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Thread: Where are New Clubs likely to come from ?

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    Seasoned Pro legendz's Avatar
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    Where are New Clubs likely to come from ?

    The A Championship is near the end of it's third season. So far it has attracted Sporting Fingal, who due to Cobh's woes got to by-pass the league straight to Division One, Salthill Devon, Mervue United, Castlebar Celtic, FC Carlow, Tullamore Town and Tralee Dynamos.
    Moving forward as the A Championship might look to expand and attract new clubs/regions, where are these clubs likely to come from? What regions should the FAI be looking at to next make the step up to the league? Even leaving the FAI aside, what regions or clubs are most likely to look at joining the A Championship.
    In Leinster, I would see Kildare, Kilkenny and Meath as regions that should be capable of having a club in that level. Outside of Leinster, it's probably only Munster capable of providing a new side. If Tralee do well, possibly Tipperary or Clare might look at doing the same.

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    Seasoned Pro Bluebeard's Avatar
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    Aside from the ones you mentioned, I think that there is probably room for a Limerick team too - Limerick Junior football is jumping with good well organised clubs. Whether there would be interest in moving up a grade is a different matter, especially seeing the grief that the extant side face on a weekly basis. The big mystery to me is that there is still no team from Mullingar in it, especially given that two different ones both applied to join the league proper a number of years ago.

    Tipp could feasibly host two. Thurles Town used to play in the league in the 70s and 80s for a short spell, while Clonmel has always been a good team. Indeed, in the 1920s when they were initially talking of a second division, Clonmel, Cork and Waterford were seen as places with potential for expansion. And if Galway can have three clubs in the National Leagues, there should be room for another side or two the A league for Cork. Obviously Dublin may provide easily another side or two.

    The big question is whether it is worth the while of the big fish in small pools doing the whole change of season and then trying to swim in the strong currents. I can see a lot of very good Intermediate and Junior clubs not even considering it.
    That question was less stupid, though you asked it in a profoundly stupid way.

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    Seasoned Pro legendz's Avatar
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    I'm surprised as well that Mullingar have not looked to join. I'm not too sure on Limerick fielding a second side and Tipperary all of a sudden jumping in with 2. I'd love to see it happen but would see it as wishful thinking.
    As a genuine realistic target in the next 2-3 years, I'd like to see Kildare and Kilkenny rejoin the league and possibly Mullingar.
    Last edited by legendz; 05/10/2010 at 4:10 PM.

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    From Tipp, anyone from Clonmel Town, St. Michael's or Carrick would have the history and facilities to join straight away, Pike/Fairview would also be competitive, but I'd agree with Legendz that there mightn't be the support for two senior sides in Limerick. No reason that Kildare couldn't come back under their original name of Newbridge Town, but Kilkenny look to be out of the running until a new club forms. Apart from these, the only potential candidates look to be from areas with strong clubs already, like Rockmount, Fanad, Cherry Orchard.

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    Seasoned Pro peadar1987's Avatar
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    A quick scout through Wikipedia throws up this:

    Region Population
    Kildare 99 000
    Meath (Navan) 92 000
    Kilkenny 54 000
    Mullingar 43 000
    Mallow/Mitchelstown 37 000
    Clare (Ennis) 40 000
    Clonmel 27 000
    North Tipp 50 000
    Portlaoise 55 000

    These places would probably have large enough populations to pull alright crowds. If you look at Scotland, cities like Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee attract about 5-10% of the nearby population to matches, so I really don't think it's massively unrealistic to expect Irish clubs to pull maybe 3-4% of the local population on a weekly basis. You'd be looking at attendances of 8-9000 for big clubs like Cork, Shams, Bohs, Pats and Derry, maybe 4-5000 for Limerick, Galway and Waterford, down to maybe 1000 for the smaller clubs like Clonmel and Monaghan.

    *"Big" and "small" here are referring purely to the amount of people who live within 20-30km of the club's ground.

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    First Team gufc2000's Avatar
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    Portlaoise almost joined last year, and had an U-21 team a few years ago in the league. Its a wonder they haven't yet joined

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    Quote Originally Posted by peadar1987 View Post
    A quick scout through Wikipedia throws up this:

    Region Population
    Meath (Navan) 92 000
    I just can't see a Navan team being setup for many reasons, the town is almost full of Man Utd and Liverpool fans and you what they think of the league, let alone the 3rd division. Also, where can they play games ?, no real grounds around apart from Claremount and MDL Grounds, not sure if they are up to FAI standards.

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    Seasoned Pro legendz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBoss View Post
    I just can't see a Navan team being setup for many reasons, the town is almost full of Man Utd and Liverpool fans and you what they think of the league, let alone the 3rd division. Also, where can they play games ?, no real grounds around apart from Claremount and MDL Grounds, not sure if they are up to FAI standards.
    Good insight here on Meath. Population figures don't tell much and are not an indication as to where clubs will come from. I've glanced at them as well at times but at the end of the day they tell nothing. Monaghan, Carlow and Longford are 29th, 30th and 31st on a list of county populations and yet are involved in the 3 tier national league. It really comes down to the areas. Some will welcome association football and other areas will not.
    On teams possibly joining, from what has been said here so far I would see Clonmel, Kildare, Mullingar and Portlaoise as areas that might join in the next few years. 5/18 clubs being senior is low enough. The A Championship will get better when around 50% are senior, there'll be more clashes between sides actually fighting for promotion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBoss View Post
    I just can't see a Navan team being setup for many reasons, the town is almost full of Man Utd and Liverpool fans and you what they think of the league, let alone the 3rd division. Also, where can they play games ?, no real grounds around apart from Claremount and MDL Grounds, not sure if they are up to FAI standards.
    Not now, anyway. Maybe if the league developed a bit more. Mind, most of them probably still will think the group stages of the Europa League are a bit ****e!

    At the same time, Salthill and Mervue seem to be surviving with double-figure attendances, and some of the other clubs aren't too far ahead. A modest team could survive at a lower level for a while, developing slowly, and if they got promoted before they could meet the ground requirements, maybe play at United Park for a season or two.

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    A modest team should be able to get by in the A Championship. I think one of the reason for it's creation is for clubs to join from new regions like Kerry, Mayo and possibly the likes of Meath in time. A LoI club can be a focal point for football in an area. A clubs position is a reflection of football in the area. If more regions were on the 3 tiered ladder, the league will have a better spread across the country. There'd be more of a status for the league as well and pride in being better than other regions.
    When things improve for Tralee in the next few years, I hope to be seeing battles with Limerick, Cork and Waterford. This is when the real stuff will start and hopefully it'll spark greater interest.

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    Seasoned Pro peadar1987's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by legendz View Post
    A modest team should be able to get by in the A Championship. I think one of the reason for it's creation is for clubs to join from new regions like Kerry, Mayo and possibly the likes of Meath in time. A LoI club can be a focal point for football in an area. A clubs position is a reflection of football in the area. If more regions were on the 3 tiered ladder, the league will have a better spread across the country. There'd be more of a status for the league as well and pride in being better than other regions.
    When things improve for Tralee in the next few years, I hope to be seeing battles with Limerick, Cork and Waterford. This is when the real stuff will start and hopefully it'll spark greater interest.
    Do you think Tralee would get on better if they dropped the name of the town from the club? Maybe called themselves "Kerry Dynamos" or something? I know a few people from Killarney who say they have nobody to support in the LOI (and therefore automatically support Man U), and when I suggest Dynamos, they turn their noses up at following a club with "Tralee" in the name.

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    If they want the support of the county I think they might have to. Tralee have to keep their own values too though. It'd be like asking Bray to become Wicklow Wanderers. I was a bit surprised we didn't go down the route of FC Carlow who were created. It's a hard one to call. If Killarney decided to join the league, both clubs would probably do well with the rivalry.
    Kildare County faced this situation when they joined, it was Newbridge Town who were approached to joined the league but they felt the Kildare name would give more support. In a few years if Tralee get to Division One and they think they need to do something to get more support, they might have to look at some changes. It leaves the gap open at the moment anyways for some to set-up a club for the county.
    This county view at times though is balmed on a GAA style mentality. I see it as an Irish thing though, having pride in the county and it's something soccer hasn't really tapped into.

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    Like the Fonz. Only a dog. Mr A's Avatar
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    The point on the names of clubs is an interesting one. I think a big part of Harps relative success despite being based in a small town was the neutrality of the name. On the other hand, it has been repeatedly suggested that we change to "Donegal Harps" to try to lengthen our reach in the county and drop any perception that the club is exclusively of the Finn Valley area. (One step taken was to incorporate "County Donegal" into our crest, which I think was a good compromise) I think this name change might work to some extent, but wouldn't compensate for the alienation of current fans, especially those in West Tyrone. Also, it didn't seem to do Kildare County much good. So I think you need to very carefully balance the factors for any club- i.e. how locally concentrated is the catchment area and how well established is the current form of the club.
    Last edited by Mr A; 08/10/2010 at 9:03 AM.

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    That is it really in a nutshell, you have to balance the factors for any club. It'd work for some but not for all. Kildare County is a good case and point. As I've said before, they should probably have joined as Newbridge Town first as was originally planned. Having built some sort of solid base then might been the time for a name change. There's a right and wrong time to do things. Finn Harps are an established club. A new club to the league can could use a name change for a change of direction for a club and an opportunity to create new interest in a region. More would have to be involved than just a name change though. Youth links etc would have to be expanded to reflect the club being a club for the region.

    On my original question on where are new clubs likely to come from? The FAI should work on trying to get two new clubs to join every season and work with the regions to try and make it a possibility.
    Last edited by legendz; 08/10/2010 at 9:54 PM.

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    On the subject of Kildare, their attendances averaged around 250, not significantly worse than Monaghan, Longford, or Wexford, so there's no reason they couldn't still be playing and working on expanding their fan base if they hadn't run themselves into the ground.

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    Has there been any word on potential new clubs? There was mention Fanad Utd of Donegal will be joining the A Championship.
    Instead of looking to end this Championship, the FAI should be looking to increase the number of games. The 16 games played last season is only half a seasons worth and of little use in bringing players on and developing new clubs. Personally I think after clubs have played each other once in the first series, the second series should be playing clubs in the other section once before in the third series playing all clubs in the same section again. For Tralee last year for example, it'd have been 8 games in series 1, 9 then in series 2 when they'd have played the northern clubs and then 8 games against clubs in the southern section again. It'd bring the number of games up to 25 which is a decent number of games. There is a number of reasons why the Championship has a low profile, having a low number of games is one, it needs to be held for a longer period across the year, more or less in line with the PD and FD.

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    Portlaoise were supposed to be joining for the 2009 Championship, but that never materialised.

    Never understand why Mullingar never got a team into this after expressing an interest to replace Dublin City a few years back.#

    Only other clubs I could think of would be to re-instate Kilkenny and a team from Kildare, ad try and get a team from Clonmel/Thurles, and possibly Navan

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    Tipp could feasibly host two. Thurles Town used to play in the league in the 70s and 80s for a short spell, while Clonmel has always been a good team. Indeed, in the 1920s when they were initially talking of a second division, Clonmel, Cork and Waterford were seen as places with potential for expansion. And if Galway can have three clubs in the National Leagues, there should be room for another side or two the A league for Cork. Obviously Dublin may provide easily another side or two.


    Very intrigued by above paragraph.
    Where can one read more on this, in respect of the 1920's. Do you care to reveal source.

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    Seasoned Pro legendz's Avatar
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    Tipp could feasibly host two. They'd want to get one in first before we start talking about a Tipperary derby! I heard that story on Portlaoise, it'd be one of a few areas in Leinster I'm surprised there hasn't been more interest in joining the league. Tullamore and Carlow are giving it ago. Mullingar, Kilkenny, Kildare and Navan are all urban areas where I'd think a league club should be in line with developing the game in these areas.
    Tralee Dynamos are not going to get the back of everyone in Kerry, especially around the Killarney area. I can see a Killarney club possibly joining in a few years. 16 games is only about 4-5 months of league games, there will have to be about a 50% increase in the number of games to make it worth any clubs while joining.

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    The source for the 1920s chat was the Irish TImes Archive - found it while rooting out about the pre-history of the Blues during the year.
    That question was less stupid, though you asked it in a profoundly stupid way.

    Help me, Arthur Murphy, you're my only hope!

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