Dundalk F.C.

Full name Dundalk Football Club
Nickname(s) Lilywhites
Founded 1903
Ground Oriel Park,
County Louth
Ground Capacity 4,500 (3,000 seated)
Manager Stephen Kenny
League League of Ireland Premier Division
2016 League of Ireland Premier Division, 1st
Website Club home page

Dundalk Football Club (/dʌnˈdɔːk/; Irish: Cumann Peile Dhún Dealgan) is an Irish professional association football club based in Dundalk, County Louth. The club currently plays in the League of Ireland Premier Division and are the current reigning champions. Founded in 1903, it is the second most successful team, in terms of trophies won, in the history of the League of Ireland. The traditional colours of the club are white jerseys with black shorts. Because of the white jerseys, the team has been nicknamed The Lilywhites. Home games are played in Oriel Park. A local rivalry is shared with Drogheda United, their Louth neighbours, who entered the League in 1963 as Drogheda FC and later became Drogheda United in 1975.

Since 1999, and in conjunction with Irish League side Linfield of Belfast, the club has been engaged in a peace and reconciliation programme, known as the Dunfield Project, which through the medium of football is facilitating the coming together of young people from the Dundalk and Belfast communities. In 2002, the club won the FAI Cup for a ninth time. The club operated as a co-operative, with teams competing from school-boy level in Dublin-based leagues to girls' and ladies' teams, along with the first-team for a period until August 2006, when it was taken over by a local business man, Gerry Matthews. Dundalk celebrated its 2000th league game against Finn Harps on Thursday 8 March 2007 in Oriel Park to a crowd of 3,000 spectators.

In 2016, the club became the first Irish side to reach the play-off round of the UEFA Champions League after their shock 3–1 aggregate win over FC BATE Borisov. They were beaten by Legia Warsaw in the final play-off round and instead participated in the UEFA Europa League. They became the first Irish side to win a group stage game in European competition when they beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 1–0 at home.


The first newspaper reports of organised football in Dundalk appeared in the Dundalk Democrat on 17 December 1892, when an article appeared about a match that had occurred nine days previously involving a club named Dundalk. The Dundalk team had beaten Institution 2nd XI 1–0. The sport gradually took a foothold in a developing town, which held strong ties to both the military and the railway infrastructure given its location between Dublin and Belfast, as well as links to local ports. Affiliated to the Leinster Football Association before the start of the 20th century, a team from Dundalk, commonly known as Rovers, took their place in the Leinster Senior League in 1900–01 for the first time. The club continued to exist (as the town’s most established club) until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

However, other clubs also began to make their presence felt in the locality. One in particular, the Great Northern Railway Association Club, otherwise known as the Dundalk GNR, founded in September 1903, spawned the modern-day Dundalk Football Club. The Dundalk GNR were located at the Athletic Grounds and competed in the Dundalk and District League from 1905 until 1914, although media coverage remained patchy. Sports coverage was re-instated in the local media in 1919, with the Dundalk and District League re-established in time to start a competition during the 1919–20 season. Included among the teams was a selection representing the Dundalk GNR. The club were also partaking in the Newry League at the time, but political change at a national level was to affect this. Following the formation of the Football Association of the Irish Free State (FAIFS; later to become the Football Association of Ireland or FAI) in Dublin to govern football in the Irish Free State the control of footballing matters in Northern Ireland was left to the Irish Football Association (IFA).

The Dundalk GNR was not involved in the fledgling League of Ireland, which began at the start of the 1921–22 season. It involved only Dublin-based clubs, all of which had stepped up from the Leinster Senior League Senior Division. This ultimately opened the way for the Dundalk GNR to move up to the Leinster Senior League. It was the only club from outside the capital to compete in the 1922–23 season. Its first game was played on 7 October 1922 against Inchicore United and ended in a 2–1 loss. Nevertheless, the club established itself in the top rank, and a third-place finish in the 1925–26 season paved the way for the club’s election to the ten-team Free State Senior League at the expense of Pioneers, and ahead of Bendigo F.C. and Drumcondra; the two clubs that had headed the Dundalk GNR in their final season in the Leinster Senior League. The first game in the League of Ireland ended in a 2–1 loss to Fordsons on 21 August. Within four seasons, the club had moved from the Dundalk and District League, through the Leinster Senior League, and was ready to establish itself in the elite Irish Free State Senior League, which included Shelbourne, Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers. The club, still known as the Dundalk GNR, and continuing in the black and amber kit from their pre-First World War origins, traveled to Cork to face Fordsons in its opening match on 21 August 1926. The match ended in a 2–1 defeat.

The club was renamed Dundalk F.C. in 1930 and became the first provincial team to win the league title in 1932–33. The club has an unbroken membership of the League of Ireland, a record shared with only two other members from that time; Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers. The club moved to its current home venue, Oriel Park, in 1936. In the 1970s and 1980s, the club had an impressive record in European competition at home, being undefeated for five years, playing against top opposition in the form of PSV Eindhoven, Hajduk Split, Celtic, Porto and Tottenham Hotspur. With almost fifty trophy-wins, including nine league titles, one First Division title and having contested fourteen FAI Cup finals, the club has one of the most successful histories in League of Ireland football. Almost one hundred of the club's players have gained representative honours for Ireland and the League of Ireland.

Dundalk are currently ranked 226th in the UEFA Club Coefficient Rankings which puts them ahead of Kairat Almaty and Levski Sofia.

On 8 November 2015 Dundalk F.C completed their first double since 1988, by scoring the winning goal in the 107th minute. Leading to them winning the FAI cup adding to their league title. Dundalk F.C had s superb season in 2015.[1]

On 6 November 2016 Dundalk lost 1-0 to Cork City Fc in the cup final missing out on the double. [2]

2006 promotion controversy

Despite the fact that Dundalk FC had won what they perceived to be, or believed should have been, the annual promotion/relegation play-off, and what would have been a promotion/relegation game in any other normal season, in November 2006, they were one of the teams omitted from the 2007 Premier Division and were, instead, chosen to play in the First Division. Dundalk, however, argued that it had a right to compete in the Premier Division following their play-off victory over Waterford United. "What was the point of the league taking our players and fans all the way down to Waterford if it counted for nothing?" questioned one official, while reports in the local and national press described the decision to exclude Dundalk from the Premier Division as "scandalous" and "an injustice".[3][4] However, as far as the FAI and the Independent Assessment Group (IAG) were concerned Dundalk's protests had no real weight, their contention was that the 2006 play-offs had never been billed as a promotion/relegation fixture, but rather as a means to determine which teams were to be positioned in 12th and 13th place within the overall standings for the 2006 season. As such, the play-offs actually contributed points to Dundalk's final assessment tally, though sadly for Dundalk and its fans, just not enough. A double blow for Dundalk came when the IAG's report placed Galway United, who finished the season in 3rd place behind Dundalk, in 12th position; thus Galway were selected for the new Premier Division ahead of Dundalk. This infuriated many Dundalk supporters and proved to be the final straw for one particularly disgruntled fan. On 13 December 2006, Mark Kavanagh, known locally as "Maxi", dismayed by the Independent Assessment Group's decision, entered the former headquarters of the FAI at Merrion Square, doused the reception area with petrol and threatened to set it alight. After a tense hour-long stand-off, the situation ended peacefully when the Dundalk manager, John Gill, spoke with Kavanagh and persuaded him to end his protest.[5] In late December 2006, Dundalk's CEO, Gerry Matthews, met with the FAI and members of IAG committee. He acknowledged that they had a "very hard job to do and did it with the utmost integrity and respect for Dundalk". Matthews expressed his satisfaction with the process and said that he and the club were "happy to move on".[6]

On 15 November 2008, Dundalk won promotion back to the Premier Division.

Stephen Kenny and Dominance

After a disastrous 2012 season, in which Dundalk remained in the Premier Division by beating Waterford United 4–2 on aggregate in the promotion/relegation playoff, Stephen Kenny was appointed as the manager. There was a massive improvement in the 2013 Premier Division, with Dundalk finishing in 2nd place, three points behind winners St. Pat's, and they also reached the semi final of the FAI Cup. In 2014, Kenny guided Dundalk to the League title, winning the League of Ireland Cup in the process. He repeated this league and cup double again in 2015, with Richie Towell scoring 25 goals from midfield, pipping Cork City to the title on both occasions. 2015 also saw a win in the FAI Cup, with Dundalk triumphing over Cork City once again. In 2016, Dundalk made history by reaching the playoff round of the 2016–17 UEFA Champions League by beating FH and BATE Borisov, where they lost 3–1 on aggregate to Legia Warsaw, and dropped into the Europa League as a result. Dundalk became just the second Irish team ever to make the group stages of a European competition, and became the first Irish side to pick up a point in Europe after Ciarán Kilduff scored an 89th-minute equaliser away to Dutch side AZ Alkmaar in their opening group stage match in a 1–1 draw. In their second group stage match against Maccabi Tel Aviv, Kilduff again proved to be the hero as his 72nd-minute strike gave Dundalk a historic 1–0 win, meaning they became the first Irish side to pick up a win in the group stages of a European competition. Dundalk went on to win the 2016 league title with two games to spare again pipping Cork City to the title for the third season in a row. But Cork City exacted their revenge when they beat Dundalk in the last minute in the 2016 FAI Cup final when former player Sean Maguire scored to prevent Dundalk winning the double double.

Colours and Crest

The Dundalk GNR colours worn from 1903 until 1927.
The Dundalk GNR colours adopted in 1927.
The coat of arms of the town of Dundalk.
Dundalk F.C. Vintage Crest.
Dundalk F.C. 1998-2009 Crest.

Dundalk's traditional colours are white jerseys (from which they get their nickname, the Lillywhites) and black shorts. However, this has not always been the case. Whilst playing under the auspices of the Great Northern Railway the club played in a black and amber-striped kit until 1927 when the team adopted a strip of white shirts, with blue shield (Coat of Arms of Dundalk) and navy blue shorts.[7] The GNR moniker was dropped two seasons later and the team was renamed Dundalk F.C. in 1930.

The club's crest features three mythical martlets. The design is an adaptation of the heraldic symbols of Dundalk town's coat of arms, which also depict red marlets on a predominantly white shield.[8] The original blue shield depicting three 'crows', as they were referred to in the local press, was adopted when the club changed its colours in 1927.

Home grounds

The club played at the Athletic Grounds from 1903 until 1936, when it adopted Oriel Park as its home ground, where it has remained playing to date. Oriel Park, located on the Carrick Road, faces Dundalk railway station and the Great Northern Brewery. The ground's attendance record is 21,000, set in 1979 on the occasion of the club’s European Champion Clubs' Cup second round tie against Celtic. The stadium, which now has a 1,600-seater stand, has hosted many memorable games including visits from Nottingham Forest, Liverpool, Ajax and Red Star.

In February 2005, the club announced a major programme for a complete revamp of Oriel Park, which included the conversion of the pitch to an all-weather surface. Dundalk is the first Irish club to make such a conversion and the first club in the world to use the licensed FIFA 2-star surface for competitive league games. It is the worst rated playing surface in Ireland's two leagues.[9] Further upgrades have taken place to the main stand, changing-areas and bar facilities. The ultimate aim is to restore the club’s standing amongst the premier clubs in Ireland. At the start of the 2007 season, fans of the club were delighted to see the developmental work done on the stadium over the close-season before the season's kick-off. A new roof was installed on the main stand and covered terracing was introduced along the opposite side of the pitch. In November 2016, Dundalk FC resolved its legal issues with Gerry Matthews regarding Oriel Park, and as a result of this process have taken full lease of the stadium. [10]

Images from Oriel Park


Club records

European record

Dundalk FC has had a chequered but nonetheless respectable history in European football.[11] It was one of the first Irish football teams to play in Europe and the very first Irish side to go three rounds in the European Cup. For almost fifty years, Dundalk has played against some of the greatest clubs in Europe, including Liverpool, Celtic, Porto, Tottenham Hotspur, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax.[12][13] In 2010, Dundalk returned to European competition for the first time since 2002, winning the first qualifying round UEFA Europa League tie. A campaign called BE-TOP (Bring Europe to Oriel Park) was launched to bring the ground up to UEFA standard. The campaign involved securing advance ticket bookings from supporters to upgrade Oriel; the target was 1,000 advance bookings. The number of bookings by the deadline was 1,200 and on 13 April 2010, it was confirmed that Oriel Park would be upgraded and would host its first European game since 1991.[14] In 2016–17, Dundalk will appear in the group stage of a major European tournament for the first time; a 3–1 victory over BATE Borisov in the third qualifying round of the 2016–17 UEFA Champions League meant they would play in the play-off round of the same competition, where victory would see them play in the Champions League group stage, while defeat would mean dropping down to the Europa League group stage.[15] On 17 August 2016, in the first leg of the play-off round against Legia Warsaw which was played at the Aviva Stadium, Dundalk lost 2-0.[16] In the second leg on 23 August 2016, Dundalk took the lead in the game but the conceded a late goal in a 1-1 draw to go out of the competition 3-1 on aggregate.[17]

Notable matches and results include:


Correct as of August 2016

Competition Played W D L GF GA
European Cup / UEFA Champions League 24 3 7 14 19 50
UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League 14 4 2 8 12 30
European Cup Winners' Cup / UEFA Cup Winners Cup 8 2 1 5 7 14
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 6 1 1 4 4 25
TOTAL 52 10 11 31 42 119

Past opponents

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
1963–64 European Cup PR Switzerland Zürich 0–3 2–1 2–4
1967–68 European Cup PR Hungary Vasas 0–1 1–8 1–9
1968–69 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1R Netherlands DOS Utrecht 2–1[lower-alpha 1] 1–1 3–2
2R Scotland Rangers 0–3 1–6 1–9
1969–70 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1R England Liverpool 0–4 0–10 0–14
1976–77 European Cup 1R Netherlands PSV Eindhoven 1–1 0–6 1–7
1977–78 European Cup Winners' Cup 1R Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Hajduk Split 1–0 0–4 1–4
1979–80 European Cup PR Northern Ireland Linfield 1–1 2–0 3–1
1R Malta Hibernians 2–0 0–1 2–1
2R Scotland Celtic 0–0 2–3 2–3
1980–81 UEFA Cup 1R Portugal Porto 0–0 0–1 0–1
1981–82 European Cup Winners' Cup 1R Iceland Fram 4–0 1–2 5–2
2R England Tottenham Hotspur 1–1 0–1 1–2
1982–83 European Cup 1R England Liverpool 1–4 0–1 1–5
1987–88 European Cup Winners' Cup 1R Netherlands AFC Ajax 0–2 0–4 0–6
1988–89 European Cup 1R Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Red Star Belgrade 0–5 0–3 0–8
1991–92 European Cup 1R Hungary Budapest Honvéd 0–2 1–1 1–3
1995–96 UEFA Cup PR Sweden Malmö FF 0–2 0–2 0–4
2002–03 UEFA Cup PR Croatia Varteks 0–4 0–5 0–9
2010–11 UEFA Europa League 1Q Luxembourg Grevenmacher 2–1 3–3 5–4
2Q Bulgaria Levski Sofia 0–2 0–6 0–8
2014–15 UEFA Europa League 1Q Luxembourg Jeunesse Esch 3–1 2–0 5–1
2Q Croatia Hajduk Split 0–2 2–1 2–3
2015–16 UEFA Champions League 2Q Belarus BATE Borisov 0–0 1–2 1–2
2016–17 UEFA Champions League 2Q Iceland FH 1–1 2–2 3–3[lower-alpha 2]
3Q Belarus BATE Borisov 3–0 0–1 3–1
PO Poland Legia Warsaw 0–2 1–1 1–3
UEFA Europa League Grp Russia Zenit Saint Petersburg 1–2 1–2
Netherlands AZ Alkmaar 0–1 1–1
Israel Maccabi Tel Aviv 1–0
  1. The tie went to extra time.
  2. Dundalk won on the away goals rule.

Appearance records

Goalscoring records


Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Republic of Ireland GK Gary Rogers
2 Republic of Ireland DF Sean Gannon
3 Republic of Ireland DF Brian Gartland
4 Republic of Ireland DF Andy Boyle (vice-captain)
5 Republic of Ireland MF Chris Shields
6 Republic of Ireland MF Stephen O'Donnell (captain)
7 Republic of Ireland MF Daryl Horgan
8 Republic of Ireland MF John Mountney
9 Republic of Ireland FW David McMillan
10 Republic of Ireland MF Ronan Finn
11 Republic of Ireland FW Patrick McEleney
12 Republic of Ireland DF Shane Grimes
14 Republic of Ireland DF Dane Massey
No. Position Player
15 Republic of Ireland DF Paddy Barrett
16 Republic of Ireland FW Ciarán Kilduff
17 Republic of Ireland MF George Poynton
18 Republic of Ireland MF Robbie Benson
19 Northern Ireland MF Dean Shiels
20 Republic of Ireland FW Ciarán O'Connor
22 Italy GK Gabriel Sava
24 Republic of Ireland DF Alan Keane
26 Republic of Ireland FW Michael O'Connor
27 Republic of Ireland GK Ben Kelly
28 Republic of Ireland MF Keith Dalton
29 South Africa MF Carlton Ubaezuono


Technical staff

Position Staff
Manager Republic of Ireland Stephen Kenny
Assistant manager Republic of Ireland Gerry Spain
Assistant coach Republic of Ireland Vinny Perth
Goalkeeping coach Wales Steve Williams
U 19s Manager Republic of Ireland Martin Connolly
U 18s Manager Northern Ireland Liam Burns
Strength & Conditioning coach Republic of Ireland Graham Byrne
Masseur Republic of Ireland Adam Kelly
Doctor India Dr. Samir Akhal
Physio Republic of Ireland Sam Rice
Physio Republic of Ireland Fearghal Kerin

Club officials

Name Role
Republic of Ireland Jim Reilly Club President
Republic of Ireland Vacant Chairman
Republic of Ireland Greg Molloy General Manager
Republic of Ireland Des Donleavy FAI Council Member

Facility management

Name Role
Republic of Ireland Regina O'Hare Event Controller
Republic of Ireland Des Weir & Jeanette Hardy Ticket Office Management
Republic of Ireland Willie McKeever, Domenic Rafferty & David Caldwell Ground Management
Republic of Ireland Michael Duffy Stadium Announcer

Shirt sponsors and kit suppliers

Shirt sponsors

Years Sponsor
1980–1984 National Aluminium
1984–1987 Symingtons (Eros Sportswear)
1987–2002 Harp Lager
2002–2003 Dundalk Cabs
2004 Oscars
2004 Carnbeg
2005 Park Inn
2006–2009 IJM
2009 ShopDundalk
2010–2011 Fastfix
2012–present Fyffes

Kit suppliers

Years Kit supplier
1976–1984 O'Neills
1984–1988 Eros Sportswear
1988–1990 Union Sport
1990–2004 O'Neills
2005 Erreà
2006 Diadora
2007–2015 Umbro
2015– CX+ Sport


  1. Leahy, Ed (8 November 2015). "Dundalk do the double with extra time in FAI cup win.". RTE. RTE. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  2. "FAI Cup: Dundalk denied double as Cork City win final". BBC Sport. 2016-11-06. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  3. "Dundalk Exclusion is Scandalous". Retrieved on 24 September 2007.
  4. "FAI Bring Injustice to a New Level". Retrieved on 24 September 2007.
  5. "Fan in FAI Protest". Retrieved on 24 September 2007.
  6. "Dundalk Happy to Move On". Retrieved on 24 September 2007.
  7. Tempests Annual, 1927, quoted in Jim Murphy's History of Dundalk: The First 100 Years, Dundalk: Dundalgan Press, 2003, page 54.
  8. Dundalk, International Civic Heraldry, 1996. Retrieved on 6 June 2007.
  9. http://www.pfai.ie/news/308-pitch-rating-table-july
  10. http://www.dundalkfc.com/statement-dundalk-fc-resolve-legal-issues/
  11. "Dundalk in Europe". Dundalk FC. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  12. "The story of the Irish part-timers who were 'one kick away' from Real Madrid". The 42. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  13. "Dundalk FC Full European Record". UEFA.com. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  14. Dundalk FC :: European Nights
  15. "Dundalk 3-0 BATE Borisov". BBC Sport. 2 August 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  16. "Dundalk 0 Legia Warsaw 2". BBC Sport. 17 August 2016. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  17. "Legia Warsaw 1 Dundalk 1". BBC Sport. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  18. "Dundalk no picnic now for Celtic". Glasgow Herald (page 20). 25 October 1979. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  19. "Celtic 3-2 Dundalk". Celtic Wiki. 25 October 1979. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  20. "Dundalk 0-0 Celtic". Celtic Wiki. 7 November 1979. Retrieved 6 August 2015.

External links

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