Republic of Ireland
After surrendering their championship title to Cork City last season, Dundalk bounced back to win their fourth league crown in five years, setting new records for the Premier Division with 85 goals and 87 points for the season. Dundalk made it a second league and cup double in four years, beating Cork City 2-1 in the Final. Cork were bidding to win the trophy for the third year in a row, but Patrick McEleney scored the Lilywhites’ winner in the second half. Dundalk will start in the Champions League first qualifying round. Cork City and Shamrock Rovers go into the Europa League first qualifying round with Waterford, who are in Europe for the first time since 1986.
UCD won the First Division and are joined in the step up to the Premier Division by Finn Harps, who beat second from bottom Limerick in a play-off. Bray Wanderers were automatically relegated from the top flight. Patrick Hoban of Dundalk became the first player to score 29 goals since the League of Ireland Premier Division began in 1985. Top scorer when Dundalk won the league in 2014, the 27-year-old rejoined the club in November 2017. With four league titles and two FAI Cups since taking over at Dundalk in 2012, Stephen Kenny stepped down at the end of the season to take charge of the national under-21 side. He will take over the senior team after Euro 2020. Starting the season on loan at Bohemians from Leicester City, 21-year-old midfielder Dylan Watts joined arch-rivals Shamrock Rovers in July after being released by the English club. An exciting player, he loves to run at defences.
Pressure... Dundalk attack Cork in the Cup