Eircom First Division
History of the Eircom League
The League was founded in 1921 as the League of Ireland. A total of eight clubs competed for the first championship (1921/22), which was won by St. James’s Gate who went on to capture the double by defeating Shamrock Rovers in the FAI Cup Final.
Shamrock Rovers entered the League of Ireland the following season and won the title at their first attempt. The Hoops, as they are affectionately nicknamed, are Ireland’s most successful club side winning the League championship 15 times and the FAI Cup 24 times both records. Bohemians are the only club to have been in continuous membership of the League for all 82 seasons.
The first provincial club to win the championship were Dundalk in 1932/33. In 1942/43, Cork United became the first club to complete a hat-trick of championship successes. Waterford replicated this achievement in 1969/70 but Shamrock Rovers secured an unprecedented fourth successive League championship triumph in 1986/87.
Membership of the League fluctuated between 8 and 12 clubs until 1969 when the number of clubs rose to a record 14. In 1977, a new record total of 16 clubs were in membership of the League and that figure rose to its present level of 22 clubs with the election of six new clubs in 1985. That large intake of clubs paved the way for the introduction of the present two Division (Premier and First) structure in 1985/86.