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BohsFans
10/12/2006, 5:19 PM
Acting Director’s Report

Today’s Annual General Meeting is the last for the eircom League in its current format as, following the successful merger process, the new FAI-run League will come into effect for the 2007 season. Indeed, the composition of the Premier and First Divisions is scheduled to be put before the FAI Board on Monday next.

While this was a year where the League unfortunately had to accept the resignation of one of its member clubs, Dublin City and where a number of off-field issues garnered publicity, there were many highlights during the season just finished.

Attendances
Overall attendances in the eircom League totaled 351,021 with the Premier Division accounting for 257,745 of that figure and the First Division the remaining 93,276.

The highest attendance in the Premier Division was the last-night-of-the-season meeting between Derry City and Cork City at the Brandywell on Friday November 17th when 6,080 watched Derry exact some measure of revenge for their defeat in the reverse of the fixture last season (which incidentally was also the highest attendance in 2005) by beating the Leesiders but ultimately falling short of Champions Shelbourne on goal difference.

In the First Division, the meeting of Galway United and Shamrock Rovers at Terryland Park on Friday October 6th when both were chasing title glory was the highest with an attendance of 3,210.

Derry City ousted Cork City as the club with the highest average attendance in the Premier Division – 3,127 for the Foylesiders compared to 2,272 for the former champions. In the First Division, Galway United just edged out champions Shamrock Rovers (1,100 to 1,081) for the highest average attendance.

Live Television Broadcasts
There were a total of 43 matches involving eircom League clubs broadcast during 2006. Setanta Sports once again led the way with 19 games – 13 in the Setanta Sports Cup, five Premier Division games and the League Cup Final for the second successive year.

RTE broadcast a total of 12 games including Cork City’s four outings in the Champions League while TG4 made history with the first ever live broadcast of a First Division fixture when Athlone Town v Galway United was carried live on October 28th. TG4 also broadcast a second First Division fixture, the November 11th meeting of Galway United and Cobh Ramblers, making a total of 12 live games on the Irish language channel. When FAI Carlsberg Cup matches are also taken into account, a total of 43 live matches involving eircom League clubs were broadcast during 2006. However, it was somewhat disappointing that none of either Drogheda United or Derry City’s fixtures during their memorable UEFA Cup campaigns were shown live by domestic broadcasters.

TV Broadcasts At A Glance (2005 figures in brackets)
RTE TG4 Setanta Sports Total

eircom League live* 5(4) 8(6) 5(7) 18(17)
eircom League Cup (Final) 0 0 1(1) 1(1)
Setanta Sports Cup 0 0 13(12) 13(12)
FAI Cup 3(3) 4(4) 0 7(7)
UEFA Cup** 0(3) 0 0 0(3)
UEFA Champions League 4(4) 0 0 4(4)

Total 12(14) 12(10) 19(20) 43(44)

*Setanta Sports broadcast three ‘deferred’ Premier Division games in 2005
**BBC Northern Ireland broadcast Derry City v PSG, PSG v Derry City; Gretna v Derry City was broadcast on Setanta Sports 1, a subscription-based Setanta Sports channel.

Sponsorship, Marketing & Media
With the assistance of sponsors eircom we again staged a high profile launch event in the Law Society, Blackhall Place. The Irish Daily Star again published the Official eircom League Season Guide which reached over 130,000 Star buyers. A national radio campaign promoting eircom League fixtures on a local and national level funded by eircom followed.

During the FAI’s successful Pepsi Summer School over 10,000 Kids Go Free passes were distributed for participating clubs and in August and September.

The eircom League fixture line continued to promote the fixtures on a weekly basis and eircom again also used their billing mailout to promote the League to over 1.2 million households. eircom also contribute to the important media coverage of the League through their sponsorship of the Soccer Writers and the Player of the Month Award.

The League continued to receive widespread coverage in the print and broadcast media which is both welcomed and acknowledged however there were, unfortunately, a number of occurrences where reportage of issues and matters detrimental to the League appeared without any effort to seek verification or comment from the League.

We wish to acknowledge the continuing and generous support of our corporate sponsors eircom. We are also delighted that Umbro and Lucozade Sport continue to be official sponsors of the League. Thanks are also due to O’Driscoll O’Neil for their support for the Under-21 Enda McGuill Cup.

Club Licensing
The 2006 process for the award of League licences for 2007 was brought forward this year to twin-track the merger implementation process of the League with the FAI. The FAI Club Licensing Committee met last week and awarded 15 Premier Division licences and five First Division licences, one club did not receive a licence. The Appeals Body will meet during next week to consider any appeals relating to first instance decisions.

The process for awarding UEFA Licences for clubs qualifying to play in the 2007/2008 UEFA Club Competition season will commence on 31st March 2007. During the year UEFA published an updated version of their Club Licensing Manual. The new version, 2.0, has been adapted by the FAI Club Licensing Department and the revised FAI Club Licensing Manual, V2.0, has been approved by UEFA for implementation in the season 2008/2009.

A further €2.67m allocation of Sports Capital Grant funding for eircom League clubs was announced by the Department of Arts Sport and Tourism for this year bringing the total of government funding since 2002 to €10.3m. Major infrastructure works carried out during the year included the completion of the new Athlone Town Stadium, a new covered stand at Bray Wanderers, new dressing rooms opened and a new stand under construction at Cobh Ramblers, a new stand and dressing room complex at Turners Cross and further improvements at Dundalk. Work is about to commence at St. Patrick’s Athletic, UCD, Galway United and Waterford United while Finn Harps have received planning permission for a new stadium due for opening in 2009.

Setanta Sports Cup
With the expansion of the competition, the eircom League was represented in the 2006 Setanta Sports Cup by Premier Division champions Cork City, eircom League Cup winners Derry City, FAI Cup Winners Drogheda United and Shelbourne, who qualified by way of their third-place finish in the Premier Division as second-placed Derry City had already secured a place with their League Cup win. The same three Irish Premier League teams that contested the inaugural tournament were back again while the newcomers were Dungannon Swifts.

While it was the teams from the North that slightly dominated the first year, it was the eircom League sides that swept through the group stages. Cork City and Drogheda United finished first and second in Group One respectively, eliminating Dungannon Swifts and Portadown in the process. Cork went on to beat Group Two runners-up Shelbourne in the semi-final while Drogheda claimed the scalp of Linfield at Windsor Park to set up the decider with the Leesiders at Tolka Park which they won 1-0 after extra time. Derry City and Glentoran failed to get out of Group One.

Under-21 League
The Under-21 League kicked off with a pre-season Shield tournament which was won by Cork City. When the season proper came to a close, Cork City had added the Enda McGuill Under-21 Cup with a 1-0 victory over Kildare County at Turner’s Cross. And just this week, the Leesiders were denied a unique treble when they were beaten 2-1 by Salthill Devon in the Under-21 League Final. Once again, a team drawn from the Under-21 League represented the Republic of Ireland at the Four Nations Semi-Professional Tournament which was held in Brighton.

2006 Season Honours
Shelbourne reclaimed the Premier Division title, edging out runners-up Derry City on goal difference making it three championships in four years. They will now represent the eircom League in the UEFA Champions League where they will be seeded in the draw for the first qualifying round by virtue of their past record in European competition and the eircom League’s coefficient. Derry City will compete in the UEFA Cup as FAI Cup winners and will be joined by Drogheda United, who finished third in the Premier Division behind the Candystripes but who benefit from Derry’s FAI Cup win. Also benefiting are Cork City whose fourth-place finish was enough to secure them European football for the fourth successive season as they compete in next season’s InterToto Cup.

Shamrock Rovers took the First Division crown, making history by conceding just 13 league goals all season. Dundalk finished runners-up and beat Premier Division bottom club Waterford United in the Playoff. Derry City won the eircom League Cup for the second successive season, beating Shelbourne on penalties on a memorable night in front of over 4,000 fans at the Brandywell.


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BohsFans
10/12/2006, 5:21 PM
continued.....





Fair Play
Premier Division champions Shelbourne also topped the Fair Play table, sharing top spot with UCD on 989 points. Each club received €3,250 – half of the combined prizefund of €4,500 for first place and €2,000 for second. And, as Shelbourne have already qualified for the Champions League first qualifying roundas outlined above, UCD – who also finished in first place last season – could be in line for a place in next season’s UEFA Cup by way of UEFA’s Fair Play draw which gives three clubs entry to the competition each year. UEFA will conduct the draw next year and UCD will be entered if the Republic of Ireland achieve a Fair Play rating of 8.0 or higher.

In the First Division, Shamrock Rovers also added the Fair Play crown to their First Division trophy, finishing 13 points ahead of Cobh Ramblers on 1,163 points and claiming the €4,500 prizemoney. Cobh Ramblers received €2,000.

European Competitions
In the first round of the InterToto Cup, Shelbourne defeated FK Vetra Vilnius of Lithuania 5-0 on aggregate (1-0A, 4-0H) before succumbing to Danish side Odense BK 3-1 on aggregate (0-3A, 1-0H) in the second round. In the UEFA Champions League, Cork City eliminated Cypriot champions Apollon Limassol 2-1 on aggregate (1-0H, 1-1A) before being knocked out by Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade (Crvena Zvezda) 4-0 on aggregate (0-1H, 0-3A).

In the UEFA Cup, Drogheda United beat HJK Helsinki 4-2 on aggregate (1-1A, 3-1H) in the first qualifying round before narrowly losing out to Norwegian side IK Start 11-10 on penalties on a tension-filled night at Dalymount Park having drawn 1-1 on aggregate after extra-time (0-1A, 1-0H).

Derry City beat IFK Gothenburg 2-0 on aggregate (1-0A, 1-0H) in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup, then knocked out Scottish First Division side Gretna 7-3 on aggregate (5-1A, 2-2H) along the way making history by scoring the highest number of away goals in a European tie by any eircom League club. In the First Round proper, Derry drew 0-0 at home with Paris Saint-Germain before bravely bowing out 2-0 in Paris.

This season marked the first time all four clubs in European competition successfully negotiated the first round of their respective competitions. As a result of the performances this season and in previous years, Shelbourne will be seeded in the first qualifying round draw for the UEFA Champions League and it is also highly likely that both Derry City and Drogheda United will be seeded in the draw for the first qualifying round of the 2007/08 UEFA Cup.

Therefore it is with much optimism that we look forward to a new season and a new League in 2007. I would like to take this opportunity to place on record how much I have enjoyed my tenure as Acting Director of the eircom League and I would like to wish my successor every good wish and success for the future.






John Byrne
Acting Director, eircom League
December 2006

BohsFans
10/12/2006, 5:22 PM
Work is about to commence at St. Patrick’s Athletic

What's happening out in Inchicore?

CollegeTillIDie
10/12/2006, 8:28 PM
Allegedly something being done behind the Goal at the Chip Van end :D

pete
10/12/2006, 9:26 PM
Allegedly something being done behind the Goal at the Chip Van end :D

Maybe they re-arranging the mud & gravel?

Interesting to see that the eL thought the media & marketing "campaign" was a great success. :eek:

pineapple stu
10/12/2006, 9:28 PM
What campaign was that then?

Poor Student
10/12/2006, 9:31 PM
The League continued to receive widespread coverage in the print and broadcast media which is both welcomed and acknowledged however there were, unfortunately, a number of occurrences where reportage of issues and matters detrimental to the League appeared without any effort to seek verification or comment from the League.

At least they acknowledge this but what are they going to do about it? Resources permitting there should really be someone employed to act as a propaganda minister for the league and hounding and pressuring parts of the media who do this. Seeming as the eL and the FAI will be merged they could employ the same type of pressure tactics of witholding free tickets, benefits etc. to journalists who trash talk the league like the GAA seem to manage. Never going to happen but it would be nice.

BohsFans
10/12/2006, 11:43 PM
What campaign was that then?

The LIVE SOCCER ones on the radio at the start of the season, or was that the season b4?

:confused:

You never heard them?

Jerry The Saint
11/12/2006, 6:53 AM
Resources permitting there should really be someone employed to act as a propaganda minister for the league and hounding and pressuring parts of the media who do this.

They do, it's Gerry McDermott but he's too scared to come out of his house in case the schooligan's bash his head in.

pineapple stu
11/12/2006, 1:44 PM
The LIVE SOCCER ones on the radio at the start of the season, or was that the season b4?

:confused:

You never heard them?
Vaguely remember of them. Never listen to the radio though; too much tedious rubbish on.