The Football Association of Ireland Senior Challenge Cup (FAI Cup), known as the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup for sponsorship reasons, is a knock-out association football competition contested annually by teams from the Republic of Ireland (as well as Derry City from Northern Ireland). Organised by the FAI (Football Association of Ireland), the competition is currently sponsored by the Irish Daily Mail. It was known as the Free State Cup from 1923 to 1936. Shamrock Rovers hold the record of most wins with 24.
|Organising body||Football Association of Ireland|
|Region||Republic of Ireland|
|Number of teams||40|
|Qualifier for||UEFA Europa League|
|Domestic cup(s)||President of Ireland's Cup|
|Current champions||Dundalk F.C. (11th Title)|
|Most successful club(s)||Shamrock Rovers (24 titles)|
|2019 FAI Cup|
As of November 2018, the current holders are Dundalk
Since the early 1920s, all but a handful of FAI Cup finals were held at Dalymount Park, Dublin. Two replays in the 1920s were held at Shelbourne Park, the 1973 replay was held in Flower Lodge in Cork and the 1984 replay was in Tolka Park. However, since 1990, due to the lack of development of Dalymount, the final has been played at a number of different venues. From 1990 until 1997 it was played at Lansdowne Road stadium, from 1997–1999 back at Dalymount, from 1999 to 2002 at Tolka Park and from 2003 to 2006 back at Lansdowne Road. Due to the redevelopment of Lansdowne, the 2007 and 2008 finals were played at the RDS Arena. The 2009 final took place in Tallaght Stadium. Finals from 2010 onwards take place at the Aviva Stadium.
Shelbourne, Bohemian and Derry City are the only clubs to have won both the (Northern) Irish Cup and the FAI Cup, although Shelbourne and Bohemians only won it before partition, while Derry City remained in the Northern Irish league system until 1973, entering the League of Ireland in 1985. Alton United based in Belfast and Derry City are the only sides from outside the Republic of Ireland to win the competition.
Since 2003, Irish domestic football has moved from the traditional European August–May season to a summer set-up, as favoured in Scandinavia. As an "interim" season was played in the second half of 2002, two FAI Cup Finals took place that year - Dundalk winning in April, and Derry City lifting the trophy in November.
Following the 1985 expansion of the League of Ireland to two Divisions, Bray Wanderers were the first First Division team to win the Cup, defeating non-League St. Francis in 1990. Bray were also the first team to win the Cup in a season that saw them relegated, in 1999. Dundalk were relegated in 2002 while winning the first of that year's trophies.
After two defeats in Cup Finals in the 1970s, Drogheda United finally reached the summit in 2005. Goals from Gavin Whelan (whose father, Paul, captained Bohemians to the 1992 cup and whose grandfather, Ronnie, won two cups with St. Patrick's Athletic) and captain Declan O'Brien helped "the Drogs" to a 2-0 win over Cork City.
The last ever soccer game to be played at the old Lansdowne Road was the 2006 final, contested between St. Patrick's Athletic and Derry City, who ran out eventual 4-3 winners after extra-time. The original FAI Cup was also retired after the game with a brand new version of the trophy to be used in the following seasons.
FAI Cup FinalsEdit
Performance by clubEdit
|Shamrock Rovers||1924–1925, 1928–29, 1929–30, 1930–31, 1931–32, 1932–33, 1935–36, 1939–1940, 1943–1944, 1944–1945, 1947–48, 1954–1955, 1955–1956, 1961–62, 1963–1964, 1964–1965, 1965–1966, 1966–1967, 1967–1968, 1968–1969, 1977–1978, 1984–1985, 1985–1986, 1986–87|
|Dundalk||1941–1942, 1948–1949, 1951–1952, 1957–1958, 1976–1977, 1978–1979, 1980–1981, 1987–1988, 2001–2002, 2015, 2018|
|Shelbourne||1938–1939, 1959–1960, 1962–1963, 1992–1993, 1995–1996, 1996–1997, 1999–2000|
|Bohemians||1927–28, 1934–35, 1969–1970, 1975–1976, 1991–1992, 2000–2001, 2008|
|Sligo Rovers||1982–1983, 1993–1994, 2010, 2011, 2013|
|Derry City||1988–1989, 1994–1995, 2002, 2006, 2012|
|Drumcondra||1926–1927, 1942–1943, 1945–1946, 1953–1954, 1956–1957|
|Cork City||1997–1998, 2007, 2016, 2017|
|St. Patrick's Athletic||1958–1959, 1960–1961, 2014|
|Cork Athletic||1950–1951, 1952–1953|
|Cork Hibernians||1971–1972, 1972–1973|
|Cork United||1940–1941, 1946–1947|
|Longford Town||2003, 2004|
|St. James's Gate||1921–22, 1937–1938|
|Bray Wanderers||1989–1990, 1998–1999|
- "Irish Daily Mail to become official title sponsor of FAI Cup - Football Association of Ireland". www.fai.ie. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
- "DUNDALK'S FIRST CUP Dublin issue - British Pathé". britishpathe.com. Retrieved 17 March 2018.