Which are the best soccer teams in Ireland of all time?

Which are the best soccer teams in Ireland of all time?

Lenah Ann
updated at October 14, 2023 at 1:03 PM

Irish soccer is a fascinating sport that features teams that have made a lasting impact on the history and culture of the country. From Dublin's storied soccer teams in Ireland to the underdogs who defied the odds, these extraordinary clubs have sparked the passion of supporters and inspired generations with their outstanding performances.

Most popular soccer teams in Ireland
Ireland players huddle after the team's 0-1 defeat in the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group B match at Stadium Australia on 20 July 2023 in Sydney, Australia. Photo: Robert Cianflone
Source: Getty Images

The football identity of the country has been significantly shaped by these legendary clubs, who have exemplified the grace and spirit of the game. Although the country has its football known as Gaelic, soccer is also loved in the country, and over the years, it has acquired a massive fan base.

Top 10 best soccer teams in Ireland

Irish football is popular for its fierce competition, unique atmosphere, passionate fans, and high level of athletes. According to various online sources, here are the top 10 professional soccer teams in Ireland.

10. Cork City F.C.

Professional soccer teams in Ireland
Garry Buckley of Cork City celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match against Limerick FC at the Market's Field in Limerick. Photo: Diarmuid Greene
Source: Getty Images
  • Nickname: Rebel Army
  • Year founded: 1984
  • Arena: Turners Cross
  • Manager: Liam Buckley

The Rebel Army, one of the most popular soccer teams in Ireland, has been competing at the highest level of Irish football and has won numerous domestic awards. It was one of the first football clubs in the country to field a team of professional players.

The renowned club grew to be one of the nation's most popular and well-supported organisations due to the development of professionalism, the expansion of the Turners Cross Stadium, and the switch to summer football.

9. Derry City F.C.

Best soccer teams in Ireland
Derry City manager, Ruaidhrí Higgins, speaking to his players during the SSE Airtricity Men's Premier Division match against Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy
Source: Getty Images
  • Nickname: Red and White Army
  • Year founded: 1928
  • Arena: Brandywell Stadium Derry
  • Manager: Ruaidhrí Higgins

Derry City Football Club is among the top soccer teams in Ireland. It is the only team from the North side of the country that competes in the nation's top league. Since its inception, the club has seen several achievements, such as winning the 1964/65 season championship.

After winning its first Division Championship, the renowned club became part of the country's top league. They stayed there until being administratively demoted in 2009. The club won the domestic triple in 1988/89, making them the first and only club to do so.

8. St Patrick's Athletic F.C.

  • Nickname: Saints
  • Year founded: 1929
  • Arena: Richmond Park
  • Manager: Jon Daly

St Patrick's Athletic F.C. is a reputable Dublin-based team that has competed in Europe and has won several domestic championships. It is a professional Irish association football team that also competes in the Irish Premier Division. The renowned club has amassed a vast collection of medals in Irish Club Football, including eight league titles.

7. Glenavon F.C.

Top soccer teams in Ireland
Caolan Marron of FC Glenavon (L) and Vegard Forren of Molde FK (C) compete for the ball during the UEFA Europa League Qualifiers on 19 July 2018 in Molde, Norway. Photo: Ragnar Singsaas
Source: Getty Images
  • Nickname: Lurgan Blues
  • Year founded: November 1889
  • Arena: Mourneview Park
  • Manager: Gary Hamilton

1956–1957, Glenavon became the first provincial club to win the league and cup. Thanks to the latter victory, they became one of the biggest soccer teams in Ireland to compete in the European Cup. The club still holds the success of the 1950s as the gold standard; the last time the team came close to winning the league was in the 1993/94 campaign when Glenavon would have won the title but for two late goals in the decisive game.

6. Drogheda United F.C.

  • Nickname: The Drogs
  • Year founded: 1919
  • Arena: Weavers Park
  • Manager: Kevin Doherty

Based in Drogheda, County Louth, Drogheda United Football Club competes in the League of Ireland Premier Division as a semi-professional association football team. A different club, Drogheda F.C., was elected to the country's top-tier competition.

They came tenth in their debut campaign and placed in the bottom three in the following three movements. The 1967/68 campaign saw them finish in a respectable fifth place, and the 1968/69 campaign saw them finish in sixth.

5. Bohemian F.C.

  • Nickname: Bohs
  • Year founded: 1890
  • Arena: Dalymount Park
  • Manager: Declan Devine

Bohemian F.C. is one of the top soccer teams in Ireland, with a storied past and devoted supporters who have significantly contributed to the growth of national football. The League of Ireland's Bohemians are among the oldest clubs in existence.

Bohs, who have won the League of Ireland title 11 times, the F.A.I. Cup 7 times, the League of Ireland Shield 6 times, and the League of Ireland Cup 3 times are the fourth most successful clubs in League of Ireland football history.

4. Shelbourne F.C.

Does Ireland have a soccer team?
Shelbourne players celebrate after the FAI Cup Semi-Final match against Waterford FC on 16 october 2022 at Waterford RSC in Waterford. Photo: Seb Daly
Source: Getty Images
  • Nickname: Shels
  • Year founded: 1895
  • Arena: Tolka Park
  • Manager: Damien Duff

Shelbourne Football Club is one of the famous soccer teams in Dublin. The club competed in the League of Ireland Premier Division based in Drumcondra, Dublin, before becoming a founding member of the League of Ireland in 1921. The renowned club has competed in the country's competitions since 1904. Shelbourne is one of three clubs to have won the I.F.A. Cup and the F.A.I. Cup. They have won the league 13 times.

3. Dundalk F.C.

Biggest soccer teams in Ireland
Patrick Hoban of Dundalk during the SSE Airtricity Men's Premier Division match against Bohemians at Dalymount Park in Dublin. Photo: Tyler Miller
Source: Getty Images
  • Nickname: The Lilywhites
  • Year founded: 1903
  • Arena: Oriel Park
  • Manager: Stephen O'Donnell

Dundalk Football Club is a professional association football club that plays in the Premier Division, the highest level of football in the country. It joined the Leinster Senior in 1922/23, established in 1903 as the Great Northern Railway works team.

For the 1926–27 season, they were elected to the League of Ireland after competing at that level for four seasons. They won the league championship for the first time as a club from outside Dublin six seasons later. They are the only club to have won a league title or an F.A.I. Cup in every decade since the 1930s, and as of 2022, they have won 49 trophies at the national and all-Ireland levels, including four League and Cup.

2. Linfield F.C.

  • Nickname: The Blues
  • Year founded: March 1886
  • Arena: Windsor Park
  • Manager: David Healy

Linfield F.C. is a dominant force in Northern Irish football with a history of domestic and regional success and a long-standing rivalry with Glentoran. They compete in the Irish League's top division, the NIFL Premiership. Workers at the Ulster Spinning Company's Linfield Mill established Linfield, now the fourth-oldest club on the island of Ireland, as Linfield Athletic Club in March 1886.

Belfast Celtic and Linfield historically had a bitter rivalry that lasted until Celtic left the league due to political reasons. The club has won 111 League titles, Irish Cups, League Cups, and numerous other domestic cup competitions, bringing their total trophy count to over 200.

1. Shamrock Rovers F.C.

  • Nickname: Hoops
  • Year founded: 1899
  • Arena: Tallaght Stadium
  • Manager: Stephen Bradley

Shamrock Rovers, one of Ireland's oldest football clubs, has a long history of accomplishments and has represented Ireland in international competitions. Shamrock Rovers Football Club is a professional Irish football club based in Tallaght, South Dublin. The club is the most prosperous in the Republic of Ireland, and its senior team competes in the League of Ireland Premier Division. It has a record 20 League of Ireland championships and 25 F.A.I. Cup victories.

Most popular soccer teams in Ireland
Shamrock Rovers players celebrate after scoring the first goal against Limerick FC during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match against Limerick FC at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo: Matt Browne
Source: Getty Images

More players (64) than any other club have come from Shamrock Rovers to the Republic of Ireland national football team. They hold the record for the most titles won in All-Ireland competitions, including the Intercity Cup, having won seven cups overall.

Does Ireland have a soccer team?

Ireland has several soccer teams that compete in its top-tier leagues, such as Shamrock Rovers, Linfield, and Dundalk. Historically, the country has come a long way and is flourishing due to its famous soccer teams.

Liverpool is the most popular EPL club in Ireland, followed by Manchester United and Arsenal.

As a result of their successes on the field and the steadfast support from their supporters, the best soccer teams in Ireland have cemented their places in history. These legendary teams will always be revered as Irish soccer develops, serving as a testament to the game's enduring power and profound effect on the Irish people.

Best soccer teams in Ireland
Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
Source: UGC

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Lenah Ann
Lenah Ann is a Kenyan-based content creator with 2 years of experience. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Media and Communication from Dedan Kimathi, Kenya in 2021.