Irish Cup

The Irish Football Association Challenge Cup,[1] commonly referred to as the Irish Cup[2] (currently known as the Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup for sponsorship purposes) is the primary football knock-out cup competition in Northern Ireland. Inaugurated in 1881, it is the fourth-oldest national cup competition in the world. Prior to the break-away from the Irish Football Association by clubs from what would become the Irish Free State in 1921, the Irish Cup was the national cup competition for the whole of Ireland.

Irish Cup
Organising bodyIrish Football Association
Founded1881
RegionNorthern Ireland Northern Ireland
Number of teams128 (2021–22)
International cup(s)UEFA Europa Conference League
Current championsLinfield (2020–21)
Most successful club(s)Linfield (44 titles)
Television broadcastersBBC Sport (highlights & 3 live games including final)
WebsiteIrish Cup
2021–22

Since December 2019, the cup has been sponsored by Sadler's Peaky Blinder Lager.[3] It was previously sponsored by Nationwide Building Society, Bass Ireland Ltd, JJB Sports[4] and Tennent's Lager.[5] 126 clubs entered the 2018–19 competition.

Linfield are the current holders, after they defeated Larne 2–1 in the 2021 final to win the competition for a record 44th time.

FormatEdit

During the cup's history, different formats and rules have been used in respect of eligibility to enter the competition, the number of teams and rounds, replays, extra time, penalties, etc. The competition is open to all IFA-affiliated clubs with intermediate or senior status. Clubs obtain such status by meeting minimum criteria laid down by the IFA in respect of facilities, etc. Each club, for example, must have its own enclosed ground. The competition usually begins in August or September with the first qualifying round, and ends with the final in May of the following year. Clubs from level 3 (the NIFL Premier Intermediate League) and all regional league entrants from level 4 and below enter in the first qualifying round. These clubs play against each other over four qualifying rounds, until 8 clubs remain. The 8 fourth qualifying round winners then join the 24 senior clubs from levels 1 and 2 of the Northern Ireland Football League in the first round of the main competition, which consists of 32 clubs and is played in January.[1]

The competition has always been played in a randomly-drawn knock-out format. Depending on the number of entrants, the draw sometimes necessitates byes in the earlier rounds. If a team receives a bye, they automatically get drawn first in the following round to avoid the possibility of a team receiving multiple byes. The team drawn first from each tie hosts the match, except in the case of an intermediate team from level 3 or below being drawn first against a senior team from levels 1 or 2. In that scenario, the tie is played at the ground of the 'senior' team. In all ties that finish level after 90 minutes, extra time is played and (if necessary) penalties are used to decide the winner.[1] Both semi-finals and the final are usually played at Windsor Park.

The winners qualify to represent Northern Ireland in the following season’s UEFA Europa Conference League, subject to the club attaining a UEFA licence. However, if they have already qualified for a UEFA competition by finishing as champions or runners-up of the NIFL Premiership, or if they do not attain a UEFA licence, the Irish Cup's Europa Conference League berth is redistributed to the third-placed Premiership club, and the 4th–7th placed clubs participate in the Premiership's Europa Conference League play-offs.[6]

HistoryEdit

The Irish Cup was inaugurated in the 1880–81 season, with seven clubs taking part. The draw for the first round took place on 10 January 1881, with the first ever Irish Cup matches being played on 5 February 1881. The trophy was first awarded to Moyola Park (from Castledawson in County Londonderry) when they beat Cliftonville (from Belfast) 1–0 in the final at Cliftonville Cricket Ground, Belfast on 9 April 1881. Since its inception, the Irish Cup has always been, and continues to be, considered the most important such competition in Northern Ireland (and, prior to 1921, Ireland), second only to the NIFL Premiership. The cup final is the climax of the domestic season in Northern Ireland and usually attracts the biggest attendance of any club match.

Since the inception of the Irish Football League in 1890–91 (and excluding the First and Second World War years when the League was suspended), the Cup has been won by Irish League clubs on every occasion except three famous ‘giant-killing’ occasions when "junior" clubs beat senior opponents in the final: in 1928, Willowfield beat Larne 1–0; in 1955, Dundela beat Glenavon 3–0; and in 1976, Carrick Rangers beat Linfield 2–1. In the early years, Army regiments stationed in Ireland entered teams such as King's Own Rifles (Cork), three of which reached the final: the Gordon Highlanders in 1890, the Black Watch (Limerick) in 1892 and the Sherwood Foresters (Curragh, County Kildare) in 1897. The Gordon Highlanders were the only Army team to win the Cup.

Between 1881 and 1921 when the Irish Cup was an all-Ireland competition, southern clubs (from what would become the Irish Free State and later the Republic of Ireland) only won the competition four times out of a possible 41: Shelbourne (from Dublin) won three times (in 1906, 1911 and 1920); and Bohemians (also from Dublin) won it in 1908. There were two all-southern finals: Bohemians defeating Shelbourne in 1908, and Shelbourne defeating Bohemians in 1911 (both ties required replays). Shelbourne, Bohemians and Derry City are the only clubs to win both the Irish Cup and the FAI Cup. Other Dublin clubs to compete in the Irish Cup were Dublin University, St. James's Gate, Dublin Association, Tritonville and Richmond Rovers.

In the second competition in 1881–82, Queen's Island became the first Belfast club to win the Cup and it did not leave Belfast again for another 24 years, when in 1905–06, Shelbourne became the first club from Dublin to win it. Of the 141 competitions played to date, Belfast clubs have won the cup 104 times; 73.8% of all competitions. The last time a club from outside Belfast won the cup was in 2018, when Coleraine beat Cliftonville 3–1 to win the cup for the sixth time. The cup's most successful club from outside Belfast is Glenavon, with seven wins.[n 1]

In the early years of the competition the final was played at several different venues in Belfast, including the Oval, Solitude, Grosvenor Park and Celtic Park, as well as Dalymount Park in Dublin. Since 1996, the final has been played exclusively at Windsor Park, except for the 2015 and 2021 finals. The 2015 final had to be switched to the Oval, following the discovery of damage to a stand at the usual Windsor Park venue,[7] while the 2021 final was moved to Mourneview Park, Lurgan for the first time due to maintenance works at Windsor Park, including a new playing surface being laid. This was the first final to be played outside Belfast since 1975, when Coleraine won the Cup with a 1–0 victory over Linfield in the second replay, after 1–1 and 0–0 draws in the first two games. The first final ever played outside Belfast took place in 1903, when Distillery won their 7th Irish Cup with a 3–1 victory over Bohemians at Dalymount Park, Dublin.

All six counties in Northern Ireland have been represented in the final. Moyola Park from County Londonderry were inaugural winners in 1881. In 1921, Glenavon became the first club from County Armagh to reach the final, but no club from Armagh won the Cup until Glenavon in 1957. County Down's first Cup finalists and winners were Ards in 1927; and County Antrim's were Ballymena in 1929. In 2007, Dungannon Swifts became the first club from County Tyrone to reach the final, and in 2019, Ballinamallard United became the first team from County Fermanagh to reach the final, completing the set.

Prior to replays being abolished in the final, a replay was required to decide the winner of 21 finals, the first in 1890 after Cliftonville and the Gordon Highlanders drew 2–2. Of the 21 finals to be replayed, eight of them required a second replay to separate the two finalists. The last time this occurred, and the last final replay ever played before they were abolished was in 1993, when Bangor defeated Ards 1–0 after two 1–1 draws. It was decided after this that there should only be one replay in which penalties would be used to determine the winner if necessary, and eventually the rules were changed to remove final replays altogether, with penalties being used if necessary after extra time in the first match. The first (and to date, only) final to be won on penalties took place in 2007, when Linfield beat Dungannon Swifts 3–2 on penalties following a 2–2 draw after extra time. In 2014, the rules were changed to abolish replays from the entire competition. All ties level after 90 minutes now use 30 minutes of extra time, and if necessary, a penalty shoot-out to determine the winner.

The final was not played on three occasions:

  • In 1912, Linfield were awarded the Cup after the other three semi-finalists (Cliftonville, Glentoran and Shelbourne) resigned from the IFA in a dispute over the amount of money paid to Linfield for hosting international matches.
  • In 1920, Shelbourne, who had beaten Glenavon in one semi-final, were awarded the Cup after the other semi-final was declared null and void as both of the clubs involved were ejected from the competition: Belfast Celtic after Celtic fans fired shots at Glentoran supporters during a riot, and Glentoran for fielding an unlisted player.
  • In 1999, Portadown were awarded the Cup when the other finalists, Cliftonville, were ejected from the competition after it was discovered that they had fielded an ineligible player, Simon Gribben, during the earlier rounds.

A total of 24 different clubs have won the Cup, but only 13 clubs have done so more than once. 34 different clubs have reached the final, with 12 of them appearing only once. Of those 12 clubs, five of them have won the Cup in their sole final appearance. On five occasions the same two clubs have reached the final in consecutive years: in 1885 and 1886, Distillery and Alexander; in 1913 and 1914, Glentoran and Linfield; in 1930 and 1931, Ballymena United and Linfield; Coleraine and Glentoran in 2003 and 2004; and in 2011 and 2012 Linfield and Crusaders. The most common final has been between Glentoran and Linfield, which has occurred 15 times. Linfield have won eight of the meetings, with Glentoran winning seven. The last time both clubs reached the final was in 2006, when Linfield won 2–1.

In 2001, the final was broadcast live on television for the first time on BBC Northern Ireland and has been on every occasion since

Windsor Park has hosted the most finals (75, including replays), followed by The Oval with 25, and Solitude with 23.

RecordsEdit

Most wins: 44, Linfield

Most consecutive wins: 4, Glentoran (1985, 1986, 1987 & 1988)

Most appearances in a final: 64, Linfield[n 2]

Most consecutive appearances in a final: 5, Linfield (1891, 1892, 1893, 1894 & 1895)

Most defeats in a final: 21, Linfield

Most consecutive defeats in a final: 3, Linfield (1975, 1976 & 1977)

Biggest win in a final: Linfield 10–1 Bohemians (1895)

Longest gap between wins in a final: 70 years, Cliftonville (1909 and 1979)

Longest gap between appearances in a final: 55 years, Bangor (1938 and 1993)

Most appearances in a final without winning: 6, Larne (1928, 1935, 1987, 1989, 2005 & 2021)

Most common pair of finalists: Glentoran v Linfield – 15 times (1899, 1913, 1914, 1916, 1919, 1923, 1932, 1942, 1945, 1966, 1973, 1983, 1985, 2001 & 2006)

Final resultsEdit

Key:

Scores level after 90 minutes. A replay was required.
(a.e.t.) Scores level after extra time. A replay was required.
(a.e.t.) Scores level after 90 minutes. Winner was decided in extra time with no penalty shootout required.
pens. Scores level after extra time. A penalty shootout was required to determine the winner.


# Season Date Winner
(number of titles)
Score Runner-up Venue Attendance
1 1880–81 9 April 1881 Moyola Park (1) 1 – 0 Cliftonville Cliftonville Cricket Ground, Belfast 1,500
2 1881–82 13 May 1882 Queen's Island (1881) (1) 1 – 0 Cliftonville Ulster Cricket Ground, Belfast 2,000
3 1882–83 5 May 1883 Cliftonville (1) 5 – 0 Ulster Bloomfield Ground, Knock, Belfast 2,000
4 1883–84 19 April 1884 Distillery (1) 5 – 0 Wellington Park Ulster Cricket Ground, Belfast 2,000
5 1884–85 21 March 1885 Distillery (2) 3 – 0 Limavady 2,000
6 1885–86 27 March 1886 Distillery (3) 1 – 0 Limavady 1,000
7 1886–87 12 February 1887 Ulster (1) 3 – 0 Cliftonville Broadway Ground, Belfast 4,000
8 1887–88 17 March 1888 Cliftonville (2) 2 – 1 Distillery Ulster Cricket Ground, Belfast 3,000
9 1888–89 16 March 1889 Distillery (4) 5 – 4 YMCA 3,500
10 1889–90 8 March 1890 Gordon Highlanders (1) 2 – 2 Cliftonville 4,500
Replay 12 March 1890 3 – 1 Ulsterville, Belfast 3,500
11 1890–91 14 March 1891 Linfield (1)** 4 – 2 Ulster Solitude, Belfast 5,000
12 1891–92 12 March 1892 Linfield (2)** 7 – 0 The Black Watch 5,500
13 1892–93 11 March 1893 Linfield (3)** 5 – 1 Cliftonville Ulsterville, Belfast
14 1893–94 17 March 1894 Distillery (5) 2 – 2 Linfield Solitude, Belfast 5,500
Replay 18 April 1894 3 – 2
15 1894–95 23 March 1895 Linfield (4)** 10 – 1 Bohemians 2,000
16 1895–96 14 March 1896 Distillery (6)** 3 – 1 Glentoran 6,000
17 1896–97 20 March 1897 Cliftonville (3) 3 – 1 Sherwood Foresters Grosvenor Park, Belfast 5,000
18 1897–98 19 March 1898 Linfield (5)** 2 – 0 St Columb's Hall Celtic The Oval, Belfast 3,000
19 1898–99 18 March 1899 Linfield (6) 2 – 1 Glentoran Solitude, Belfast 7,000
20 1899–00 24 March 1900 Cliftonville (4) 2 – 1 Bohemians Grosvenor Park, Belfast 5,500
21 1900–01 13 April 1901 Cliftonville (5) 1 – 0 Freebooters Grosvenor Park, Belfast[8][9] 5,500
22 1901–02 15 March 1902 Linfield (7)** 5 – 1 Distillery Solitude, Belfast 8,000
23 1902–03 14 March 1903 Distillery (7)** 3 – 1 Bohemians Dalymount Park, Dublin 6,000
24 1903–04 17 March 1904 Linfield (8)** 5 – 1 Derry Celtic Grosvenor Park, Belfast 6,000
25 1904–05 11 March 1905 Distillery (8) 3 – 0 Shelbourne Solitude, Belfast 12,000
26 1905–06 28 April 1906 Shelbourne (1) 2 – 0 Belfast Celtic Dalymount Park, Dublin 8,000
27 1906–07 23 March 1907 Cliftonville (6) 0 – 0 Shelbourne Celtic Park, Belfast 12,900
Replay 20 April 1907 1 – 0 Dalymount Park, Dublin 10,000
28 1907–08 21 March 1908 Bohemians (1) 1 – 1 Shelbourne 8,000
Replay 28 March 1908 3 – 1 9,000
29 1908–09 3 April 1909 Cliftonville (7) 0 – 0 Bohemians Windsor Park, Belfast 3,000
Replay 10 April 1909 2 – 1 Dalymount Park, Dublin 15,000
30 1909–10 26 March 1910 Distillery (9) 1 – 0 Cliftonville The Oval, Belfast 10,000
31 1910–11 25 March 1911 Shelbourne (2) 0 – 0 Bohemians Dalymount Park, Dublin 16,000[10]
Replay 15 April 1911 2 – 1
1911–12 Linfield (9) Final not played.[n 3]
32 1912–13 29 March 1913 Linfield (10) 2 – 0 Glentoran Celtic Park, Belfast 20,000
33 1913–14 28 March 1914 Glentoran (1) 3 – 1 Linfield Grosvenor Park, Belfast 20,000
34 1914–15 27 March 1915 Linfield (11) 1 – 0 Belfast Celtic Solitude, Belfast 20,000[11]
35 1915–16 25 March 1916 Linfield (12) 1 – 1 Glentoran Celtic Park, Belfast
Replay 1 April 1916 1 – 0 Grosvenor Park, Belfast
36 1916–17 31 March 1917 Glentoran (2) 2 – 0 Belfast Celtic Windsor Park, Belfast 20,000
37 1917–18 30 March 1918 Belfast Celtic (1) 0 – 0 Linfield The Oval, Belfast
Replay 13 April 1918 0 – 0 Solitude, Belfast
2nd replay 24 April 1918 2 – 0 Grosvenor Park, Belfast
38 1918–19 29 March 1919 Linfield (13) 1 – 1 Glentoran Celtic Park, Belfast 18,000
Replay 5 April 1919 0 – 0 Grosvenor Park, Belfast
2nd replay 7 April 1919 2 – 1 Solitude, Belfast
1919–20 Shelbourne (3) Final not played.[n 4]
39 1920–21 26 March 1921 Glentoran (3)** 2 – 0 Glenavon Windsor Park, Belfast
40 1921–22 25 March 1922 Linfield (14)** 2 – 0 Glenavon Solitude, Belfast
41 1922–23 31 March 1923 Linfield (15)** 2 – 0 Glentoran
42 1923–24 29 March 1924 Queen's Island (1920) (1)** 1 – 0 Willowfield Windsor Park, Belfast
43 1924–25 21 March 1925 Distillery (10) 2 – 1 Glentoran Solitude, Belfast 20,000
44 1925–26 27 March 1926 Belfast Celtic (2)** 3 – 2 Linfield
45 1926–27 26 March 1927 Ards (1) 3 – 2 Cliftonville The Oval, Belfast
46 1927–28 25 April 1928 Willowfield (1) 1 – 0 Larne Windsor Park, Belfast
47 1928–29 30 May 1929 Ballymena (1) 2 – 1 Belfast Celtic Solitude, Belfast
48 1929–30 29 March 1930 Linfield (16)** 4 – 3 Ballymena Celtic Park, Belfast
49 1930–31 28 March 1931 Linfield (17) 3 – 0 Ballymena The Oval, Belfast
50 1931–32 26 March 1932 Glentoran (4) 2 – 1 Linfield Celtic Park, Belfast
51 1932–33 8 April 1933 Glentoran (5) 1 – 1 Distillery Windsor Park, Belfast 33,000
Replay 12 April 1933 1 – 1 25,000
2nd replay 28 April 1933 3 – 1
52 1933–34 14 April 1934 Linfield (18)** 5 – 0 Cliftonville The Oval, Belfast 18,500
53 1934–35 6 April 1935 Glentoran (6) 0 – 0 Larne Windsor Park, Belfast 15,000
Replay 10 April 1935 0 – 0
2nd replay 30 April 1935 1 – 0 10,545
54 1935–36 4 April 1936 Linfield (19) 0 – 0 Derry City Celtic Park, Belfast
Replay 8 April 1936 2 – 0
55 1936–37 10 April 1937 Belfast Celtic (3)** 3 – 0 Linfield The Oval, Belfast
56 1937–38 9 April 1938 Belfast Celtic (4)** 0 – 0 Bangor Solitude, Belfast
Replay 7 May 1938 2 – 0
57 1938–39 29 April 1939 Linfield (20) 2 – 0 Ballymena United
58 1939–40 20 April 1940 Ballymena United (1) 2 – 0 Glenavon Windsor Park, Belfast
59 1940–41 26 April 1941 Belfast Celtic (5) 1 – 0 Linfield 12,000
60 1941–42 18 April 1942 Linfield (21) 3 – 1 Glentoran Celtic Park, Belfast
61 1942–43 17 April 1943 Belfast Celtic (6) 1 – 0 Glentoran Windsor Park, Belfast
62 1943–44 17 April 1944 Belfast Celtic (7) 3 – 1 Linfield 25,240
63 1944–45 14 April 1945 Linfield (22) 4 – 2 Glentoran Celtic Park, Belfast 20,000
64 1945–46 13 April 1946 Linfield (23) 3 – 0 Distillery 20,137
65 1946–47 26 April 1947 Belfast Celtic (8) 1 – 0 Glentoran Windsor Park, Belfast 25,000
66 1947–48 10 April 1948 Linfield (24) 3 – 0 Coleraine Celtic Park, Belfast 31,000
67 1948–49 16 April 1949 Derry City (1) 3 – 1 Glentoran Windsor Park, Belfast 27,000
68 1949–50 22 April 1950 Linfield (25)** 2 – 1 Distillery 17,000
69 1950–51 28 April 1951 Glentoran (7)** 3 – 1 Ballymena United 25,000
70 1951–52 26 April 1952 Ards (2) 1 – 0 Glentoran 20,000
71 1952–53 25 April 1953 Linfield (26) 5 – 0 Coleraine Solitude, Belfast 21,000
72 1953–54 24 April 1954 Derry City (2) 2 – 2 Glentoran Windsor Park, Belfast 35,000
Replay 29 April 1954 0 – 0 28,000
2nd replay 10 May 1954 1 – 0 28,000
73 1954–55 23 April 1955 Dundela (1) 3 – 0 Glenavon 10,000
74 1955–56 21 April 1956 Distillery (11) 2 – 2 Glentoran 16,000
Replay 26 April 1956 0 – 0
2nd replay 30 April 1956 1 – 0 20,000
75 1956–57 13 April 1957 Glenavon (1)** 2 – 0 Derry City 23,000
76 1957–58 26 April 1958 Ballymena United (2) 2 – 0 Linfield The Oval, Belfast 24,000
77 1958–59 18 April 1959 Glenavon (2) 1 – 1 Ballymena United Windsor Park, Belfast 18,000
Replay 29 April 1959 2 – 0
78 1959–60 30 April 1960 Linfield (27) 5 – 1 Ards The Oval, Belfast 20,000
79 1960–61 22 April 1961 Glenavon (3) 5 – 1 Linfield Solitude, Belfast 22,000
80 1961–62 14 April 1962 Linfield (28)** 4 – 0 Portadown The Oval, Belfast 20,000
81 1962–63 20 April 1963 Linfield (29) 2 – 1 Distillery 20,000
82 1963–64 25 April 1964 Derry City (3) 2 – 0 Glentoran Windsor Park, Belfast 19,000
83 1964–65 24 April 1965 Coleraine (1) 2 – 1 Glenavon 18,000
84 1965–66 23 April 1966 Glentoran (8) 2 – 0 Linfield The Oval, Belfast 20,000
85 1966–67 22 April 1967 Crusaders (1) 3 – 1 Glentoran Windsor Park, Belfast 20,000
86 1967–68 27 April 1968 Crusaders (2) 2 – 0 Linfield The Oval, Belfast 18,000
87 1968–69 19 April 1969 Ards (3) 0 – 0 Distillery Windsor Park, Belfast 17,000
Replay 23 April 1969 4 – 2 16,000
88 1969–70 4 April 1970 Linfield (30) 2 – 1 Ballymena United Solitude, Belfast 12,000
89 1970–71 3 April 1971 Distillery (12) 3 – 0 Derry City Windsor Park, Belfast 6,000
90 1971–72 22 April 1972 Coleraine (2) 2 – 1 Portadown 8,000
91 1972–73 28 April 1973 Glentoran (9) 3 – 2 Linfield 12,000
92 1973–74 27 April 1974 Ards (4) 2 – 1 Ballymena United 7,000
93 1974–75 19 April 1975 Coleraine (3) 1 – 1 Linfield The Showgrounds, Ballymena 5,600
Replay 23 April 1975 0 – 0 5,400
2nd replay 29 April 1975 1 – 0 5,200
94 1975–76 10 April 1976 Carrick Rangers (1) 2 – 1 Linfield The Oval, Belfast 9,500
95 1976–77 23 April 1977 Coleraine (4) 4 – 1 Linfield 10,000
96 1977–78 29 April 1978 Linfield (31)** 3 – 1 Ballymena United 12,000
97 1978–79 28 April 1979 Cliftonville (8) 3 – 2 Portadown Windsor Park, Belfast 18,000
98 1979–80 26 April 1980 Linfield (32)** 2 – 0 Crusaders The Oval, Belfast 12,000
99 1980–81 2 May 1981 Ballymena United (3) 1 – 0 Glenavon Windsor Park, Belfast 6,000
100 1981–82 24 April 1982 Linfield (33)** 2 – 1 Coleraine The Oval, Belfast 12,000
101 1982–83 30 April 1983 Glentoran (10) 1 – 1 Linfield Windsor Park, Belfast 12,000
Replay 7 May 1983 2 – 1 The Oval, Belfast 8,000
102 1983–84 5 May 1984 Ballymena United (4) 4 – 1 Carrick Rangers Windsor Park, Belfast 5,000
103 1984–85 4 May 1985 Glentoran (11) 1 – 1 Linfield The Oval, Belfast 12,000
Replay 11 May 1985 1 – 0 Windsor Park, Belfast 12,000
104 1985–86 3 May 1986 Glentoran (12) 2 – 1 Coleraine 8,000
105 1986–87 2 May 1987 Glentoran (13) 1 – 0 Larne 8,000
106 1987–88 30 April 1988 Glentoran (14)** 1 – 0 Glenavon 10,000
107 1988–89 6 May 1989 Ballymena United (5) 1 – 0 Larne The Oval, Belfast 5,000
108 1989–90 5 May 1990 Glentoran (15) 3 – 0 Portadown Windsor Park, Belfast 12,000
109 1990–91 4 May 1991 Portadown (1)** 2 – 1 Glenavon 12,000
110 1991–92 2 May 1992 Glenavon (4) 2 – 1 Linfield The Oval, Belfast 12,000
111 1992–93 1 May 1993 Bangor (1) 01 – 1 (a.e.t.) Ards Windsor Park, Belfast 8,500
Replay 8 May 1993 01 – 1 (a.e.t.) 6,000
2nd replay 11 May 1993 1 – 0 5,000
112 1993–94 7 May 1994 Linfield (34)** 2 – 0 Bangor The Oval, Belfast 10,000
113 1994–95 6 May 1995 Linfield (35) 3 – 1 Carrick Rangers 6,800
114 1995–96 4 May 1996 Glentoran (16) 1 – 0 Glenavon Windsor Park, Belfast 10,000
115 1996–97 3 May 1997 Glenavon (5) 1 – 0 Cliftonville 8,222
116 1997–98 2 May 1998 Glentoran (17) 01 – 0 (a.e.t.) Glenavon 8,250
1998–99 Portadown (2) Final not played.[n 5]
117 1999–00 6 May 2000 Glentoran (18) 1 – 0 Portadown Windsor Park, Belfast 8,355
118 2000–01 5 May 2001 Glentoran (19) 01 – 0 (a.e.t.) Linfield 14,190
119 2001–02 11 May 2002 Linfield (36) 2 – 1 Portadown 11,129
120 2002–03 3 May 2003 Coleraine (5) 1 – 0 Glentoran 9,000
121 2003–04 1 May 2004 Glentoran (20) 1 – 0 Coleraine 8,300
122 2004–05 7 May 2005 Portadown (3) 5 – 1 Larne 5,431
123 2005–06 6 May 2006 Linfield (37)** 2 – 1 Glentoran 12,500
124 2006–07 5 May 2007 Linfield (38)** 0 2 – 2 (a.e.t.) (3 – 2 pens.) Dungannon Swifts 7,600
125 2007–08 3 May 2008 Linfield (39)** 2 – 1 Coleraine 8,452
126 2008–09 9 May 2009 Crusaders (3) 1 – 0 Cliftonville 8,820
127 2009–10 8 May 2010 Linfield (40)** 2 – 1 Portadown 7,940
128 2010–11 7 May 2011 Linfield (41)** 2 – 1 Crusaders 8,200
129 2011–12 5 May 2012 Linfield (42)** 4 – 1 Crusaders 7,325
130 2012–13 4 May 2013 Glentoran (21) 03 – 1 (a.e.t.) Cliftonville 9,825
131 2013–14 3 May 2014 Glenavon (6) 2 – 1 Ballymena United 7,282
132 2014–15 2 May 2015 Glentoran (22) 1 – 0 Portadown The Oval, Belfast 8,072
133 2015–16 7 May 2016 Glenavon (7) 2 – 0 Linfield Windsor Park, Belfast 11,500
134 2016–17 6 May 2017 Linfield (43)** 3 – 0 Coleraine 12,551
135 2017–18 5 May 2018 Coleraine (6) 3 – 1 Cliftonville 12,012
136 2018–19 4 May 2019 Crusaders (4) 3 – 0 Ballinamallard United 5,744
137 2019–20 31 July 2020[n 6] Glentoran (23) 02 – 1 (a.e.t.) Ballymena United 500[n 6]
138 2020–21 21 May 2021 Linfield (44)** 2 – 1 Larne Mourneview Park, Lurgan 1,000[n 7]
139 2021–22 7 May 2022 Windsor Park, Belfast

Winners marked with ** denotes a league and cup double

StatisticsEdit

Performance By ClubEdit

Clubs in italics no longer compete for the cup. Either they no longer exist, or they now play under the jurisdiction of the League of Ireland

Club Winners Runners-up Winning years Runners-up years Total final appearances
Linfield 44 21 1890–91, 1891–92, 1892–93, 1894–95, 1897–98, 1898–99, 1901–02, 1903–04, 1911–12, 1912–13, 1914–15, 1915–16, 1918–19, 1921–22, 1922–23, 1929–30, 1930–31, 1933–34, 1935–36, 1938–39, 1941–42, 1944–45, 1945–46, 1947–48, 1949–50, 1952–53, 1959–60, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1969–70, 1977–78, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1993–94, 1994–95, 2001–02, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2016–17, 2020–21 1893–94, 1913–14, 1917–18, 1925–26, 1931–32, 1936–37, 1940–41, 1943–44, 1957–58, 1960–61, 1965–66, 1967–68, 1972–73, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1982–83, 1984–85, 1991–92, 2000–01, 2015–16 64[n 2]
Glentoran 23 19 1913–14, 1916–17, 1920–21, 1931–32, 1932–33, 1934–35, 1950–51, 1965–66, 1972–73, 1982–83, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1989–90, 1995–96, 1997–98, 1999–00, 2000–01, 2003–04, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2019–20 1895–96, 1898–99, 1912–13, 1915–16, 1918–19, 1922–23, 1924–25, 1941–42, 1942–43, 1944–45, 1946–47, 1948–49, 1951–52, 1953–54, 1955–56, 1963–64, 1966–67, 2002–03, 2005–06 42
Distillery 12 7 1883–84, 1884–85, 1885–86, 1888–89, 1893–94, 1895–96, 1902–03, 1904–05, 1909–10, 1924–25, 1955–56, 1970–71 1887–88, 1901–02, 1932–33, 1945–46, 1949–50, 1962–63, 1968–69 19
Cliftonville 8 12 1882–83, 1887–88, 1896–97, 1899–00, 1900–01, 1906–07, 1908–09, 1978–79 1880–81, 1881–82, 1886–87, 1889–90, 1892–93, 1909–10, 1926–27, 1933–34, 1996–97, 2008–09, 2012–13, 2017–18 20
Belfast Celtic 8 4 1917–18, 1925–26, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1940–41, 1942–43, 1943–44, 1946–47 1905–06, 1914–15, 1916–17, 1928–29 12
Glenavon 7 10 1956–57, 1958–59, 1960–61, 1991–92, 1996–97, 2013–14, 2015–16 1920–21, 1921–22, 1939–40, 1954–55, 1964–65, 1980–81, 1987–88, 1990–91, 1995–96, 1997–98 17
Coleraine 6 7 1964–65, 1971–72, 1974–75, 1976–77, 2002–03, 2017–18 1947–48, 1952–53, 1981–82, 1985–86, 2003–04, 2007–08, 2016–17 13
Ballymena United[n 8] 5 8 1939–40, 1957–58, 1980–81, 1983–84, 1988–89 1938–39, 1950–51, 1958–59, 1969–70, 1973–74, 1977–78, 2013–14, 2019–20 13
Crusaders 4 3 1966–67, 1967–68, 2008–09, 2018–19 1979–80, 2010–11, 2011–12 7
Ards 4 2 1926–27, 1951–52, 1968–69, 1973–74 1959–60, 1992–93 6
Portadown 3 8 1990–91, 1998–99, 2004–05 1961–62, 1971–72, 1978–79, 1989–90, 1999–00, 2001–02, 2009–10, 2014–15 10[n 9]
Shelbourne 3 3 1905–06, 1910–11, 1919–20 1904–05, 1906–07, 1907–08 5[n 10]
Derry City 3 3 1948–49, 1953–54, 1963–64 1935–36, 1956–57, 1970–71 6
Bohemians 1 5 1907–08 1894–95, 1899–00, 1902–03, 1908–09, 1910–11 6
Ulster 1 2 1886–87 1882–83, 1890–91 3
Ballymena[n 8] 1 2 1928–29 1929–30, 1930–31 3
Carrick Rangers 1 2 1975–76 1983–84, 1994–95 3
Bangor 1 2 1992–93 1937–38, 1993–94 3
Willowfield 1 1 1927–28 1923–24 2
Moyola Park 1 0 1880–81 - 1
Queen's Island (1881) 1 0 1881–82 - 1
Gordon Highlanders 1 0 1889–90 - 1
Queen's Island (1920) 1 0 1923–24 - 1
Dundela 1 0 1954–55 - 1
Larne 0 6 - 1927–28, 1934–35, 1986–87, 1988–89, 2004–05, 2020–21 6
Limavady 0 2 - 1884–85, 1885–86 2
Derry Celtic[n 11] 0 2 - 1897–98, 1903–04 2
Wellington Park 0 1 - 1883–84 1
YMCA 0 1 - 1888–89 1
The Black Watch 0 1 - 1891–92 1
Sherwood Foresters 0 1 - 1896–97 1
Freebooters 0 1 - 1900–01 1
Dungannon Swifts 0 1 - 2006–07 1
Ballinamallard United 0 1 - 2018–19 1

Total cups won by town or cityEdit

24 different clubs have won the cup, with the overwhelming majority of winners being clubs from Belfast.

Town or city Number of cups won Clubs
Belfast 104 Linfield (44), Glentoran (23), Distillery[n 1](12), Cliftonville (8), Belfast Celtic (8), Crusaders (4), Ulster (1), Willowfield (1), Dundela (1), Queen's Island (1881) (1), Queen's Island (1920) (1)
Lurgan 7 Glenavon (7)
Coleraine 6 Coleraine (6)
Ballymena 6 Ballymena United (5), Ballymena (1)[n 8]
Dublin 4 Shelbourne (3), Bohemians (1)
Newtownards 4 Ards (4)
Derry 3 Derry City (3)
Portadown 3 Portadown (3)
Bangor 1 Bangor (1)
Carrickfergus 1 Carrick Rangers (1)
Castledawson 1 Moyola Park (1)
British Army 1 Gordon Highlanders (1)

Final venuesEdit

There have been 138 Irish Cup finals contested during the 141 competitions completed thus far, as the final was not played on three occasions. In addition, 29 final replays have been contested, for a total of 167 matches played at thirteen different grounds. Windsor Park has been the most common venue, having hosted 75 finals including replays.

Venue Number of finals
(including replays)
First final Last final
Windsor Park 75 1908–09 2019–20
The Oval 25 1897–98 2014–15
Solitude 23 1890–91 1969–70
Celtic Park 12 1906–07 1947–48
Dalymount Park 8 1902–03 1910–11 replay
Grosvenor Park 8 1896–97 1918–19 replay
Ulster Cricket Ground 7 1881–82 1889–90
Ballymena Showgrounds 3 1974–75 1974–75 second replay
Ulsterville 2 1889–90 replay 1892–93
Bloomfield 1 1882–83 1882–83
Broadway Ground 1 1886–87 1886–87
Cliftonville Cricket Ground 1 1880–81 1880–81
Mourneview Park 1 2020–21 2020–21

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b Distillery, now based outside Belfast (in Ballyskeagh) and known as Lisburn Distillery, won the Cup 12 times while still based in Belfast.
  2. ^ a b Linfield have won the Cup 44 times and been runners-up 21 times. However, as the final was not played in 1911–12 they have only appeared in 64 finals.
  3. ^ Linfield were awarded the Cup after the other three semi-finalists (Cliftonville, Glentoran and Shelbourne) resigned from the IFA in a dispute over referee's wages.
  4. ^ Shelbourne, who had beaten Glenavon in one semi-final, were awarded the Cup after the other semi-final was declared null and void as both of the teams involved were ejected from the competition: Belfast Celtic after their fans fired shots at Glentoran supporters during a riot, and Glentoran for fielding an unlisted player.
  5. ^ Portadown were awarded the Cup when the other finalists, Cliftonville, were ejected from the competition after it was discovered that they had fielded an ineligible player during the earlier rounds.
  6. ^ a b Final was delayed until 31 July 2020, and attendance was restricted to 500 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Northern Ireland.
  7. ^ Attendance was restricted to 1,000 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Northern Ireland.
  8. ^ a b c Ballymena United F.C. were formed immediately after Ballymena F.C. dissolved in 1934, following expulsion from the league. Generally, Ballymena United assume the history of the previous club, however technically they were two different entities.
  9. ^ Portadown have won the Cup 3 times and been runners-up 8 times. However, as the final was not played in 1998–99 they have only appeared in 10 finals.
  10. ^ Shelbourne have won the Cup 3 times and been runners-up 3 times. However, as the final was not played in 1919–20 they have only appeared in 5 finals.
  11. ^ Including one final as St Columb's Hall Celtic.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Irish FA Challenge Cup Rules – Season 2014–15". Irish Football Association. irishfa.com. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup". Irish Football Association. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup: Northern Ireland's premier cup competition gets fresh support". Irish FA. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Cup sponsors' collapse to hit Irish Football Association". BBC Sport. BBC. 2 October 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  5. ^ "IFA unveils Tennent's as new sponsor of Irish Cup". Irish Football Association. irishfa.com. 11 December 2015. Archived from the original on 27 January 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  6. ^ "NIFL Premiership Rules 2018–19" (PDF). NIFL. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Irish Cup final switched to the Oval". BBC Sport. 10 April 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  8. ^ Irish Times, April 13, 1901
  9. ^ The Association of Football Statisticians 1900–1901 Annual (AFS, 1985)
  10. ^ Archive, The British Newspaper. "Register - British Newspaper Archive". www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk.
  11. ^ Archive, The British Newspaper. "Register - British Newspaper Archive". www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk.

External linksEdit