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Dublin City never won The Dublin City Cup


Dublin City are quite probably the only League of Ireland club ever to share their name with an official domestic Cup. Possibly they are unique in world soccer in this regard. The only problem is that the Dublin City Cup, whilst sharing a name with Dublin City FC, wasn’t named after the club. Nor were the club named after the Cup. There is no connection except coincidence.

Both the Dublin City Cup and Dublin City FC are now sadly extinct. They didn’t even exist at the same time – the Dublin City Cup was played for between 1933 and 1973, while Dublin City FC were an entity from 2001 until 2006. So, not only did Dublin City never win the Dublin City Cup, they never even played in it!

That’s not to say that Dublin City didn’t win anything during their brief existence. They won the 2003 First Division title, achieving promotion to the Premier Division for 2004, from which they were promptly relegated. They were promoted again in 2005 after a promotion-relegation play-off victory over … wait for it, drum roll please … Shamrock Rovers, meaning Rovers fans will have unwanted memories of City as they were the cause of The Hoops spending 2006 in the First Division, a season that must have been to them what 1974-75 was to Manchester United fans in England’s old Second Division [now the Championship].

Talking about Rovers, they would be able to identify with the nomadic existence that Dublin City FC led during their League of Ireland tenure, having led one themselves between Milltown and Tallaght. Dublin City played out of Whitehall Stadium, Richmond Park, Tolka Park, Dalymount Park and Morton Stadium at various times. More grounds than they had seasons, almost!

The roots of Dublin City can be traced back to the 1999 split in Home Farm Everton. Home Farm went back to being a Leinster League team, while the League of Ireland franchise continued as Home Farm Fingal before changing name in 2001 to Dublin City FC. The club never built up a sustainable fan base, and the 2006 demise of the club due to finance issues was both sad and inevitable.

As for the Dublin City Cup its first winners back in the 1930’s were Dolphin, then a League of Ireland club. For the next 40 years the Dublin City Cup was a hotly-contested competition, albeit fourth in the pecking order behind the League, FAI Cup and League Cup. It wasn’t the exclusive preserve of Dublin clubs, in the way that the Leinster Senior Cup is limited to Leinster clubs – clubs from outside Dublin took part, perhaps giving the Eurovision Song Contest the idea that you could invite Australia!

The records show that Shamrock Rovers won the competition the most, with 10 titles. Bohemians only won it once, while St Patrick’s Athletic and Shelbourne won it three and four times respectively. With six wins to their credit Drumcondra were the second-most successful team in Dublin and nationally in the competition’s history.

Here’s one for the football historians reading. Two Dublin City Cup finals that Drums lost to Rovers [1957 and 1960] were decided on corners, a rule that is no longer allowed – a tie can now only be broken by away goals, extra time or a penalty shootout.

The Dublin City Cup didn’t always stay in Dublin. It was won by Sligo Rovers, Limerick, Dundalk and a trio of Cork clubs [Cork United, Cork Celtic and Cork Hibernian]. I’d imagine it felt the same way leaving Dublin as the Eurovision will feel going Down Under if Australia ever triumph!

Brian Quigley

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