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Are they in a ‘League of their own?’


In the aftermath of Dublin’s superb All Ireland Senior Football Championship win – a victory that saw them lift the Sam Maguire for a record-equalling four-in-a-row – I saw a few sour-grapes comments amidst the celebratory.

One piece I read – and it wasn’t written tongue-in-cheek – called for Dublin to effectively be barred from the All Ireland Senior Football Championship, and for them to set up their own ‘All Dublin’; sure they have so many counties within the county, with Fingal, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Dublin City, South Dublin and whatever else.

This would give everyone else a chance, it was argued. Funny how nobody ever came out with calls like this in regard to Kilkenny’s hurlers, or Kerry’s footballers when they were invincible, or counties from Ulster beginning with ‘D’ back in the early 1990’s when Down, Derry and Donegal scooped up four Sams in a row between them.

A parallel in League of Ireland soccer – and I definitely am being tongue-in-cheek here, before anyone gets on my case – would be to bar Cork and Dundalk from the league for being too good. Sure, they win the title every year, get the European money and nobody can catch them up. Kick them out and let the rest of us have a chance.

It’s a funny idea, and a ridiculous one, but the Dubs-bashing I saw brought the idea to mind. This year will be the fifth in a row that they have occupied the top two positions in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division between them, and could still be the fourth in a row that they have both contested the FAI Cup final.

Cork and Dundalk contesting their own league won’t happen obviously, but I do know of a league that only has 2 teams, so it wouldn’t be without precedent [I’m still being tongue-in-cheek!]. That would be The Isles of Scilly Football League, in England, which comprises Garrison Gunners and Woolpack Rangers, and nobody else!

There are 5 inhabited Scilly Isles – St Marys, St Agnes, St Martins, Bryher and Tresco. Historically they all had teams and competed in the Lyonnesse Inter-Island Cup, but in recent times due to emigration the number of teams has fallen to the 2 mentioned.

How does the league work? They play each other 17 times – basically a game every Sunday through the summer months – to decide the league title. There is also a cup – The Foredeck Cup. A representative side of the isles, made up from the 2 sides, play international matches against other island teams in non-FIFA tournaments.

Brian Quigley

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