Dun and Dusted

Yesterday saw the conclusion of the Republic of Ireland’s football season with Dundalk beating Cork City 1-0 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin to win the FAI Cup and also to claim the double this year having already won the League of Ireland title. St Patrick’s Athletic won the League of Cup earlier in the season, while Limerick City and Drogheda United were relegated to the First Division. The teams that will be coming up to the Premier Division next season are Finn Harps and Wexford Youths, Finn Harps beat Limerick in a play off to reach the Premier Division for the first time in 10 years with the winning goal coming from teenager BJ Banda.

Finn Harps’ BJ Banda is swamped by fans at the final whistle after his goal secured Premier Division football for the Donegal club in their play-off against Limerick at Finn Park in Ballybofey. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho/Presseye

Not only will it be the first time that Finn Harps have been in the Premier Division for ten years but it will also see the return of the Northwest Derby between them and Derry City. Derry City have a new manager in charge in Kenny Shiels who managed Kilmarnock to a League Cup success in 2012 and will be hoping to bring Derry back to the top come the new season.

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For people that don’t know anything about the League of Ireland it is a very competitive league with so many big clubs that could easily win the league or any of the cups. Teams like Bohemians, Sligo Rovers, St Patrick’s Athletic, Shamrock Rovers, Cork City and Derry City have all got great history and have all won the league title in recent times. The league has also produced some top talent who have gone on to play in the Premier League and even internationally for their countries, for example Shane Long who scored the winning goal against Germany played for Cork City, West Brom’s James McClean Played for Derry City as did Niall McGinn of Northern Ireland and Seamus Coleman Everton’s right back and possibly the best right back in the league played for Sligo Rovers. The list is a long one and shows that there is a lot of talent in the league and that there a lot of gems to be found by big teams if they look.

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So that is it for this season in the League of Ireland but hopefully next season will be even more exciting and you might just see some of the best players in the league move to a Premier League team this January.

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