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League of Ireland 2009 Review

What a crazy season in the League of Ireland! Eventually on the final day the fight for the title between Bohemians and Shamrock came to an end, with the Bohs victorious. A day after the last match it was sadly announced that Derry would be demoted after breaking FAI rules. It was a tough season financially for all the teams in the league, but i’m going to review the season on the pitch.

Bohemian FC crest

Bohemians

Bohemians have been challenging for the title in the past few seasons, but none of the challenges have been harder than this one. Neck and neck between Shamrock all season. Eventually they won it and made sure they were in europe next season. Top scorer Jason Byrne scored 22 goals, only 2 behind Shamrocks Gary Twigg. Bohemians seemed to be around the top spot all season, taking 10 points from their 1st 5 games. A win at home to Sligo followed by a 1-1 draw at Bray ensured the title went to Dalymount park for the 2nd season in a row. Manager Pat Fenlon will be hoping for another title winning season next year.

Top Scorer (Goals)

Jason Byrne (22)

Pos.              Points               Won          Draw        Lost           Goal Diff

1st                77                          24                  5                     7                  41

RTÉ.ie Sport: Bohemians players and backroom staff celebrate retaining the League of Ireland Premier Division title Champions

  BRA

Bray Wanderers

Not a season to remember for Bray fans, bottom place finish, but with a slight chance of survival as Derry were demoted, this meant they would have a relegation play-off with Drogheda. They got beat in that then faced Sporting Fingal in the crucial game, which they lost to confirm their relegation to Division One. As a team that were always going to struggle this season, they started reasonably well, only 7th after 11 games.  Then it went all wrong for Eddie Gormley’s boys. A brilliant 1-1 draw with Bohemians on the last day gave Bray fans a horrible nights sleep, until the news came through of Derry’s demotion, in the end that didn’t matter and Bray will be facing Derry next year in Division One.

Top Scorer (Goals)

Garry McCabe (6)

Pos.              Points               Won          Draw        Lost           Goal Diff

10th             28                         6                   10              20               -26

Gary McCabe

COR

Cork City

This season Cork thought they could win the title, but sadly it wasn’t to be. Bohemians and Shamrock were the only teams fighting for the title, and Cork couldn’t really catch them. They were in their own fight anyway, the fight for 3rd with Derry. That didn’t matter in the end so Cork had quite a comfortable season in terms of their position. Towards the start of the season Cork were in the title race but after a distinctly average mid-season they seemed to slowly drop away from the top 2 but slowly get ahead of 5th at the same time. If the table went on away games then they would be 4th so away games are their weak point. Cork will be in europe next year but before they can play big teams they will have to pass through the qualifying rounds.

Top Scorer (Goals)

Fahrudin Kuduzovic (7)

Pos.              Points               Won          Draw        Lost           Goal Diff

3                     60                              17                 9                   10                14

Turners Cross – Cork’s Ground

DER

Derry City

Not a good season for Derry fans. All season the club have been worrying about their financial worries more than what they were doing on the field, players were not being paid and to say that they were not paid for half the season the players have done really well. Sadly though all the hard work came to nothing, 1 day after the final game of the season it was confirmed, Derry would be demoted. One of the main reasons they were demoted is because they held dual contracts with 2 players, unfortunately for the only Northern Irish team in the league it was against the FAI rules. Only one defeat in their first seven matches was a positive start for Derry. After that it was mainly a season where they were constantly in mid-table. Their final game in the Premier Division was a 2-1 win over Dundalk. Hopefully Derry can win Division 1 and get back to were they belong.

Top Scorer (Goals)

Mark Farren (10)

Pos.              Points               Won          Draw        Lost           Goal Diff

4                     59                          18               5                   13               18

Mark Farren

 DRO

Drogheda United

Drogheda fans knew this was coming, the season in which they would struggle and only survive relegation with a play-off win over Bray. All season The Drogs struggled, bottom after 11 games, the club knew they had an uphill struggle to survive. Finishing 11 points away from 7th spot will not please Drogs fans and manager Alan Matthews position is under threat as the Drogheda board are definately going to review the season and make a decision on Matthews’ future. The Drogs’ top scorer James Chambers will probably be wanted by the higher teams in the division  so next season could be a real struggle. A 3-1 defeat at Sligo rounded off a terrible season for The Drogs and their fans will be expecting better next season.

Top Scorer (Goals)

James Chambers (7)

Pos.              Points               Won          Draw        Lost           Goal Diff

9                     32                        7                  11                   18               -18

Alan Matthews

DUN

Dundalk

What a brilliant 1st season in the top flight from Dundalk. Finishing 5th place is remarkable supposing most newly promoted teams struggle in the top flight in their 1st season. A very comfortable season in the top flight as for most of the season they sat mid-table. The closest they came to bottom spot was 9th when 10 games in they were thrased 5-0 at league leaders Bohemians. The only sad news for Dundalk fans was when manager Sean Connor left by mutual consent at the end of the season. Their biggest win was 3-0, twice over Galway and once over Bray. Their biggest defeat was that 5-0 defeat at Bohemians. They can at least brag that they were the last team Derry beat in the Premier Division before being demoted.

Top Scorer (Goals)

Chris Turner (11)

Pos.              Points               Won          Draw        Lost           Goal Diff

5                      44                        12                8                  16                -5

Oriel Park – The home of Dundalk with very bright lights

GAL

Galway United

A strange season for Galway which saw them 3rd after 5 games and in the unlucky 8th after the final game. The superb start for Galway saw their English manager Ian Foster given a lot of praise, but then it all went wrong for Galway. A poor run added with the loss of star player Jay O’Shea put Galway down with the strugglers in the strugglers in the league, but it seemed with a few games to go they were safe. Everything that could go wrong went wrong as all their rivals won and they struggled to get that vital win. Unfortunately a 2-2 draw with Cork on the final day put them in 8th, and it seemed that Galway may be about to return to the First Divison. In a dramatic day after the final day it was confirmed Derry would be demoted for financial reasons, this meant Galway wouldn’t need to play in the play-offf and were officially safe. It may not be the way Galway would of liked to stay up but at least their safe, untill next year.

Top Scorer (Goals)

Aaron Greene (5)

Pos.              Points               Won          Draw        Lost           Goal Diff

8                      42                       12                 6                 18                 -21

Ian Foster

SHA

Shamrock Rovers

Shamrock were involved in one of the most exiting title races in years this season. Eventually Rovers fiished second but this season was one to remember. Obviously the highlight was the 1-0 loss to Real Madrid who had a full stength team including Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and many more. This always looked like it was going to be a good season right from the first whistle to the last. Top scorer Gary Twigghit in 24 goals. They may not of thrashed teams 5-0 like Bohemians did but they played some wonderful stuff. With 6 games remaining Shamrock beat Bohemians 1-0 and this gave probably the best supporters in the league hope that they could win the league, but it wasn’t to be. They blew their big chance on the final day as they lost 1-0 at rivals St.Patricks and Bohemians drew which confirmed that Bohemians had won the league. The only negative for them was that in a game against Galwaywhich i went to see the fans wasted time by throwing the ball to the back of the stand and keeping it there, not fair but in the end the time wasting meant nothing.

Top Scorer (Goals)

Gary Twigg (24)

Pos.              Points               Won          Draw        Lost           Goal Diff

2                    73                           21                10             5                    24

 Gary Twigg
 
SLI
 
Sligo Rovers
 
This season had the closest relegation battle in year, with only 2 points separating Dundalk in mid-table and Galway in the relegation play-off spot. Sligo were 1 point away but managed to secure safety with a final day win over Drogheda. Their crazy season started with them only winning one game in their first six, beating Bray 2-1. Most of the season they were either in 6th, 7th or 8th. Their biggest win was 2-0 against Galway, Dundalk and St. Patricks. Their heaviest defeat was at home to Derry when they were thrashed 4-0. In their final 12 games they only lost twice, losing to the top 2 Bohemians and Shamrock.

Top Scorer (Goals)

Raffael Cretaro (13)

Pos.              Points               Won          Draw        Lost           Goal Diff

6                    40                         10                   10            1a 5                 -12

2nd top scorer: Defender Alan Keane
 
STP
 
St. Patricks
 
When manager Jeff Kenna left in September things looked bleak for the Dubliners, but new boss Pete Mahon came in he somehow saved The Saints. The only positive for them was their suprisingly decent run in Europe, where they knocked out Russian team Krylya Sovetov and Valetta FC. As the season went on they seemed to fall further down the table and then with one game to go they found themselves in 8th! A 1-0 win over Shamrock and a 2-2 draw for Galway against Cork meant St. Patricks were safe. They were beaten 3-0 four times this season which didn’t impess their superb supporters. Their biggest win was 2-0 against Dundalk and Bray. Pat’s will be hoping to forget about this season and move on!
 
Top Scorers (Goals)
 
Ryan Guy (4)
Mark Quigley (4)
 
Pos.              Points               Won          Draw        Lost           Goal Diff
 
7                     43                         13               4                19                  -17
 
Ryan Guy vs Hertha Berlin
 
 
You may not find this league exiting but if you ever get the chance to watch a game from this league watch it because even though the Irish League isn’t rated highly, some of the football that is played is wonderful. In the relegation play-off between Drogheda and Bray, Drogheda won. Then Bray had to play Sporting Fingal. They lost 4-2 on aggregate which means Sporting Fingal and UCD will replace Derry and Bray.  If i had to choose a player of the year i would go for either Alan Keane of Sligo or Shamrock’s Gary Twigg.  They both had great seasons and will hope next season they can take their club further than they took them this season. In next years European competitions Ireland will be represented by Bohemians, Shamrock and Cork with Bohs in the Champions League and the other 2 in the Europa League. This season Keith Fahey and Jay O’Shea both went to a top English side (Birmingham) and next season more star’s will be transferred over the Irish Sea to play the best league in the world.
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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