The Irish Football Association Challenge Cup (also known as the Tennent's Irish Cup for sponsorship purposes) is the primary football knock-out cup competition in Northern Ireland. Inaugurated in 1881, it is the fourth-oldest national cup competition in the world. Prior to the break-away from the Irish Football Association by clubs from what would become the Irish Free State in 1921, the Irish Cup was the national cup competition for the whole of Ireland.
Since December 2015, the cup has been sponsored by Tennent's Lager – the competition's first title sponsor since 2012. It was previously sponsored by Nationwide Building Society, Bass Ireland Ltd and JJB Sports. 126 clubs entered the 2018–19 competition.
Crusaders are the current holders, having defeated second-tier side Ballinamallard United 3–0 in the 2019 final to lift the Cup for the fourth time overall, and the first time in the 10 years since winning the 2009 final.
|Organising body||Irish Football Association|
|Region|| Ireland (1881–1921)|
Northern Ireland (since 1921)
|Number of teams||126 (2018–19)|
|International cup(s)||UEFA Europa League|
|Current champions||Crusaders (2018–19)|
|Most successful club(s)||Linfield (43 titles)|
|Television broadcasters||BBC Sport (highlights & 3 live games including final)|
During the cup's history, different formats and rules have been used in respect of eligibility to enter the competition, the number of teams and rounds, replays, extra time, penalties, etc. The competition is open to all clubs in Northern Ireland with intermediate or senior status. Clubs obtain such status by meeting minimum criteria laid down by the Irish Football Association in respect of facilities, etc. Each club, for example, must have its own enclosed ground. The competition begins in August or September with the first round, and ends with the final in May of the following year. Clubs from level 3 (the NIFL Premier Intermediate League) and all regional league entrants from level 4 and below enter in the first round, sometimes necessitating byes into the second round, depending on the number of entrants. The 24 senior clubs from levels 1 and 2 of the Northern Ireland Football League are exempt until the fifth round, which consists of 32 clubs and is played in January.
The competition has always been played in a randomly drawn knock-out format. Teams are drawn against each other randomly. The team who is drawn first from each tie is the home team, except in the case of an intermediate team from outside the Championship drawn first against a senior team, when the tie is played at the ground of the senior team. If the match finishes in a draw after 90 minutes, extra time is played and (if necessary) penalties are used to decide the winner. Both semi-finals and the final are played at Windsor Park.
The Cup winners qualify to represent Northern Ireland in the following season’s UEFA Europa League, subject to the club attaining a UEFA licence. However, if they have already qualified for a UEFA competition by finishing as champions or runners-up of the NIFL Premiership, or if they do not attain a UEFA licence, the Irish Cup's Europa League berth is redistributed to the third-placed Premiership club, and the 4th–7th placed clubs participate in the Premiership's Europa League play-offs.
The Irish Cup was inaugurated in the 1880–81 season, with seven clubs taking part. The draw for the first round took place on 10 January 1881, with the first round (and first ever Irish Cup matches) being played on 5 February 1881. The trophy was first awarded to Moyola Park (from Castledawson in County Londonderry) when they beat Cliftonville (from Belfast) 1–0 in the final at Cliftonville Cricket Ground, Belfast on 9 April 1881. Since its inception, the Irish Cup has always been, and continues to be, considered the most important such competition in Northern Ireland (and, prior to 1921, Ireland), second only to the NIFL Premiership. The cup final is the climax of the domestic season in Northern Ireland and usually attracts the biggest attendance of any club match.
Since the inception of the Irish Football League in 1890–91 (and excluding the First and Second World War years when the League was suspended), the Cup has been won by Irish League clubs on every occasion except three famous ‘giant-killing’ occasions when "junior" clubs beat senior opponents in the final: in 1928, Willowfield beat Larne 1–0; in 1955, Dundela beat Glenavon 3–0; and in 1976, Carrick Rangers beat Linfield 2–1. In the early years, Army regiments stationed in Ireland entered teams such as King's Own Rifles (Cork), three of which reached the final: the Gordon Highlanders in 1890, the Black Watch (Limerick) in 1892 and the Sherwood Foresters (Curragh, County Kildare) in 1897. The Gordon Highlanders were the only Army team to win the Cup.
Between 1881 and 1921 when the Irish Cup was an all-Ireland competition, southern clubs (from what would become the Irish Free State and later the Republic of Ireland) only won the competition four times out of a possible 41: Shelbourne (from Dublin) won three times (in 1906, 1911 and 1920); and Bohemians (also from Dublin) won it in 1908. There were two all-southern finals: Bohemians defeating Shelbourne in 1908, and Shelbourne defeating Bohemians in 1911 (both ties required replays). Shelbourne, Bohemians and Derry City are the only clubs to win both the Irish Cup and the FAI Cup. Other Dublin clubs to compete in the Irish Cup were Dublin University, St. James's Gate, Dublin Association, Tritonville and Richmond Rovers.
In the second competition in 1881–82, Queen's Island became the first Belfast club to win the Cup and it did not leave Belfast again for another 24 years, when in 1905–06, Shelbourne became the first club from Dublin to win it. Of the 139 competitions played since 1881, Belfast clubs have won the Cup 102 times. The last time a club from outside Belfast won the cup was in 2018, when Coleraine beat Cliftonville 3–1 to win the cup for the sixth time. The cup's most successful club from outside Belfast is Glenavon, with seven wins.[n 1]
In the early years of the competition the final was played at several different venues in Belfast, including the Oval, Solitude, Grosvenor Park and Celtic Park, as well as Dalymount Park in Dublin. Since 1996, the final has been played exclusively at Windsor Park, except for the 2015 final. The final had to be switched to the Oval, following the discovery of damage to a stand at the usual Windsor Park venue. The first final ever played outside Belfast took place in 1903, when Distillery won their 7th Irish Cup with a 3–1 victory over Bohemians at Dalymount Park, Dublin. The last final to be played outside Belfast was in 1975; Coleraine winning the Cup with a 1–0 victory over Linfield in the second replay, after 1–1 and 0–0 draws in the first two games. Since then the final has been played at The Oval or Windsor Park.
All six counties in Northern Ireland have been represented in the final. Moyola Park from County Londonderry were inaugural winners in 1881. In 1921, Glenavon became the first club from County Armagh to reach the final, but no club from Armagh won the Cup until Glenavon in 1957. County Down's first Cup finalists and winners were Ards in 1927; and County Antrim's were Ballymena in 1929. In 2007, Dungannon Swifts became the first club from County Tyrone to reach the final, and in 2019, Ballinamallard United became the first team from County Fermanagh to reach the final, completing the set.
Prior to replays being abolished in the final, a replay was required to decide the winner of 21 finals, the first in 1890 after Cliftonville and the Gordon Highlanders drew 2–2. Of the 21 finals to be replayed, eight of them required a second replay to separate the two finalists. The last time this occurred, and the last final replay ever played before they were abolished was in 1993, when Bangor defeated Ards 1–0 after two 1–1 draws. It was decided after this that there should only be one replay in which penalties would be used to determine the winner if necessary, and eventually the rules were changed to remove final replays altogether, with penalties being used if necessary after extra time in the first match. The first (and to date, only) final to be won on penalties took place in 2007, when Linfield beat Dungannon Swifts 3–2 on penalties following a 2–2 draw after extra time. In 2014, the rules were changed to abolish replays from the entire competition. All ties level after 90 minutes now use 30 minutes of extra time, and if necessary, a penalty shoot-out to determine the winner.
The final was not played on three occasions:
A total of 24 different clubs have won the Cup, but only 13 clubs have done so more than once. 34 different clubs have reached the final, with 12 of them appearing only once. Of those 12 clubs, five of them have won the Cup in their sole final appearance. On five occasions the same two clubs have reached the final in consecutive years: in 1885 and 1886, Distillery and Alexander; in 1913 and 1914, Glentoran and Linfield; in 1930 and 1931, Ballymena United and Linfield; Coleraine and Glentoran in 2003 and 2004; and in 2011 and 2012 Linfield and Crusaders. The most common final has been between Glentoran and Linfield, which has occurred 15 times. Linfield have won eight of the meetings, with Glentoran winning seven. The last time both clubs reached the final was in 2006, when Linfield won 2–1.
In 2001, the final was broadcast live on television for the first time on BBC Northern Ireland and has been on every occasion since
Most wins: 43, Linfield
Most consecutive appearances in a final: 5, Linfield (1891, 1892, 1893, 1894 & 1895)
Most defeats in a final: 21, Linfield
Most consecutive defeats in a final: 3, Linfield (1975, 1976 & 1977)
|Scores level after 90 minutes. A replay was required.|
|(aet)||Scores level after extra time. A replay was required.|
|(aet)||Scores level after 90 minutes. Winner was decided in extra time with no penalty shootout required.|
|pens.||Scores level after extra time. A penalty shootout was required to determine the winner.|
(number of titles)
|1880–81||9 April 1881||Moyola Park (1)||1 – 0||Cliftonville||Cliftonville Cricket Ground, Belfast||1,500|
|1881–82||13 May 1882||Queen's Island (1881) (1)||1 – 0||Cliftonville||Ulster Cricket Ground||2,000|
|1882–83||5 May 1883||Cliftonville (1)||5 – 0||Ulster||Bloomfield Ground, Knock, Belfast||2,000|
|1883–84||19 April 1884||Distillery (1)||5 – 0||Wellington Park||Ulster Cricket Ground||2,000|
|1884–85||21 March 1885||Distillery (2)||3 – 0||Limavady||2,000|
|1885–86||27 March 1886||Distillery (3)||1 – 0||Limavady||1,000|
|1886–87||12 February 1887||Ulster (1)||3 – 0||Cliftonville||Broadway Ground, Belfast||4,000|
|1887–88||17 March 1888||Cliftonville (2)||2 – 1||Distillery||Ulster Cricket Ground||3,000|
|1888–89||16 March 1889||Distillery (4)||5 – 4||YMCA||3,500|
|1889–90||8 March 1890||Gordon Highlanders (1)||2 – 2||Cliftonville||4,500|
|Replay||12 March 1890||3 – 1||Ulsterville, Belfast||3,500|
|1890–91||14 March 1891||Linfield (1)||4 – 2||Ulster||Solitude, Belfast||5,000|
|1891–92||12 March 1892||Linfield (2)||7 – 0||The Black Watch||5,500|
|1892–93||11 March 1893||Linfield (3)||5 – 1||Cliftonville||Ulsterville, Belfast|
|1893–94||17 March 1894||Distillery (5)||2 – 2||Linfield||Solitude, Belfast||5,500|
|Replay||18 April 1894||3 – 2|
|1894–95||23 March 1895||Linfield (4)||10 – 1||Bohemians||2,000|
|1895–96||14 March 1896||Distillery (6)||3 – 1||Glentoran||6,000|
|1896–97||20 March 1897||Cliftonville (3)||3 – 1||Sherwood Foresters||Grosvenor Park, Belfast||5,000|
|1897–98||19 March 1898||Linfield (5)||2 – 0||St Columb's Hall Celtic||The Oval, Belfast||3,000|
|1898–99||18 March 1899||Linfield (6)||2 – 1||Glentoran||Solitude, Belfast||7,000|
|1899–1900||24 March 1900||Cliftonville (4)||2 – 1||Bohemians||Grosvenor Park, Belfast||5,500|
|1900–01||13 April 1901||Cliftonville (5)||1 – 0||Freebooters||Grosvenor Park, Belfast||5,500|
|1901–02||15 March 1902||Linfield (7)||5 – 1||Distillery||Solitude, Belfast||8,000|
|1902–03||14 March 1903||Distillery (7)||3 – 1||Bohemians||Dalymount Park, Dublin||6,000|
|1903–04||17 March 1904||Linfield (8)||5 – 1||Derry Celtic||Grosvenor Park, Belfast||6,000|
|1904–05||11 March 1905||Distillery (8)||3 – 0||Shelbourne||Solitude, Belfast||12,000|
|1905–06||28 April 1906||Shelbourne (1)||2 – 0||Belfast Celtic||Dalymount Park, Dublin||8,000|
|1906–07||23 March 1907||Cliftonville (6)||0 – 0||Shelbourne||Celtic Park, Belfast||12,900|
|Replay||20 April 1907||1 – 0||Dalymount Park, Dublin||10,000|
|1907–08||21 March 1908||Bohemians (1)||1 – 1||Shelbourne||8,000|
|Replay||28 March 1908||3 – 1||9,000|
|1908–09||3 April 1909||Cliftonville (7)||0 – 0||Bohemians||Windsor Park, Belfast||3,000|
|Replay||10 April 1909||2 – 1||Dalymount Park, Dublin||15,000|
|1909–10||26 March 1910||Distillery (9)||1 – 0||Cliftonville||The Oval, Belfast||10,000|
|1910–11||25 March 1911||Shelbourne (2)||0 – 0||Bohemians||Dalymount Park, Dublin||16,000|
|Replay||15 April 1911||2 – 1|
|1911–12||Linfield (9)||Final not played.[n 3]|
|1912–13||29 March 1913||Linfield (10)||2 – 0||Glentoran||Celtic Park||20,000|
|1913–14||28 March 1914||Glentoran (1)||3 – 1||Linfield||Grosvenor Park, Belfast||20,000|
|1914–15||27 March 1915||Linfield (11)||1 – 0||Belfast Celtic||Solitude, Belfast||20,000|
|1915–16||25 March 1916||Linfield (12)||1 – 1||Glentoran||Celtic Park|
|Replay||1 April 1916||1 – 0||Grosvenor Park, Belfast|
|1916–17||31 March 1917||Glentoran (2)||2 – 0||Belfast Celtic||Windsor Park, Belfast||20,000|
|1917–18||30 March 1918||Belfast Celtic (1)||0 – 0||Linfield||The Oval, Belfast|
|Replay||13 April 1918||0 – 0||Solitude, Belfast|
|2nd replay||24 April 1918||2 – 0||Grosvenor Park, Belfast|
|1918–19||29 March 1919||Linfield (13)||1 – 1||Glentoran||Celtic Park, Belfast||18,000|
|Replay||5 April 1919||0 – 0||Grosvenor Park, Belfast|
|2nd replay||7 April 1919||2 – 1||Solitude, Belfast|
|1919–20||Shelbourne (3)||Final not played.[n 4]|
|1920–21||26 March 1921||Glentoran (3)||2 – 0||Glenavon||Windsor Park, Belfast|
|1921–22||25 March 1922||Linfield (14)||2 – 0||Glenavon||Solitude, Belfast|
|1922–23||31 March 1923||Linfield (15)||2 – 0||Glentoran|
|1923–24||29 March 1924||Queen's Island (1920) (1)||1 – 0||Willowfield||Windsor Park, Belfast|
|1924–25||21 March 1925||Distillery (10)||2 – 1||Glentoran||Solitude, Belfast||20,000|
|1925–26||27 March 1926||Belfast Celtic (2)||3 – 2||Linfield|
|1926–27||26 March 1927||Ards (1)||3 – 2||Cliftonville||The Oval, Belfast|
|1927–28||25 April 1928||Willowfield (1)||1 – 0||Larne||Windsor Park, Belfast|
|1928–29||30 May 1929||Ballymena (1)||2 – 1||Belfast Celtic||Solitude, Belfast|
|1929–30||29 March 1930||Linfield (16)||4 – 3||Ballymena||Celtic Park, Belfast|
|1930–31||28 March 1931||Linfield (17)||3 – 0||Ballymena||The Oval, Belfast|
|1931–32||26 March 1932||Glentoran (4)||2 – 1||Linfield||Celtic Park, Belfast|
|1932–33||8 April 1933||Glentoran (5)||1 – 1||Distillery||Windsor Park, Belfast||33,000|
|Replay||12 April 1933||1 – 1||25,000|
|2nd replay||28 April 1933||3 – 1|
|1933–34||14 April 1934||Linfield (18)||5 – 0'||Cliftonville||The Oval, Belfast||18,500|
|1934–35||6 April 1935||Glentoran (6)||0 – 0||Larne||Windsor Park, Belfast||15,000|
|Replay||10 April 1935||0 – 0|
|2nd replay||30 April 1935||1 – 0||10,545|
|1935–36||4 April 1936||Linfield (19)||0 – 0||Derry City||Celtic Park, Belfast|
|Replay||8 April 1936||2 – 0|
|1936–37||10 April 1937||Belfast Celtic (3)||3 – 0||Linfield||The Oval, Belfast|
|1937–38||9 April 1938||Belfast Celtic (4)||0 – 0||Bangor||Solitude, Belfast|
|Replay||7 May 1938||2 – 0|
|1938–39||29 April 1939||Linfield (20)||2 – 0||Ballymena United|
|1939–40||20 April 1940||Ballymena United (1)||2 – 0||Glenavon||Windsor Park, Belfast|
|1940–41||26 April 1941||Belfast Celtic (5)||1 – 0||Linfield||12,000|
|1941–42||18 April 1942||Linfield (21)||3 – 1||Glentoran||Celtic Park, Belfast|
|1942–43||17 April 1943||Belfast Celtic (6)||1 – 0||Glentoran||Windsor Park, Belfast|
|1943–44||17 April 1944||Belfast Celtic (7)||3 – 1||Linfield||25,240|
|1944–45||14 April 1945||Linfield (22)||4 – 2||Glentoran||Celtic Park, Belfast||20,000|
|1945–46||13 April 1946||Linfield (23)||3 – 0||Distillery||20,137|
|1946–47||26 April 1947||Belfast Celtic (8)||1 – 0||Glentoran||Windsor Park, Belfast||25,000|
|1947–48||10 April 1948||Linfield (24)||3 – 0||Coleraine||Celtic Park, Belfast||31,000|
|1948–49||16 April 1949||Derry City (1)||3 – 1||Glentoran||Windsor Park, Belfast||27,000|
|1949–50||22 April 1950||Linfield (25)||2 – 1||Distillery||17,000|
|1950–51||28 April 1951||Glentoran (7)||3 – 1||Ballymena United||25,000|
|1951–52||26 April 1952||Ards (2)||1 – 0||Glentoran||20,000|
|1952–53||25 April 1953||Linfield (26)||5 – 0||Coleraine||Solitude, Belfast||21,000|
|1953–54||24 April 1954||Derry City (2)||2 – 2||Glentoran||Windsor Park, Belfast||35,000|
|Replay||29 April 1954||0 – 0||28,000|
|2nd replay||10 May 1954||1 – 0||28,000|
|1954–55||23 April 1955||Dundela (1)||3 – 0||Glenavon||10,000|
|1955–56||21 April 1956||Distillery (11)||2 – 2||Glentoran||16,000|
|Replay||26 April 1956||0 – 0|
|2nd replay||30 April 1956||1 – 0||20,000|
|1956–57||13 April 1957||Glenavon (1)||2 – 0||Derry City||23,000|
|1957–58||26 April 1958||Ballymena United (2)||2 – 0||Linfield||The Oval, Belfast||24,000|
|1958–59||18 April 1959||Glenavon (2)||1 – 1||Ballymena United||Windsor Park, Belfast||18,000|
|Replay||29 April 1959||2 – 0|
|1959–60||30 April 1960||Linfield (27)||5 – 1||Ards||The Oval, Belfast||20,000|
|1960–61||22 April 1961||Glenavon (3)||5 – 1||Linfield||Solitude, Belfast||22,000|
|1961–62||14 April 1962||Linfield (28)||4 – 0||Portadown||The Oval, Belfast||20,000|
|1962–63||20 April 1963||Linfield (29)||2 – 1||Distillery||20,000|
|1963–64||25 April 1964||Derry City (3)||2 – 0||Glentoran||Windsor Park, Belfast||19,000|
|1964–65||24 April 1965||Coleraine (1)||2 – 1||Glenavon||18,000|
|1965–66||23 April 1966||Glentoran (8)||2 – 0||Linfield||The Oval, Belfast||20,000|
|1966–67||22 April 1967||Crusaders (1)||3 – 1||Glentoran||Windsor Park, Belfast||20,000|
|1967–68||27 April 1968||Crusaders (2)||2 – 0||Linfield||The Oval, Belfast||18,000|
|1968–69||19 April 1969||Ards (3)||0 – 0||Distillery||Windsor Park, Belfast||17,000|
|Replay||23 April 1969||4 – 2||16,000|
|1969–70||4 April 1970||Linfield (30)||2 – 1||Ballymena United||Solitude, Belfast||12,000|
|1970–71||3 April 1971||Distillery (12)||3 – 0||Derry City||Windsor Park, Belfast||6,000|
|1971–72||22 April 1972||Coleraine (2)||2 – 1||Portadown||8,000|
|1972–73||28 April 1973||Glentoran (9)||3 – 2||Linfield||12,000|
|1973–74||27 April 1974||Ards (4)||2 – 1||Ballymena United||7,000|
|1974–75||19 April 1975||Coleraine (3)||1 – 1||Linfield||The Showgrounds, Ballymena||5,600|
|Replay||23 April 1975||0 – 0||5,400|
|2nd replay||29 April 1975||1 – 0||5,200|
|1975–76||10 April 1976||Carrick Rangers (1)||2 – 1||Linfield||The Oval, Belfast||9,500|
|1976–77||23 April 1977||Coleraine (4)||4 – 1||Linfield||10,000|
|1977–78||29 April 1978||Linfield (31)||3 – 1||Ballymena United||12,000|
|1978–79||28 April 1979||Cliftonville (8)||3 – 2||Portadown||Windsor Park, Belfast||18,000|
|1979–80||26 April 1980||Linfield (32)||2 – 0||Crusaders||The Oval, Belfast||12,000|
|1980–81||2 May 1981||Ballymena United (3)||1 – 0||Glenavon||Windsor Park, Belfast||6,000|
|1981–82||24 April 1982||Linfield (33)||2 – 1||Coleraine||The Oval, Belfast||12,000|
|1982–83||30 April 1983||Glentoran (10)||1 – 1||Linfield||Windsor Park, Belfast||12,000|
|Replay||7 May 1983||2 – 1||The Oval, Belfast||8,000|
|1983–84||5 May 1984||Ballymena United (4)||4 – 1||Carrick Rangers||Windsor Park, Belfast||5,000|
|1984–85||4 May 1985||Glentoran (11)||1 – 1||Linfield||The Oval, Belfast||12,000|
|Replay||11 May 1985||1 – 0||Windsor Park, Belfast||12,000|
|1985–86||3 May 1986||Glentoran (12)||2 – 1||Coleraine||8,000|
|1986–87||2 May 1987||Glentoran (13)||1 – 0||Larne||8,000|
|1987–88||30 April 1988||Glentoran (14)||1 – 0||Glenavon||10,000|
|1988–89||6 May 1989||Ballymena United (5)||1 – 0||Larne||The Oval, Belfast||5,000|
|1989–90||5 May 1990||Glentoran (15)||3 – 0||Portadown||Windsor Park, Belfast||12,000|
|1990–91||4 May 1991||Portadown (1)||2 – 1||Glenavon||12,000|
|1991–92||2 May 1992||Glenavon (4)||2 – 1||Linfield||The Oval, Belfast||12,000|
|1992–93||1 May 1993||Bangor (1)||aet)1 – 1 (||Ards||Windsor Park, Belfast||8,500|
|Replay||8 May 1993||aet)1 – 1 (||6,000|
|2nd replay||11 May 1993||1 – 0||5,000|
|1993–94||7 May 1994||Linfield (34)||2 – 0||Bangor||The Oval, Belfast||10,000|
|1994–95||6 May 1995||Linfield (35)||3 – 1||Carrick Rangers||6,800|
|1995–96||4 May 1996||Glentoran (16)||1 – 0||Glenavon||Windsor Park, Belfast||10,000|
|1996–97||3 May 1997||Glenavon (5)||1 – 0||Cliftonville||8,222|
|1997–98||2 May 1998||Glentoran (17)||aet)1 – 0 (||Glenavon||8,250|
|1998–99||Portadown (2)||Final not played.[n 5]|
|1999–2000||6 May 2000||Glentoran (18)||1 – 0||Portadown||Windsor Park, Belfast||8,355|
|2000–01||5 May 2001||Glentoran (19)||aet)1 – 0 (||Linfield||14,190|
|2001–02||11 May 2002||Linfield (36)||2 – 1||Portadown||11,129|
|2002–03||3 May 2003||Coleraine (5)||1 – 0||Glentoran||9,000|
|2003–04||1 May 2004||Glentoran (20)||1 – 0||Coleraine||8,300|
|2004–05||7 May 2005||Portadown (3)||5 – 1||Larne||5,431|
|2005–06||6 May 2006||Linfield (37)||2 – 1||Glentoran||12,500|
|2006–07||5 May 2007||Linfield (38)||aet) (3 – 2 pens.)2 – 2 (||Dungannon Swifts||7,600|
|2007–08||3 May 2008||Linfield (39)||2 – 1||Coleraine||8,452|
|2008–09||9 May 2009||Crusaders (3)||1 – 0||Cliftonville||8,820|
|2009–10||8 May 2010||Linfield (40)||2 – 1||Portadown||7,940|
|2010–11||7 May 2011||Linfield (41)||2 – 1||Crusaders||8,200|
|2011–12||5 May 2012||Linfield (42)||4 – 1||Crusaders||7,325|
|2012–13||4 May 2013||Glentoran (21)||aet)3 – 1 (||Cliftonville||9,825|
|2013–14||3 May 2014||Glenavon (6)||2 – 1||Ballymena United||7,282|
|2014–15||2 May 2015||Glentoran (22)||1 – 0||Portadown||The Oval, Belfast||8,072|
|2015–16||7 May 2016||Glenavon (7)||2 – 0||Linfield||Windsor Park, Belfast||11,500|
|2016–17||6 May 2017||Linfield (43)||3 – 0||Coleraine||12,551|
|2017–18||5 May 2018||Coleraine (6)||3 – 1||Cliftonville||12,012|
|2018–19||4 May 2019||Crusaders (4)||3 – 0||Ballinamallard United||5,744|
|Linfield||43||21||1890–91, 1891–92, 1892–93, 1894–95, 1897–98, 1898–99, 1901–02, 1903–04, 1911–12, 1912–13, 1914–15, 1915–16, 1918–19, 1921–22, 1922–23, 1929–30, 1930–31, 1933–34, 1935–36, 1938–39, 1941–42, 1944–45, 1945–46, 1947–48, 1949–50, 1952–53, 1959–60, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1969–70, 1977–78, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1993–94, 1994–95, 2001–02, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2016–17|
|Glentoran||22||19||1913–14, 1916–17, 1920–21, 1931–32, 1932–33, 1934–35, 1950–51, 1965–66, 1972–73, 1982–83, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1989–90, 1995–96, 1997–98, 1999–00, 2000–01, 2003–04, 2012–13, 2014–15|
|Distillery||12||7||1883–84, 1884–85, 1885–86, 1888–89, 1893–94, 1895–96, 1902–03, 1904–05, 1909–10, 1924–25, 1955–56, 1970–71|
|Cliftonville||8||12||1882–83, 1887–88, 1896–97, 1899–00, 1900–01, 1906–07, 1908–09, 1978–79|
|Belfast Celtic||8||4||1917–18, 1925–26, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1940–41, 1942–43, 1943–44, 1946–47|
|Glenavon||7||10||1956–57, 1958–59, 1960–61, 1991–92, 1996–97, 2013–14, 2015–16|
|Coleraine||6||7||1964–65, 1971–72, 1974–75, 1976–77, 2002–03, 2017–18|
|Ballymena United[n 6]||5||7||1939–40, 1957–58, 1980–81, 1983–84, 1988–89|
|Crusaders||4||3||1966–67, 1967–68, 2008–09, 2018–19|
|Ards||4||2||1926–27, 1951–52, 1968–69, 1973–74|
|Portadown||3||8||1990–91, 1998–99, 2004–05|
|Derry City||3||3||1948–49, 1953–54, 1963–64|
|Shelbourne||3||3||1905–06, 1910–11, 1919–20|
|Queen's Island (1881)||1||0||1881–82|
|Queen's Island (1920)||1||0||1923–24|
|Derry Celtic[n 7]||0||2||–|
|The Black Watch||0||1||–|
24 different clubs have won the cup, with the overwhelming majority of winners being clubs from Belfast.
|Town or city||Number of cups won||Clubs|
|Belfast||102||Linfield (43), Glentoran (22), Distillery[n 1](12), Cliftonville (8), Belfast Celtic (8), Crusaders (4), Ulster (1), Willowfield (1), Dundela (1), Queen's Island (1881) (1), Queen's Island (1920) (1)|
|Ballymena||6||Ballymena United (5), Ballymena (1)[n 6]|
|Dublin||4||Shelbourne (3), Bohemians (1)|
|Derry||3||Derry City (3)|
|Carrickfergus||1||Carrick Rangers (1)|
|Castledawson||1||Moyola Park (1)|
|British Army||1||Gordon Highlanders (1)|
There have been 136 Irish Cup finals contested during the 139 competitions completed thus far, as the final was not played on three occasions. In addition, 29 final replays have been contested, for a total of 165 matches played at twelve different grounds. Windsor Park has been the most common venue, having hosted 74 finals including replays.
|Venue||Number of finals
|First final||Last final|
|Dalymount Park||8||1902–03||1910–11 replay|
|Grosvenor Park||8||1896–97||1918–19 replay|
|Ulster Cricket Ground||7||1881–82||1889–90|
|Ballymena Showgrounds||3||1974–75||1974–75 second replay|
|Cliftonville Cricket Ground||1||1880–81||1880–81|
The 1996–97 Irish Cup was the 117th edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. It concluded on 3 May 1997 with the final.
Glentoran were the defending champions after winning their 16th Irish Cup last season, with a 1–0 win over Glenavon in the 1996 final. This season Glenavon went one better by winning the cup for the 5th time, with a 1–0 win over Cliftonville in the final.1999–2000 Irish Cup
The 1999–2000 Irish Cup was the 120th edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. It concluded on 6 May 2000 with the final.
Portadown were the defending champions, winning their 2nd Irish Cup last season after Cliftonville were disqualified from the 1999 final. This season Portadown reached the final again, but were defeated 1–0 by Glentoran, who won the cup for the 18th time.2003–04 Irish Cup
The 2003–04 Irish Cup was the 124th edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. It concluded on 1 May 2004 with the final.
Coleraine were the defending champions, winning their 5th Irish Cup last season after a 1–0 win over Glentoran in the 2003 final. This season the same two clubs reached the final again. A 1–0 victory for Glentoran, who were appearing in the final for the sixth time in nine years was enough to seal their 20th Irish Cup win.2004–05 Irish Cup
The 2004–05 Irish Cup was the 125th edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. It concluded on 7 May 2005 with the final.
Glentoran were the defending champions, winning their 20th Irish Cup last season after a 1–0 win over Coleraine in the 2004 final. This season the Glens reached the semi-final stage, but were defeated by Portadown, who then went on to lift the cup for the third time with a 5–1 victory over Larne in the final.
It was the highest scoring final in 36 years, since the 1969 final replay when Ards defeated Distillery 4–2. It was also the first time in 43 years that the final had been won by a four-goal margin, when Linfield defeated Portadown 4–0 in 1962. This was Larne's fifth appearance in the final without ever winning; a record in the competition that still stands. They had previously been runners-up in the 1928, 1935, 1987 and 1989 finals. Derry Celtic (1898 and 1904) and Limavady (1885 and 1886) are the only other clubs to have reached the final more than once, but never won.2005–06 Irish Cup
The 2005–06 Irish Cup was the 126th edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. It concluded on 6 May 2006 with the final.
Portadown were the defending champions, winning their 3rd Irish Cup last season after a 5–1 win over Larne in the 2005 final. This season Portadown reached the quarter-finals, but were defeated by Glentoran. Linfield went on to lift the cup for the 37th time, defeating archrivals Glentoran 2–1 in the final. This was the 15th and to date, last time that both clubs have met in the final.2006–07 Irish Cup
The 2006–07 Irish Cup was the 127th edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. It concluded on 5 May 2007 with the final.
Linfield were the defending champions, winning their 37th Irish Cup last season after a 2–1 win over archrivals Glentoran in the 2006 final. They successfully defended the cup by defeating Dungannon Swifts 3–2 on penalties, when the final ended 2–2 after extra time. This was the first, and to date only Irish Cup final ever to be decided by a penalty shootout.2007–08 Irish Cup
The 2007–08 Irish Cup was the 128th edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. The competition began with the preliminary round on 15 September 2007 and culminated with the final at Windsor Park, Belfast, on 3 May 2008.
Linfield were the defending champions, winning their 38th Irish Cup last season after a 3–2 penalty shootout win over Dungannon Swifts in the 2007 final after the game finished 2–2 after extra time. They successfully defended the cup to win it for the third successive season by defeating Coleraine 2–1 in the final.2008–09 Irish Cup
The 2008–09 Irish Cup was the 129th edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. The competition began on 25 October 2008 with the first round and ended on 9 May 2009 with the final.
Linfield were the defending champions, winning their third consecutive Irish Cup the previous season after a 2–1 win over Coleraine in the 2008 final. This season they reached the semi-finals, but were defeated by Cliftonville. Crusaders went on to lift the trophy, beating Cliftonville 1–0 in the final. In doing so, they earned a place in the second qualifying round of the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League.2009–10 Irish Cup
The 2009–10 Irish Cup was the 130th edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. The competition began on 19 September 2009 with the first Round and ended on 8 May 2010 with the final.
Crusaders were the defending champions, winning their third Irish Cup the previous season after a 1–0 win over Cliftonville in the 2009 final. This season they reached the quarter-finals, but were defeated by Portadown. Linfield went on to lift their 40th Irish Cup, and fourth in five years, beating Portadown 2–1 in the final. Portadown earned a place in the first qualifying round of the 2010–11 UEFA Europa League because Linfield had already qualified for the UEFA Champions League via the 2009–10 IFA Premiership.2010–11 Irish Cup
The 2010–11 Irish Cup (known as the JJB Sports Irish Cup for sponsorship reasons) was the cup's 131st edition since its introduction and the 89th time that the trophy was presented to the winners of the annual knock-out competition in Northern Ireland. The competition began on 18 September 2010 with the First Round and ended on 7 May 2011 with the Final.
Linfield were the champions, winning their fifth Irish Cup in the last six seasons, by defeating Crusaders 2–1 in the final, who were appearing in their second final in the last three seasons.Crusaders qualified for the second qualifying round of the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League because Linfield had already qualified for the Champions League via the league.2011–12 Irish Cup
The 2011–12 Irish Cup (known as the JJB Sports Irish Cup for sponsorship reasons) was the cup's 132nd edition since its introduction. The competition began on 17 September 2011 with the first round and ended on 5 May 2012 with the final.
Linfield were the defending champions, after a 2–1 victory over Crusaders in last season's final. The two clubs met again in this season's final, and Linfield successfully defended the cup to win it for the sixth time in seven seasons after defeating Crusaders 4–1. Crusaders qualified for the first qualifying round of the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League as Linfield had already qualified for the UEFA Champions League by winning the 2011–12 IFA Premiership.2013–14 Irish Cup
The 2013–14 Irish Cup was the 134th edition of the premier knock-out cup competition in Northern Irish football since its introduction in 1881. The competition began on 7 September 2013 with the first round and ended on 3 May 2014 with the final. The competition ran without a principal sponsor, but for the second successive season the final was known as the Marie Curie Irish Cup final, after the IFA once again awarded the naming rights for the final to the charity Marie Curie Cancer Care.Glentoran were the defending champions, following their 3–1 win over Cliftonville after extra time in the 2012–13 final. However, they were eliminated in the quarter-finals by eventual winners Glenavon who defeated Ballymena United 2–1 in the final to lift the cup for the sixth time. As a result, Glenavon qualified for the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League first qualifying round.2014–15 Irish Cup
The 2014–15 Irish Cup was the 135th edition of the premier knock-out cup competition in Northern Irish football since its introduction in 1881. The competition began on 23 August 2014 with the first round, and concluded on 2 May 2015 with the final. For the first time since 1995, the Oval was chosen as the final venue following the discovery of damage to a stand at Windsor Park during the stadium's redevelopment.Glenavon were the defending champions, following their 2–1 win over Ballymena United in the 2014 final. However, this season they were eliminated in the sixth round after a shock 2–0 defeat to second-tier side Harland & Wolff Welders.Glentoran were the eventual cup winners for the second time in three seasons and the 22nd time overall by defeating Portadown 1–0 in the final, and subsequently qualified for the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League first qualifying round.2015–16 Irish Cup
The 2015–16 Irish Cup (known as the Tennent's Irish Cup for sponsorship purposes) was the 136th edition of the premier knock-out cup competition in Northern Irish football since its introduction in 1881. The competition began on 18 August 2015 with the first round and concluded with the final at Windsor Park on 7 May 2016. The cup was sponsored by Tennent's Lager, the competition's first title sponsor since 2012.Glentoran were the defending champions, after they lifted the cup for the second time in three seasons and for the 22nd time overall by defeating Portadown 1–0 in the 2015 final. Their defence of the Cup ended in the sixth round after falling to a 4–1 home defeat against 2013–14 winners, Glenavon.
Glenavon who were the eventual winners after beating Linfield 2-0 in the final, qualified for the 2016–17 UEFA Europa League first qualifying round2016–17 Irish Cup
The 2016–17 Irish Cup (known as the Tennent's Irish Cup for sponsorship purposes) was the 137th edition of the premier knock-out cup competition in Northern Irish football since its introduction in 1881. The competition began on 19 August 2016 and concluded with the final at Windsor Park on 6 May 2017.
Glenavon were the defending champions, after they lifted the cup for the seventh time by defeating Linfield 2–0 in the 2016 final. They were eliminated at the semi-final stage. The competition was won by Linfield, who defeated Coleraine 3-0 in the final.2017–18 Irish Cup
The 2017–18 Irish Cup (known as the Tennent's Irish Cup for sponsorship purposes) was the 138th edition of the premier knock-out cup competition in Northern Irish football since its introduction in 1881. The competition began on 19 August 2017 and concluded with the final at Windsor Park in May 2018.
Linfield are the defending champions, having defeated Coleraine 3-0 in the 2017 final.
A new system for penalty shoot-outs will be trialled as sanctioned by the International Football Association Board to test a different sequence of taking penalties. Known as "ABBA", it mirrors the serving sequence in a tennis tie-break i.e. team A takes the first penalty, team B takes the second penalty, team B takes the third penalty, etc.2018–19 Irish Cup
The 2018–19 Irish Cup (known as the Tennent's Irish Cup for sponsorship purposes) was the 139th edition of the premier knock-out cup competition in Northern Irish football. The competition began on 11 August 2018 and concluded with the final at Windsor Park on 4 May 2019.
Coleraine were the defending champions, having defeated Cliftonville in the 2018 final. Crusaders were the eventual winners, defeating second-tier side Ballinamallard United 3–0 in the final to lift the Cup for the fourth time overall, and the first time in the 10 years since winning the 2009 final.British and Irish Cup
The British and Irish Cup was an annual rugby union competition for second tier, semi-professional clubs and the reserves or developing teams from professional clubs from Great Britain and Ireland. It took place for the first time in the 2009–10 season.
A total of twenty-four teams from England (twelve), Ireland (three), Scotland (three) and Wales (six) competed in the inaugural competition. This remained the case for the first three seasons, though the format varied slightly in each season. For the 2012–13 season, the competition was expanded to 32 teams; England (twelve), Ireland (four), Scotland (four), and Wales (twelve) and for the first time, pool stage games were played on a "home and away" basis. For the 2013–14 season the number of teams competing was reduced to 24, with the Welsh entrants reduced from twelve to four, and the following season the competition was reduced to twenty teams with the withdrawal of the Scottish clubs.After clubs from the English Championship decided to withdraw for the 2018-19 season, the competition was scrapped.From the 2015–16 season to its end in 2018, Wales was represented by regional Premiership Select sides from the four Welsh regions.RFU Championship Cup
The RFU Championship Cup is an annual rugby union competition introduced by the RFU in 2018 to provide a cup competition for English second tier clubs playing in the RFU Championship, following the disbanding of the British and Irish Cup at the end of the 2017-18 season. At present the Championship Cup is scheduled to take place for at least two seasons.
Association football cup competitions in Ireland
|Republic of Ireland|
|International Friendly Trophies|