competition.
Results at the start of the 2013 season led to the removal of Tommy Dunne as manager by August, with Stuart Ashton overseeing the remainder of the season and a sixth-place finish. Former veteran player and record scorer John Caulfield was appointed manager in 2014, and oversaw unbeaten runs at the start and end of the season – keeping pressure on league-leaders Dundalk. However, despite pushing the title to a final day decider, Caulfield's side failed to pick up points from Dundalk and finished second in the 2014 Premier Division competition. The club were also runners-up in the 2015 season, again finishing second to Dundalk. This won them a place in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Europa League, where they made it to the third round, their best European record since 1997. For the third consecutive year, Cork City finished second to Dundalk in the 2016 Premier Division. However, in November they beat Dundalk in the 2016 FAI Cup final after Sean Maguire scored a last minute extra time goal to win John Caulfield his first major trophy as manager.
The 2017 season started with a 22-game unbeaten run, however a number of less favourable results mid-season (and the departure of league top-scorer Sean Maguire to the UK and international duty) pushed City's "inevitable" championship win until later in the season. Cork City were named 2017 League of Ireland Premier Division champions on 17 October 2017 - with several games in hand. The club completed its first league and cup 'double', by winning the 2017 FAI Cup Final a few weeks later on 5 November 2017.
City started 2018 with a third successive President's Cup final win over Dundalk - in a game overshadowed by the death of former player Liam Miller, who died earlier in February 2018. As with the preceding four seasons, Dundalk were Cork's main rivals in the 2018 League of Ireland Premier Division and 2018 FAI Cup, with Dundalk ultimately winning both.
A series of poor results at the start of the 2019 season, saw the departure of John Caulfield as manager. Neale Fenn was appointed as Caulfield's replacement in August 2019, following a period where Frank Kelleher and John Cotter held interim management and coaching positions. Cork City finished the 2019 season in 8th position, with just 9 wins and 37 points.
With five games remaining in the 2020 season, and the club at the bottom of the table with just 2 wins, Neale Fenn was replaced as manager by Colin Healy. The club's relegation to the League of Ireland First Division was sealed on 24 October 2020, as their bottom of the table 10th place finish was confirmed following a Finn Harps win over Bohemians.
In late October 2020, the supporters' trust agreed to sell the club to Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings through his company Grovemoor Limited. However, in mid-December 2020, it was reported that the proposed sale would not progress, as Grovemoor Limited could not agree "terms on a lease agreement with the Munster Football Association" for the use of Turner's Cross. Hemmings, who had previously "rescue[d] Cork City" by increasing the payments offered for several player sell-on clauses, died in 2021.
Cork City FC is owned by its supporters through a supporters' trust – the Friends of the Rebel Army Society. This trust elects a Board of Management to run the football club, but the major decisions must be made at Annual General Meetings or Extraordinary General Meetings.
Honours and recordsEdit
|League of Ireland Premier Division||1992–93, 2005, 2017|
|League of Ireland First Division||2011|
|FAI Cup||1998, 2007, 2016, 2017|
|League of Ireland Cup||1987–88, 1994–95, 1998–99|
|President's Cup||2016, 2017, 2018|
|Munster Senior Cup||1987–88, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2008, 2017, 2018, 2018–19|
|Setanta Sports Cup||2008|
|A Championship Shield||2008|
|Dr Tony O'Neill Cup||2002–03, 2003, 2008–09, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2015|
|Enda McGuill Cup||2004, 2006, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2016|
|FAI Youth Cup||2000, 2006, 2009, 2011|
|Capital of Culture Cup||2005|
|FAI Futsal Cup||2009|
|Record league victory||(a) v Athlone Town 7–0, 10 September 2011|
|Record league defeat||(a) v Shamrock Rovers 0–6, 21 February 2020|
|Longest unbeaten run||24, 1 April 1990 – 13 January 1991|
|Most Successive wins||12, 24 February 2017 – 5 May 2017|
|Most appearances||John Caulfield – 455|
|Most starts||John Caulfield – 376|
|Most consecutive starts||Mark McNulty – 147|
|Most substitute appearances||John Caulfield – 79|
|Aggregate||John Caulfield – 129, Pat Morley – 129|
|Season||Graham Cummins – 24 – 2011 (First Division), Pat Morley – 20 (Twice), Sean Maguire - 20 (Premier Division)|
|Game (including national cup competitions)||Ciarán Kilduff – 4 Vs. Shelbourne, 10 October 2013|
|Clean Sheets||Phil Harrington – 112|
|Aggregate||Sean Maguire – 5|
Hall of FameEdit
|2006 *||Dave Barry|
|2009||Colin T O'Brien|
|2010||Dave Hill Derek Coughlan|
|* The "Cork City Official Supporters Club Hall of Fame" was inaugurated in 2006, with Dave Barry and Patsy Freyne as the inaugural inductees.|
|UEFA Champions League||
|UEFA Cup / Europa League||
|European Cup Winners' Cup / UEFA Cup Winners' Cup||
|UEFA Intertoto Cup||
- As of 12 February 2021 
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Head Coach||Colin Healy|
|Assistant coaches||John Cotter|
|Goalkeeping coach||Mark McNulty|
|Kit manager||Mick Ring|
|Head of Academy||Liam Kearney|
|U19 Manager||Dan Murray|
|U19 Coach||Steven Beattie|
|1984–1985||Tony 'Tucker' Allen|
|2013||Stuart Ashton (interim)|
Kit and coloursEdit
Original kit 1984–1989
Recurring black Away kit
Red Home kit 1997–2002
v. Nijmegen 2004
The club's colours largely reflected the traditional colours of association football in Cork, with green and white featuring heavily. Since the club's inception in 1984, the kits also featured a red trim – influenced in part by the traditional Gaelic Athletic Association colours of County Cork. Over the years, these base colours were worn in different combinations: originally green and white hoops in 1984, then white shirts with green and red trim in 1989.
In 1997, the club broke with tradition to use a red and white kit – similar to the Cork County GAA kits. Subsequently, the club reverted to the green and white theme in 2002, initially with white sidings rather than stripes, but eventually returning to green white and red stripes.
From 1984 to 2004, the team never wore a kit with a single solid colour. However, in 2004, when playing Intertoto cup opponents NEC Nijmegen, the referee deemed that both of Cork City's kits clashed with both of NEC's kits. The club was forced to hurriedly source an alternative while en route to the Netherlands. The team wore all-white kits with a makeshift crest and sponsorship.
There was a recurring theme of black away kits – often with yellow trim – reflecting the kits of former Cork clubs. In 2004, a Cork XI selection featuring a number of City players faced Bolton Wanderers, wearing yellow and black. Black again became the colour of the team's away jersey in 2008, with a jersey from Danish maker Hummel.
In 2010, the club kept with tradition by wearing a green home kit with red and white trim manufactured by Hummel. The away kit was red with white trim, similar to the 1997–2001 home kits, and Cork GAA kits. These kits were used for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. City wore red at home for the first time since the 2001/02 season on 10 September 2010 against Mervue United to show support for the Cork Gaelic Footballers who were due to face Down in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final the following weekend.
In November 2011, the club announced Umbro Ireland as the club's official kit partner. For the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons, the club's official kit partner was Nike, with gear provided by Teamwear Ireland. In September 2017 it was announced that Cork City had signed a three-year deal with kit supplier Adidas starting from the 2018 season.
Supporters and rivalriesEdit
Cork City have one of the biggest support bases in the League of Ireland, and for example in early 2017 had average attendances of between four and five thousand per home game, compared to a league average of approximately 1,500. The club had an average attendance of 4,453 during the 2015 season, the highest in Ireland, and approximately 1,000 higher than the next highest averages. A 2020 survey indicated that Cork City had the highest number of supporters among League of Irelad clubs, and was the sixth highest supported football club in Ireland overall (between Chelsea and Barcelona).
"The Shed" is a section of seating in the Curragh Road stand which is home to Cork City's more vocal supporters. Before redevelopment, this was the location of the 'Shed End' terrace, which was knocked in 2005. The Family Enclosure is a specified area in the 'Donie Forde' stand, where families and children watch games in a less boisterous atmosphere than that of the Shed End.
The only other league side in the Cork area is Cobh Ramblers F.C.. While there has never been any significant rivalry with the Cobh club, some rivalry has traditionally existed with some Dublin clubs such as Shamrock Rovers. Cork City has had some rivalry with Dundalk, as the two were Ireland's two biggest clubs between 2014 and 2017. As of 2017, games against Limerick F.C. were sometimes referred to as the 'Munster Derby'. Prior to 2010, this term was also sometimes applied to games against Waterford FC.
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The Cork City FC Hall of Fame was founded in 2006 by the Cork City Official Supporters Club [..] Dave Barry and Patsy Freyne were the first ever inductees
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