1st Edition

The League of Ireland An Historical and Contemporary Assessment

Edited By Conor Curran Copyright 2023
    148 Pages
    by Routledge

    148 Pages
    by Routledge

    2021 saw the centenary of the formation of the League of Ireland, the Republic of Ireland’s primary professional association football league. This new collection draws on the work of a number of leading historians of Irish soccer and seeks to examine a number of previously under-researched aspects relating to the league. The book examines the initial growth of clubs in Dublin and the Free State League’s early turbulent history, while the impact of Irish players and administrators on the development of soccer clubs at home and abroad is also assessed. Following the partition of Ireland in 1921, players continued to move from Dublin clubs to those in Northern Ireland and this is also discussed, particularly in light of the Troubles of 1968–1998. Despite the migration of many Irish-born players to Britain, the League of Ireland has also attracted internationally based players and the impact of this is also examined. The role of the league in the provision of players for the Irish Olympic team is also explored, as is the work of SARI in its attempts to eradicate racism from Irish sport. This publication aims to commemorate some of those who have strived to maintain the League of Ireland’s presence against the backdrop of what has become the world’s most attractive football league, located in Ireland’s neighbour, England. It will be of interest to researchers and advanced students of Sports, History, Sociology and Politics. This book was originally published as a special issue of the journal, Soccer & Society.


    1. Introduction

    Conor Curran

    2. Association football in Dublin in the late nineteenth century: an overview

    Julien Clenet

    3. The formation of the Football Association of Ireland

    Cormac Moore

    4. ‘In the Ráth Camp, rugby or soccer would not have been tolerated by the prisoners’: Irish Civil War attitudes to sport, 1922–3

    Aaron Ó Maonaigh

    5. A League is born: the League of Ireland’s inaugural season, 1921–1922

    Conor Heffernan and Joseph Taylor

    6. The cross-border movement of Republic of Ireland-born footballers to Northern Ireland clubs, 1922–2000

    Conor Curran

    7. One-way traffic? 100 years of soldiers, mercenaries, refugees and other footballing migrants in the League of Ireland, 1920–2020

    Gerard Farrell

    8. Ireland’s footballers at the 1924 and 1948 Olympic Games: compromised by the politics of sport

    Tom Hunt

    9. Peter J. Peel: the soccer king

    Michael Kielty

    10. Who’s SARI now: social enterprise and the use of the medium of sport to further human rights in society

    Ken Mc Cue


    Conor Curran (Trinity College Dublin) has taught sports history at the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University, Leicester and at the University of Giessen and University of Marburg in Germany. He has published numerous articles and books on the history of Irish sport and is a former FIFA Havelange Research Scholar, an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow and Dublin City Council football historian.