League of Ireland: Bumper season of Munster derbies lies ahead

Cork City, Cobh Ramblers, Waterford and Treaty United are all in the second tier of the league in 2022
League of Ireland: Bumper season of Munster derbies lies ahead

Cian Bargary, Cork City FC, in action against James McCarthy, Cobh Ramblers. Picture: Larry Cummins.

NEXT year will be a record one for derbies in the League of Ireland, with four clubs from Munster in the First Division.

The teams — Cork City, Cobh Ramblers, Treaty United, and Waterford — will be battling it out for promotion to the promised land of the Premier Division.

The provincial storylines will be the perfect way to mark the centenary celebrations of the reformed Munster Football Association, recreated after the War of Independence in 1922.

The first team elected to the League of Ireland from the province was Fordsons and they were followed by Waterford in 1930. Three years later, the first Cork derby was played after Cork Bohemians joined the league. Unfortunately, this only lasted two seasons as Bohemians resigned from the league over financial issues in 1934.

Cork Athletic and Evergreen United (who later changed their name to Cork Celtic) was the first long-lasting derby on Leeside. The two teams played in the league from 1951-1957 and they even met in the final of the 1953 FAI Cup.

The rivalry ended in 1957 when Athletic folded due to financial issues. Cork Hibernians were elected in their place, a decision which would change the course of football history on Leeside.

EPIC BATTLES

Cork Celtic and Hibernian played each other no fewer than 38 times in league competition between 1958 and 1976. Celtic had the better record of 16 wins to Hibernians’ 13, with the teams drawing nine times. According to The Echo, Hibs who had the best unbeaten sequence of 11, stretching from February 2, 1969, to February 24, 1974.

The 1971-72 League of Ireland season saw an epic battle between Cork Hibernians and Waterford for the title. This went down to Hibs’ last league fixture, which the Blues won. The Cork club got their revenge in that season’s cup final, with Hibs beating Waterford at Dalymount Park.

When Cork City joined the League of Ireland in 1984, they played Waterford and Limerick that season. In 1988 Cobh Ramblers achieved promotion to the Premier Division, which resurrected the Cork Derby.

The first one was in October 1988 and City hammered their local rivals 3-0 at Turner’s Cross that day. Three months later, the Rebel Army won 1-0 at St. Colman’s Park, and in March 1989 they drew 1-1 the Cross.

The 1990s and 2000s saw Munster Derbies become few and far between in the League of Ireland. Cobh Ramblers’ return to the League of Ireland in 2012 renewed some rivalries.

Six years later, Limerick FC and Waterford were in Premier Division alongside Cork City. This greatly reignited cross-border feuds. Last season saw Cobh and City play League of Ireland newcomers Treaty United, who replaced Limerick FC.

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