St James's Gate F.C.

St James's Gate Football Club is an Irish association football club based in Drimnagh/Crumlin, Dublin. They played in the League of Ireland between 1921–22 and 1943–44 and again from 1990–91 until 1995–96. Gate were the inaugural winners of both the League of Ireland and the FAI Cup. Like several fellow early League of Ireland clubs, such as Fordsons, Jacobs, Midland Athletic and Dundalk, Gate had their origins as a factory or works team. They were initially the football team of the St James's Gate Brewery, the home of Guinness. In July 2022 they narrowly survived folding and survived due to a public appeal.[1][2][3]

St James's Gate F.C.
St. James Gate F.C. crest.png
Full nameSt James's Gate Football Club
Nickname(s)The Gate
GroundIveagh Grounds
Crumlin Road
Dublin 12
LeagueLeinster Senior League
League of Ireland


Early yearsEdit

The club was founded in 1902.[4] The prime mover behind forming the club was John Lumsden, then serving as a medical officer at St James's Gate Brewery. The club first gained national recognition in 1909–10 when they won both the Leinster Senior League title and the Irish Intermediate Cup. In 1919–20, with a team that included Charlie Dowdall, Paddy Duncan and Ernie MacKay, Gate won four trophies – the Leinster Senior League title, the Irish Intermediate Cup, the Leinster Senior Cup and the LFA Metropolitan Cup.

First League of Ireland eraEdit

In 1921–22, together with Shelbourne, Bohemians, Jacobs, Frankfort, Olympia, YMCA and Dublin United, Gate became founder members of the League of Ireland. Like Gate, the other seven founding members had spent the 1920–21 season playing in the Leinster Senior League. Gate initially emerged as one of the strongest teams in the league and in their debut season won a treble. In addition to winning the inaugural league title, they also won the 1921–22 FAI Cup and the 1921–22 Leinster Senior Cup. This season proved to be the highlight of Gate's time in the League of Ireland. In 1939–40 they won a second league title, however after finishing in last place in 1943–44 they failed to gain re-election.[5] It had been suggested that the reason for this was the club announcing its intention to revert to amateur status. However, when the vote was being taken, the representative for Shamrock Rovers stated, "the St. James's Gate club has not full control over their own finances, as any profit made during the season goes to the Guinness Athletic Union and is therefore lost to football." The other clubs were also known to be unhappy that members of the Guinness Athletic Union did not have to pay into home matches, depriving those clubs of their share of gate receipts.[6]


Season Pts Place Season Pts Place
1921–22 23 1st 1933–34 13 8th
1922–23 25 5th 1934–35 27 2nd
1923–24 20 5th 1935–36 19 10th
1924–25 17 6th 1936–37 23 5th
1925–26 11 8th 1937–38 27 5th
1926–27 12 9th 1938–39 23 4th
1927–28 14 7th 1939–40 36 1st
1928–29 14 6th 1940–41 21 5th
1929–30 11 9th 1941–42 19 5th
1930–31 18 10th 1942–43 18 6th
1932–33 10 11th 1943–44 3 8th
1932–33 17 6th


Stat Opponent Score Competition Date
Record Win Jacobs 8–0 1929–30 24 August 1929
Record Defeat Waterford
Cork United
Shamrock Rovers
22 November 1931
19 December 1943
27 December 1943

Source: [7][5]

Second League of Ireland eraEdit

In 1990–91 Gate joined the League of Ireland First Division, replacing Newcastlewest. In 1995, the club was taken over by a consortium. Only one year later, however, just before the start of the 1996–97 they pulled out of the league, unable to meet their financial responsibilities. They were replaced by St. Francis.[5]

110th Anniversary TournamentEdit

To celebrate their 110th anniversary, in July 2012 the club hosted a tournament.


  Ballymena United1–1
Ballymena won 5–3 after penalties
  Port Talbot Town
White, 90 (Report) ???, 6
  St James's Gate2–0  Bohemians

Third place play-offEdit

  Bohemians0–6  Port Talbot Town


  St James's Gate0–2  Ballymena United
(Report) Baker
Teggart (pen)



Gate originally played their home games at Bellevue Lodge by the Grand Canal near Inchicore. The same venue was also used by Olympia. Between 1921 and 1928 they played at St. James's Park in Dolphin's Barn on a pitch hired by the Guinness board. In 1928 they moved to their current home at the Iveagh Grounds.

Notable former playersEdit

Republic of Ireland internationals

On 28 May 1924 when Ireland made their international debut at the 1924 Olympics against Bulgaria, the Ireland team included three Gate players – Paddy Duncan, Michael Farrell and Ernie MacKay. A fourth member of the team, Paddy O'Reilly, would also later play for the club. Duncan also scored the Republic of Ireland's first international goal. Joe O'Reilly, with 20, was also the most capped player for Ireland in the pre–Second World War era.[9][10]

Republic of Ireland women's internationals
Republic of Ireland U21 internationals
League of Ireland XI representatives
Ireland (IFA) internationals

In addition to playing for Ireland teams selected by the FAI, at least five Gate players also played for Ireland teams selected by the Irish Football Association.


On seven occasions St James's Gate players finished as the League of Ireland's top goalscorer. On 30 March 1930, Willie Byrne scored six goals in a 7–1 win against Sligo Rovers. Paddy Bradshaw, with 68, remains Gate's top goalscorer in the League of Ireland. [13][5]

Season Player Goals
1921–22 Jack Kelly 11
1932–33 George Ebbs 20
1933–34 Alf Rigby 13
1934–35 Alf Rigby 17
1937–38 Willie Byrne 25
1938–39 Paddy Bradshaw 22
1939–40 Paddy Bradshaw 29



  1. ^ "LOI founder member St James Gate folds after 120 years". RTÉ.ie. 12 July 2022.
  2. ^ "League of Ireland founding member St James Gate fold after 120 years in action". The 42. 12 July 2022. Retrieved 13 July 2022.
  3. ^ "St James Gate survive but issues still in amatuer game". RTE Sport. 20 July 2022. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  4. ^ "Ireland Foundation Dates". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 6 February 2016. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Graham, Alex (2005). Football in the Republic of Ireland a Statistical Record 1921–2005. Soccer Books Limited. ISBN 1-86223-135-4.
  6. ^ Socaro (22 June 1944). "Money Talks-And Shuts Out the Gate". Irish Press. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  7. ^ McSweeney, Niall. A Record of League of Ireland Football 1921–22 to 1984–85. Association of Football Statisticians.
  8. ^ 110th Anniversary Tournament, Rsssf
  9. ^ Needham, David (2012). Ireland's First Real World Cup -The Story of the 1924 Ireland Olympic Football Team. The Manuscript Publisher. ISBN 978-0-9571157-2-9.
  10. ^ Cullen, Donal (2007). Freestaters: The Republic of Ireland Soccer Team 1921–1939. Dessert Islands Books.
  11. ^ NIFG
  12. ^ Northern Ireland Amateur Internationals
  13. ^ "Ireland – List of Topscorers". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 5 February 2016. Retrieved 5 February 2016.