FAI Cup

Association Football competition in Ireland

Football tournament
Sports Direct FAI Cup
Organising bodyFootball Association of Ireland
Founded1921–22
Region Republic of Ireland
 Northern Ireland
Number of teams40
Qualifier forUEFA Europa Conference League
Domestic cup(s)President of Ireland's Cup
Current championsSt Patrick’s Athletic (5th title)
Most successful club(s)Shamrock Rovers (25 titles)
Websitefai.ie/senior-cup
2024 FAI Cup

The Football Association of Ireland Senior Challenge Cup[1] (FAI Cup), known as the Sports Direct FAI Cup[2] 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 Sports Direct. It was known as the Free State Cup from 1923 to 1936. Shamrock Rovers hold the record of most wins with 25.

The current holders are St Patrick's Athletic, who won their 5th title in November 2023.

Venues

Since the early 1920s until the 1980s, 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 to 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.

History

Shelbourne, Bohemians 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.

Athlone Town in 1924, Dundalk in 1958, Shamrock Rovers in 1968 and Sligo Rovers in 2010 are the only sides ever to win the Cup without conceding a goal.

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 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.

The largest ever win in the competition occurred on 29 November 2020 when Dundalk beat Athlone Town 11–0 at the semi-final stage.[3]

The largest ever attendance at an FAI Cup game was 43,881 people, as St Patrick's Athletic defeated Bohemians 3–1 in the 2023 FAI Cup Final at the Aviva Stadium.[4]

Eligibility

40 clubs compete in the FAI Cup. All clubs in the League of Ireland are automatically eligible. Clubs from Level 3–7 (non-league football) are also eligible provided they qualify from either the FAI Intermediate Cup or FAI Junior Cup competitions in the current season. All participating clubs must also have a stadium suitable for the competition.

The total number of entries in the FAI Cup has changed as Non-League football has gradually been expanded and reorganised over time. In the 2022 season, 39 clubs entered the competition. It is very rare for top clubs to miss the competition, although it can happen in exceptional circumstances.

Northern Irish sides that play in Republic of Ireland leagues are eligible. There is only one club currently competing: Derry City.

Eligibility for the FAI Cup

Lvl Competition Entering cup at No. of clubs
1 League of Ireland Premier Division First Round All 10 teams qualify automatically
2 League of Ireland First Division First Round All 10 teams qualify automatically
3–7 FAI Intermediate Cup Preliminary Round, First Round 16 fourth round teams
7–12 FAI Junior Cup Preliminary Round 4 semi-finalists

Qualification for subsequent competitions

European football

The FAI Cup winners qualify for the following season's UEFA Europa Conference League. This European place applies even if the team is relegated or is not in the Republic of Ireland top flight. In the past, if the FAI Cup winning team also qualified for the following season's Champions League or Conference League through their league or European performance, then the losing FAI Cup finalists were given the European berth of the FAI Cup winners. Now the FAI Cup berth is then given to the highest-place team in the league who has not yet qualified. FAI Cup winners enter the UEFA Conference League at the Second qualifying round.Each club that qualifies for the UEFA Conference League gets prize money worth up to 10 million pounds

Presidents Cup

The FAI Cup winners also qualify for the following season's single-match President of Ireland's Cup, the traditional season opener played against the previous season's Premier Division champions (or the Premier Divisions runners-up if the FAI Cup winners also won the league – the double).

FAI Cup Finals

Season Winner Score Runner-up Venue Attendance
1921–22 St James's Gate 1 – 1 / 1 – 0 (R) Shamrock Rovers Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 15,000 / 10,000
1922–23 Alton United 1–0 Shelbourne Dalymount Park 14,000
1923–24 Athlone Town 1–0 Fordsons Dalymount Park 18,000
1924–25 Shamrock Rovers 2–1 Shelbourne Dalymount Park 23,000
1925–26 Fordsons 3–2 Shamrock Rovers Dalymount Park 25,000
1926–27 Drumcondra 1 – 1 / 1 – 0 (R) Brideville Dalymount Park / Shelbourne Park 25,000 / 10,000
1927–28 Bohemians 2–1 Drumcondra Dalymount Park 25,000
1928–29 Shamrock Rovers 0 – 0 / 3 – 0 (R) Bohemians Dalymount Park / Shelbourne Park 22,000 / 15,000
1929–30 Shamrock Rovers 1–0 Brideville Dalymount Park 17,000
1930–31 Shamrock Rovers 1 – 1 / 1 – 0 (R) Dundalk Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 20,000 / 10,000
1931–32 Shamrock Rovers 1–0 Dolphin Dalymount Park 32,000
1932–33 Shamrock Rovers 3 – 3 / 3 – 0 (R) Dolphin Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 22,000 / 18,000
1933–34 Cork 2–1 St James's Gate Dalymount Park 21,000
1934–35 Bohemians 4–3 Dundalk Dalymount Park 22,000
1935–36 Shamrock Rovers 2–1 Cork Dalymount Park 30,946
1936–37 Waterford 2–1 St James's Gate Dalymount Park 24,000
1937–38 St James's Gate 2–1 Dundalk Dalymount Park 30,000
1938–39 Shelbourne 1 – 1 / 1 – 0 (R) Sligo Rovers Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 30,000 / 25,000
1939–40 Shamrock Rovers 3–0 Sligo Rovers Dalymount Park 38,509
1940–41 Cork United 2 – 2 / 3 – 1 (R) Waterford Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 30,132 / 13,057
1941–42 Dundalk 3–1 Cork United Dalymount Park 34,298[5]
1942–43 Drumcondra 2–1 Cork United Dalymount Park 30,549
1943–44 Shamrock Rovers 3–2 Shelbourne Dalymount Park 34,000
1944–45 Shamrock Rovers 1–0 Bohemians Dalymount Park 41,238
1945–46 Drumcondra 2–1 Shamrock Rovers Dalymount Park 34,248
1946–47 Cork United 2 – 2 / 2 – 1 (R) Bohemians Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 20,198 / 5,519
1947–48 Shamrock Rovers 2–1 Drumcondra Dalymount Park 33,812
1948–49 Dundalk 3–0 Shelbourne Dalymount Park 28,539
1949–50 Transport 2 – 2 / 2 – 2 (R) / 3 – 1 (R) Cork Athletic Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 28,807 / 21,123 / –
1950–51 Cork Athletic 1 – 1 / 1 – 0 (R) Shelbourne Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 38,912 / 22,000
1951–52 Dundalk 1 – 1 / 3 – 0 (R) Cork Athletic Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 26,479 / 20,753
1952–53 Cork Athletic 2 – 2 / 2 – 1 (R) Evergreen United Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 17,396 / 6,000
1953–54 Drumcondra 1–0 St Patrick's Athletic Dalymount Park 20,000
1954–55 Shamrock Rovers 1–0 Drumcondra Dalymount Park 33,041
1955–56 Shamrock Rovers 3–2 Cork Athletic Dalymount Park 35,017
1956–57 Drumcondra 2–0 Shamrock Rovers Dalymount Park 30,000
1957–58 Dundalk 1–0 Shamrock Rovers Dalymount Park 27,000
1958–59 St Patrick's Athletic 2 – 2 / 2 – 1 (R) Waterford Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 22,000 / 22,800
1959–60 Shelbourne 2–0 Cork Hibernians Dalymount Park 32,308
1960–61 St Patrick's Athletic 2–1 Drumcondra Dalymount Park 22,000
1961–62 Shamrock Rovers 4–1 Shelbourne Dalymount Park 32,000
1962–63 Shelbourne 2–0 Cork Hibernians Dalymount Park 15,000
1963–64 Shamrock Rovers 1 – 1 / 2 – 1 (R) Cork Celtic Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 35,500 / 23,600
1964–65 Shamrock Rovers 1 – 1 / 1 – 0 (R) Limerick Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 22,000 / 19,436
1965–66 Shamrock Rovers 2–0 Limerick Dalymount Park 26,898
1966–67 Shamrock Rovers 3–2 St Patrick's Athletic Dalymount Park 12,000
1967–68 Shamrock Rovers 3–0 Waterford Dalymount Park 39,128
1968–69 Shamrock Rovers 1 – 1 / 4 – 1 (R) Cork Celtic Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 28,000 / 18,000
1969–70 Bohemians 0 – 0 / 0 – 0 (R) / 2 – 1 (R) Sligo Rovers Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 16,000 / 11,000 / 22,000
1970–71 Limerick 0 – 0 / 3 – 0 (R) Drogheda Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 16,000 / 15,000
1971–72 Cork Hibernians 3–0 Waterford Dalymount Park 22,500
1972–73 Cork Hibernians 0 – 0 / 1 – 0 (R) Shelbourne Dalymount Park / Flower Lodge 12,500 / 11,000
1973–74 Finn Harps 3–1 St Patrick's Athletic Dalymount Park 14,000
1974–75 Home Farm 1–0 Shelbourne Dalymount Park 10,000
1975–76 Bohemians 1–0 Drogheda United Dalymount Park 10,400
1976–77 Dundalk 2–0 Limerick Dalymount Park 17,000
1977–78 Shamrock Rovers 1–0 Sligo Rovers Dalymount Park 12,500
1978–79 Dundalk 2–0 Waterford Dalymount Park 14,000
1979–80 Waterford 1–0 St Patrick's Athletic Dalymount Park 18,000
1980–81 Dundalk 2–0 Sligo Rovers Dalymount Park 12,000
1981–82 Limerick United 1–0 Bohemians Dalymount Park 12,000
1982–83 Sligo Rovers 2–1 Bohemians Dalymount Park 8,500
1983–84 UCD 0 – 0 / 2 – 1 (R) Shamrock Rovers Dalymount Park / Tolka Park 8,000 / 6,500
1984–85 Shamrock Rovers 1–0 Galway United Dalymount Park 7,000
1985–86 Shamrock Rovers 2–0 Waterford United Dalymount Park 11,500
1986–87 Shamrock Rovers 3–0 Dundalk Dalymount Park 8,569
1987–88 Dundalk 1–0 Derry City Dalymount Park 21,000
1988–89 Derry City 0 – 0 / 1 – 0 (R) Cork City Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park 20,000 / 12,000
1989–90 Bray Wanderers 3–0 St. Francis Lansdowne Road 29,000
1990–91 Galway United 1–0 Shamrock Rovers Lansdowne Road 15,257
1991–92 Bohemians 1–0 Cork City Lansdowne Road 17,000
1992–93 Shelbourne 1–0 Dundalk Lansdowne Road 11,000
1993–94 Sligo Rovers 1–0 Derry City Lansdowne Road 13,800
1994–95 Derry City 2–1 Shelbourne Lansdowne Road 15,000
1995–96 Shelbourne 1 – 1 / 2 – 1 (R) St Patrick's Athletic Lansdowne Road / Dalymount Park 15,000 / 10,000
1996–97 Shelbourne 2–0 Derry City Dalymount Park 10,000
1997–98 Cork City 0 – 0 / 1 – 0 (R) Shelbourne Dalymount Park / Dalymount Park – / –
1998–99 Bray Wanderers 0 – 0 / 2 – 2 (R) / 2 – 1 (R) Finn Harps Tolka Park / Tolka Park / Tolka Park 8,000 / – / 5,000
1999–2000 Shelbourne 0 – 0 / 1 – 0 (R) Bohemians Tolka Park / Dalymount Park 9,000 / 9,000
2000–01 Bohemians 1–0 Longford Town Tolka Park 10,100
2001–02 Dundalk 2–1 Bohemians Tolka Park 10,100
2002 (Interim) Derry City 1–0 Shamrock Rovers Tolka Park 10,100
2003 Longford Town 2–0 St Patrick's Athletic Lansdowne Road 12,000
2004 Longford Town 2–1 Waterford United Lansdowne Road 9,676
2005 Drogheda United 2–0 Cork City Lansdowne Road 24,521
2006 Derry City 4 – 3 (a.e.t.) St Patrick's Athletic Lansdowne Road 16,022
2007 Cork City 1–0 Longford Town RDS 10,000
2008 Bohemians 2 – 2 (a.e.t.) 4 – 2 (pen.) Derry City RDS 10,281
2009 Sporting Fingal 2–1 Sligo Rovers Tallaght Stadium 8,105[6]
2010 Sligo Rovers 0 – 0 (a.e.t.) 2 – 0 (pen.) Shamrock Rovers Aviva Stadium 36,101[7]
2011 Sligo Rovers 1 – 1 (a.e.t.) 4 – 1 (pen.) Shelbourne Aviva Stadium 21,662[8]
2012 Derry City 3 – 2 (a.e.t.) St Patrick's Athletic Aviva Stadium 16,117[9]
2013 Sligo Rovers 3–2 Drogheda United Aviva Stadium 17,573[10]
2014 St Patrick's Athletic 2–0 Derry City Aviva Stadium 17,038[11]
2015 Dundalk 1 – 0 (a.e.t.) Cork City Aviva Stadium 25,103[12]
2016 Cork City 1 – 0 (a.e.t.) Dundalk Aviva Stadium 26,400[13]
2017 Cork City 1 – 1 (a.e.t.) 5 – 3 (pen.) Dundalk Aviva Stadium 24,210[14]
2018 Dundalk 2–1 Cork City Aviva Stadium 30,412[15]
2019 Shamrock Rovers 1 – 1 (a.e.t.) 4 – 2 (pen.) Dundalk Aviva Stadium 33,111[16]
2020 Dundalk 4 – 2 (a.e.t.) Shamrock Rovers Aviva Stadium 0*[17]
2021 St Patrick's Athletic 1 – 1 (a.e.t.) 4 – 3 (pen.) Bohemians Aviva Stadium 37,126[18]
2022 Derry City 4–0 Shelbourne Aviva Stadium 32,412[19]
2023 St Patrick's Athletic 3–1 Bohemians Aviva Stadium 43,881[20]
 *Denotes match in which Covid-19 restrictions limited attendance

Performances

Performance by club

Rank Club Winners Runners-up Winning Years
1 Shamrock Rovers
25
10
1924–25, 1928–29, 1929–30, 1930–31, 1931–32, 1932–33, 1935–36, 1939–40, 1943–44, 1944–45, 1947–48, 1954–55, 1955–56, 1961–62, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1965–66, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1977–78, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87, 2019
2 Dundalk
12
8
1941–42, 1948–49, 1951–52, 1957–58, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1980–81, 1987–88, 2001–02, 2015, 2018, 2020
3 Shelbourne
7
12
1938–39, 1959–60, 1962–63, 1992–93, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1999–00
Bohemians
7
9
1927–28, 1934–35, 1969–70, 1975–76, 1991–92, 2000–01, 2008
5 Derry City
6
5
1988–1989, 1994–1995, 2002, 2006, 2012, 2022
6 St Patrick's Athletic
5
8
1958–59, 1960–61, 2014, 2021, 2023
Sligo Rovers
5
6
1982–83, 1993–94, 2010, 2011, 2013
Drumcondra
5
4
1926–27, 1942–43, 1945–46, 1953–54, 1956–57
9 Cork City
4
5
1997–98, 2007, 2016, 2017
10 Waterford
2
7
1936–37, 1979–80
Cork Athletic
2
3
1950–52, 1952–53
Limerick[1]
2
3
1970–71, 1981–82
Cork/Fordsons
2
2
1925–26, 1933–34
Cork Hibernians
2
2
1971–72, 1972–73
Cork United
2
2
1940–41, 1946–47
Longford Town
2
2
2003, 2004
St. James's Gate
2
2
1921–22, 1937–38
Bray Wanderers
2
-
1989–90, 1998–99
19 Drogheda United[2]
1
3
2005
Finn Harps
1
1
1973–74
Galway United
1
1
1990–91
Alton United
1
-
1922–23
Athlone Town
1
-
1923–24
Transport
1
-
1949–50
Home Farm
1
-
1974–75
UCD AFC
1
-
1983–84
Sporting Fingal
1
-
2009
28 Cork Celtic[3]
-
3
Brideville
-
2
Dolphin
-
2
St. Francis
-
1

Notes:

  • 1 ^ Includes Limerick United
  • 2 ^ Includes Drogheda F.C.
  • 3 ^ Includes Evergreen United

References

  1. ^ "Football Association of Ireland Senior Challenge Cup". Archived from the original (jpg) on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  2. ^ "FAI and Sports Direct announce three-year partnership | Football Association of Ireland". Archived from the original on 30 May 2023. Retrieved 30 May 2023.
  3. ^ Newberry, Niall (29 November 2020). "Dundalk put 11 past Athlone in record-breaking FAI Cup hammering". The42. Archived from the original on 17 March 2021. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  4. ^ Fenton, James (12 November 2023). "FAI Cup final recap: Bohemians 1-3 St Pat's" – via www.rte.ie.
  5. ^ "DUNDALK'S FIRST CUP Dublin issue – British Pathé". britishpathe.com. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Sligo Rovers 1-2 Sporting Fingal". RTE. Archived from the original on 30 March 2010. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  7. ^ "Redemption day for heroic Kelly". Irish Independent. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  8. ^ "Sligo Rovers win FAI Cup after penalty shoot-out". RTE. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  9. ^ "Derry City win the 2012 FAI Cup". extra time. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  10. ^ "North the hero as Sligo edge epic FAI Cup final". Independent. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  11. ^ "As it happened: Derry City v St Patrick's Athletic, FAI Cup final". The42.ie. 2 November 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  12. ^ "Cork City 0-1 Dundalk". RTÉ Sport. 8 November 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Watch: Drama as Sean Maguire pounces at the death to win FAI Cup for Cork City". Irish Independent. 7 November 2016. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  14. ^ "LIVE UPDATES FOR CORK CITY -V- DUNDALK". extra time. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  15. ^ "McEleney the FAI Cup hero as Dundalk bag second double in four years before 30,412 spectators". the42. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  16. ^ "Shamrock Rovers beat Dundalk on penalties to end 32-year wait for FAI Cup glory". the42. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  17. ^ "FAI Cup Final Report: Shamrock Rovers 2 - 4 Dundalk (Dundalk win after extra-time)". extra time. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  18. ^ "Benson keeps his nerve to win dramatic FAI Cup final for Saint Patrick's Athletic". the42. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  19. ^ "Derry outclass Shelbourne to deny Duff fairytale FAI Cup ending". Irish Times. Archived from the original on 13 November 2022. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
  20. ^ "St Pat's come from behind to beat Bohemians in a record-breaking FAI Cup final". the42. Retrieved 13 November 2023.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to FAI Cup.
  • Ireland – List of Cup Finals
  • Ireland – FAI Cup 1921/22-1993/94
  • FAI announce 1st digital sponsor with the extra.ie FAI cup
  • "'You can't lose, you'll make the league look bad'", RTÉ Sport, 13 May 2020.
  • https://worldsportsweekly.com/fai-cup-previous-winners
  • https://www.otbsports.com/soccer/the-nearly-neverending-epic-when-bray-wanderers-last-won-a-major-trophy-257383
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