Shelbourne F.C.

Shelbourne F.C.

Football club infobox
clubname = Shelbourne

fullname = Shelbourne Football Club
nickname = Shels/The Reds
founded = 1895
ground = Tolka Park
capacity = 10,000
chairman = Joe Casey
manager = Dermot Keely
league = FAI First Division
season = 2007
position = 5th in FAI First Division
current = Shelbourne F.C. Season 2008

Shelbourne Football Club (Irish: "Cumann Peile Shelbourne") is an Irish football club playing in the FAI First Division after having their Premier Division Licence revoked by the FAI's First Instance Committee on 19 February 2007, effectively relegating the club despite winning the league championship just three months earlier. The club was issued a First Division Licence in place of the revoked licence.

Founded in Dublin in 1895, the club joined the Irish Football League in 1904, which was then an all Ireland competition, before becoming founder members of the Football League of Ireland in 1921. Shelbourne have 13 league titles to their name and are one of three clubs to have won both the IFA Cup and the FAI Cup as well as being Ireland's most successful club in UEFA's club competitions. The club colours are primarily red and white, with home jerseys being predominantly red. The club currently play their home matches at Tolka Park, in the Dublin suburb of Drumcondra. 'Shels' is the club's most common nickname, an abbreviation of Shelbourne.

Shelbourne have recently gained a lot of international exposure due to their performances in European competition and former striker Jason Byrne gaining caps for the Republic of Ireland whilst with the club. Shelbourne are the most successful team in the League of Ireland in recent years, having won five titles in the 2000s. The club is managed by Dermot Keely, who was appointed as Pat Fenlon's successor on 23 February 2007 [ [] → News: Dermot Keely announced as new manager.] .


Early years: 1895-1921

Shelbourne FC came into existence in 1895, founded in Ringsend (the correct postal address is actually Sandymount) by a group of seven individuals, including James Rowan (St Margaret Place) and two Wall brothers Felix and Michael (Bath Avenue Place). But for the toss of a coin under the current DART bridge on Bath Avenue, Shelbourne FC might be known as 'Bath FC' today. Shelbourne registered with the Leinster Football Association, and initially played their home games on a waste patch of land (M'Lady's Field) close to Lansdowne Road.

Having initially played in and won the Leinster Junior League and subsequently the Leinster Senior League, Shels joined the Irish Football League (then an all-Ireland competition) in 1904 and was the first professional club in Ireland having turned pro in 1904 [citation needed] . The first player to sign pro was James Wall, brother of two of the founder members and he was paid £0-0-06d per week. During Shels' twelve seasons in the Irish Football League (the league was suspended during the First World War and the club played in the Leinster Senior League in that time), they won three Irish Cups and achieved second place in the league in 1907 making them the most successful Dublin club of the time as well as having five players capped at full international level. During the 1913/14 season Shels established Shelbourne Park in Ringsend, as their home ground.

After the split: 1921-1929

:"Additional reading: FAI - Split from the IFA"

In 1921 following the partition of Ireland, the Football Association of the Irish Free State took control of football in what is now the Republic of Ireland, and Shels left the Irish Football League to become founder members of the new Free State League (now the Football League of Ireland).

In the first season of the Football League of Ireland in 1922, Shels won the League of Ireland Shield. The trophy was retained the following season, but there was disaster in the Free State Cup Final (now the FAI Cup) as Shels lost to a junior team from Belfast, Alton United. However success did eventually arrive in the League as Shels were crowned league champions for the first time in 1926 (as well as winning the Shield that year) and recorded a second success in 1929.there main rivals are sporting fingal

Thirties: 1930-1939

:"Additional reading: Reds United F.C."Having failed to retain the title in 1930, Shels won their third title in 1931. In 1934 the club got into a dispute with the Free State F.A. when they looked for compensation when the FAIFS arranged a match for the same day as Shelbourne had a match scheduled. In the row that followed, Shels resigned from the League and were then suspended from football for a year by the FAI. The club played no football during the 1934/35 season and spent the 1935/36 season in the Athletic Union League before being re-admitted to the League of Ireland for the start of the 1936/37 season. During the 1935/36 season a team called Reds United F.C., made up of a number of Shels players and backed by Shels personnel, competed in the League of Ireland and finished a respectable fourth. At the end of the season, they resigned from the League to make way for Shels return.

The decade had a happy ending though as success in the FAI Cup finally arrived (many fans had started to believe the club was suffering from a curse). It was in the 1939 cup final that the supposed curse was broken. Sligo Rovers who boasted Dixie Dean, the goalscoring legend of the Football League, were eventually beaten after a replay thanks to a long-range goal from 'Sacky' Glen. After so many attempts, the blue ribbon of Irish football made its way to Shelbourne Park for the first time. Official figures put the attendances at 30,000 and 25,000 for the first final and the replay respectively.

Forties: 1940-1949

As the euphoria of the first FAI Cup success wore off, the forties started slowly enough for the Reds, and it wasn't until 1944 that the league championship was won again-for a fourth time, along with the Shield. The title was clinched after an epic 5-3 win over local rivals Shamrock Rovers. Luck was reversed though in the FAI Cup Final as Rovers stopped the Reds winning the treble. Shels went down 3-2, but felt aggrieved that the referee award them a penalty when it seemed a Rovers defender had handled the ball after it went over the goalline. The subsequent penalty was missed.

Another league title however was wrapped up on the last day in 1947 and was again secured against Shamrock Rovers.

The closing of the decade marked the end of an era. In April 1949, Shels drew 2-2 against Waterford in what was the club's final competitive game at Shelbourne Park. The plan was that Shels would build a new stadium up the road in nearby Irishtown. The 1948/49 season also saw Shels win their seventh Shield.

Fifties: 1950-1959

In 1951, Shels made it to the FAI Cup final where they met Cork Athletic who had already wrapped up the league. Tommy Carberry had scored in every round for the Reds and did so again in the final, played in front of over 38,900 fans, but it was only good enough to earn a replay which Athletic won. A sixth league title was won in 1953, and then in 1955/56 Shels played their only season in Irishtown Stadium. The ground however was far from complete despite a huge amount of voluntary work being carried out by supporters, and offered no shelter for the fans from the elements. Unsurprisingly Shels were tenants at Tolka Park the following season.

During that season Gerry Doyle was appointed manager and a new era was being ushered in for the Reds. The FAI Youth Cup was won in 1959 and Doyle was true to his word, 'if they're good enough, they're old enough' and six of the Youth Cup winning team became first team regulars. Amongst them Tony Dunne who would be later transferred to Manchester United with who he would pick up a European Cup winners medal in 1968.

ixties: 1960-1969

The early years of the sixties went great for the Reds. Three goal wins over Bohemians, Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk put Shels in the 1960 FAI Cup Final where they beat Cork Hibernians 2-0 to get their hands on the trophy for only the second time. Cork Celtic were beaten by a Ben Hannigan goal in a play-off for the league in 1962 and only illness to three key players as a result of vaccinations taken on a League of Ireland representative trip to Italy cost Shels the FAI Cup and a first 'double' as they went down to Shamrock Rovers in the final despite being red-hot favourites. The FAI Cup was however won the following year and it was a repeat of the 1960 final. A 2-0 win over Cork Hibs.

With this success came the excitement of European club football (see below). In 1964 the club finally sold their last interest in Irishtown Stadium. In the years that followed, televised highlights of English football began to be broadcast into Ireland and the crowds around most of the league grounds plummeted. Clubs in the league came under huge financial pressure, players left for England at a younger age, grounds became derelict, and media coverage almost disappeared.

eventies and Eighties: 1970-1989

There was a bright enough start to the seventies as Athlone Town were beaten in the Shield final second replay, a win that would see the Reds enter the new UEFA Cup the following season. However, it was to be the last trophy the club would win for some time. Cork Hibs beat Shels in the replay of the 1973 FAI Cup Final in Flower Lodge-the only time the final was ever played outside Dublin. Two years later Shels were shocked in the Cup final by amateurs Home Farm. In 1978, Jimmy Johnstone, a European Cup winner with Celtic in 1967 signed briefly for the club.

In 1984, Shels lost out to Shamrock Rovers in the FAI Cup semi-final replay. As the league was to expand to two divisions in the summer of 1985, the bottom four clubs at the end of the 1984/85 season were to be relegated. Needing a win on the last day of the season, Shels found themselves two down at half-time away to Galway United. However a heroic comeback ensued and Shels got the three goals to take the points and avoid the drop. But the reprieve only lasted twelve months. Shels stay in the First Division was short-lived as they came back up straight away with Derry City. After two decades and more in the doldrums, the grey skies were clearing. Tony Donnelly took over the club in 1989 and started to invest heavily. Shels were out of the derelict Harold's Cross Stadium and taking over Tolka Park. Former international Pat Byrne was installed as player-manager, and a plethora of new players arrived shortly after to bring back the glory days.

Nineties: 1990-1999

The heavy investment in the club by the Donnelly family gave an almost instant return as Shels captured their eighth league title at the end of the 1991/92 season - the first for thirty years - when they won 3-1 away to outgoing champions Dundalk. Despite only needing a draw, Brian Flood sealed the win with a spectacular goal from thirty-five yards. Although the league title was lost the following season after two series of play-offs involving Cork City and Bohemians, the FAI Cup was won, again after a thirty year wait, when a Greg Costello header was enough to defeat Dundalk in Lansdowne Road.

Both the League Cup and the FAI Cup were won in sensational circumstances in 1996 under Damien Richardson. The League Cup was won, for the first time, in a penalty shootout against Sligo Rovers after Shels had come from two down late on. In the FAI Cup Final against St. Patrick's, Shels were reduced early on to ten men as keeper Alan Gough was sent off, and with no sub keeper, midfielder Brian Flood played seventy minutes in goal. Despite trailing 1-0, Tony Sheridan equalised with a stunning lob in the last couple of minutes to force a replay. With Alan Gough back in goal for the rematch, Shels won the trophy after Gough saved a late penalty and Stephen Geogeghan scored an even later winner. Shels became only the third club to retain the FAI Cup when they defeated Derry City 2-0 in the 1997 final.

The 1997/98 season however brought heartbreak. Shels lost the League Cup Final to Sligo Rovers, the FAI Cup Final to Cork City after a replay, and worst of all, missed out on the league title on the last day of the season. Richardson departed after this failure, and in stepped the uncompromising Dermot Keely.

Beyond 2000

:"Additional reading: , Season 2008After a mediocre first season, Dermot Keely brought Shels a historic first ever League and FAI Cup double in 1999/2000. Having secured the league with a 2-0 win in Waterford which saw Shels lose just once before then, the double was claimed thanks to a Pat Fenlon goal in the FAI Cup final replay away in Dalymount Park against Bohemians. The following season though saw Shels again let the league title slip away on the last day. The 2001/02 season was dogged in controversy as title challengers St Patrick's Athletic were docked nine points for fielding an unregistered player in accordance with the league's rules, before having them restored. The league eventually docked them fifteen points when it emerged a second unregistered player had played five games. This all lead to Shels claiming their tenth league title.

Under new manager Pat Fenlon the title was missed out on in 2002/03, but for the first time ever Shels won back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004 as the league changed to a summer season. Having just failed to make the group stages of the Champions League in 2004, Shels brought in big name players for the 2005 season, but only finished third in the league and lost to Linfield in the first ever Setanta Cup Final. 2006 saw a change in fortunes, with Shelbourne winning the title on goal difference from Derry City.

However after ongoing financial problems during the 2006 season, Pat Fenlon resigned and the vast majority of players left, some for rival clubs, some to British clubs. Shels withdrew from the 2007 Setanta Sports Cup and before the start of the new league season were demoted to the First Division by the FAI. The club's majority shareholder Ollie Byrne suffered a brain tumour (he passed away in August 2007) and Joe Casey was installed as Chairman. Former manager Dermot Keely was brought back in and assembled a squad just in time for the club to take its place in the 2007 FAI First Division. A respectable finish in the top half of the table was secured, but no promotion was achieved so Shels will play First Division football again in the 2008 season.

:"Additional reading: Shelbourne F.C. Seasons"


Current squad

"As of July 29, 2008."

fs player| no= | nat=Ireland | pos=DF | name=Damien Brennan "(Captain)"

Notable former players

"see also cl|Shelbourne F.C. players"

Notable Former Managers

* John Feenan, 1942-46
* David Jack, 1953-55
* Gerry Doyle, 1957-1965, 1967-1975
* Liam Tuohy, 1981
* Eoin Hand, 1993-94
* Pat Fenlon, 2002-2006

"see also cl|Shelbourne F.C. managers"

European football

Shelbourne have a long, illustrious history in European competitions, taking on teams such as Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Panathinaikos, Rangers, Rosenborg, Brøndby, Hajduk Split, Deportivo de La Coruña, Lille, and Steaua Bucharest.

Shelbourne first performed on the European stage in the 1962/63 season, taking on Sporting Lisbon in the European Cup. In recent times, Shelbourne have been ever-present in European competition, and enjoyed a considerable amount of success.

Fans' Groups

Reds Independent

Reds Independent are a Shelbourne supporters group formed in 1998 after Shelbourne FC moved their home UEFA Cup tie with Rangers out of the country and to Prenton Park, the home of Tranmere Rovers FC. The group gives Shelbourne fans an independent voice, something sorely lacking after the Rangers tie was moved abroad, through "Red Inc.", the longest running fanzine in the League of Ireland. "Red Inc." was first sold as a sixteen page publication priced fifty pence for a home league tie against Cork City on 31 January 1999.

Briogáid Dearg

"Briogáid Dearg" is the name of the Shelbourne ultras group which was founded in 2003. The name is the Irish translation of "Red Brigade", which is derived from the club nickname "The Reds", and a very old club nickname "The Fire Brigade". The group's logo is a phoenix which represents the recent rebirth of the club on and off the pitch. The group stands behind the goal in the New Stand (Drumcondra End) of Tolka Park and organise tifo displays, etc. and got no shortage of publicity from the Irish media during Shelbourne's 2004 UEFA Champions League run. "BD" as the group are commonly referred to, regularly win "Tifo of the month" on Ultras website

helbourne Supporters' Development Group

The Shelbourne Supporters' Development Group was founded in 2006 with the aim of securing badly needed funding from the Shelbourne supporter base. The Group have been promised shares in Shelbourne FC Ltd and representation on the board if it raises a certain amount of money for Shelbourne FC each year.

helbourne in the community

Shelbourne have seventeen schoolboy teams competing in the Dublin & District Schoolboy Leagues.

There is also an amateur team playing in the Amateur Football League. They won promotion to Division 1 (Saturday) in May 2008.

Shelbourne are involved in a football scholarship programme with Larkin Community College, on Dublin's northside. This scheme is considered to have helped stop the falling enrolment rates, and early leaving of school, in part of Dublin's north inner city. [ [] → How Soccer Made A Striking Difference]

cquote|Falling enrolment, poor discipline, early school-leaving. At Larkin Community College in Dublin's north inner city these have been shown the red card thanks to an innovative soccer scholarship scheme with Shelbourne FC.

In the heart of Dublin city some schools have problems holding on to students. There are fewer students around and those who can afford it are favouring fee-paying schools. Falling numbers can hit students and teachers hard - school morale gets a knock and some borderline students inch closer to dropping out.

In Dublin's inner city, historically drop-out rates were high. This is rapidly changing. That's why the educational world is watching Larkin Community College in Cathal Brugha Street, the first school in the State to introduce a large-scale soccer scholarship programme to encourage students to remain on in the educational system.

Major Honours

*sport honours|flagicon|Ireland League Championships|13|1925-26, 1928-29, 1930-31, 1943-44, 1946-47, 1952-53, 1961-62, 1991-92, 1999-2000, 2001-02, 2003, 2004, 2006
*sport honours|flagicon|Ireland|1783 IFA Cup winners|3|1906, 1911, 1920
*sport honours|flagicon|Ireland FAI Cup winners| 7 |1939, 1960, 1963, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000
*sport honours|flagicon|Ireland|1783 City Cup winners|1|1908-09
*sport honours|flagicon|Ireland|1783 Gold Cup winners|1|1914-15
*sport honours|flagicon|Ireland League Cup winners|1|1995-96
*sport honours|flagicon|Ireland Shield winners|8|1922, 1923, 1926, 1930, 1944, 1945, 1949, 1971



*Biggest League Win:
**9-0 vs Pioneers, 16 December 1922
**9-0 vs Bray Unknowns, 4 September 1926
*Biggest League Defeat:
**0-9 vs Dundalk, 27 November 1980
*Biggest FAI Cup Win:
**9-0 vs Bray Unknowns, 6 January 1923
*Biggest European Win:
**single tie: 4-0 vs Vėtra home, 24 June 2006
**aggregate: 5-0 vs Vėtra, June 2006

Goals / Scorers

*Most League goals in a season:
**72 "(1922/23)"
*Most League goals in a game:
**6, John Ledwidge vs Jacobs, 9-1 home, 10 October 1929
**6, Alex Hair vs Jacobs, 7-0 home, 6 September 1930
*Most FAI Cup goals in a game:
**5, Stephen Doyle vs Bray Unknowns 9-0 home, 6 January 1923
*Top League scorer:
**season: 29, Alex Hair, (1930-31)
**total: 126, Eric Barber, (1958-1966, 1971-75, 1978-80)
*Top European scorer:
**season: 5, Jason Byrne, (2004/05)
**total: 8, Jason Byrne, (2003-06)

International Caps

"Full international caps won by players while with Shelbourne:"

*fb|Ireland (IFA): 5 players capped
**First: Val Harris vs England home, 17 February 1906.
**Last: Ed Brookes vs Scotland away, 13 March 1920.
**Most: Val Harris (6), 1906-08.

*fb|Republic of Ireland|name=Irish Free State/Republic of Ireland (FAI): 23 players capped
**First: Mick Foley & Fran Watters vs Italy away, 21 March 1926.
**Last: Jason Byrne vs Chile home, 24 May 2006.
**Most: Joe Haverty (7), 1965-66.


External links

* [ Official club website]
* [ Reds Independent] Independent Supporters' Group
* [ Shelbourne Supporters' Development Group]
* [ Shelshomepage] Unofficial Fan Site
* [ Shels Picturehouse] Unofficial fans Pictures
* [ Shelbourne] @
* [ Shelbourne] @
* [ Shelbourne clear tax debt]

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