Irish Cup

The Irish Cup was established in 1881, ten years after the FA Cup and nine years before the Irish League. The name can be misleading, since it only incorporate clubs from Northern reland.


While Ireland disregarded association football as a part of an English tradition they were determined to stay away from and shield their own liberation, the Northern Ireland would go in another direction.

Although football wasn’t incorporated without friction in Ireland, it happened before the partition of Ireland in 1921, the first official competition was established only a decade after the Football Association Cup in England. The Irish Football Association had been formed in 1880, although it mostly was a northern Irish affair and centered around Belfast while other parts of Ireland were embracing Gaelic Football.

The first edition of the competition included seven clubs, that would increase to thirteen the next season. it can be compared to the 2019-2020 season that include 125 clubs.

During the years, the competition has change its official name several times due to sponsorship reasons.



Teams with most titles

A list of clubs that have won the Irish Cup most times, concerning the period 1881-2023.

Clubs and Irish Cup titles
Club Titles 1st title
Linfield 43 1890-91
Glentoran 23 1913-14
Distillery 12 1883-84
Cliftonville 8 1882-83
Belfast Celtic 8 1917-18
Glenavon 7 1956-57
Coleraine 6 1964-65
Crusaders 6 1966-67
Ballymena United 5 1939-40
Ards 4 1926-27
Portadown 3 1990-91
Derry City 3 1948-49
Shelbourne 3 1905-06

In total, 24 clubs have won the competition through its history. These are the remaining winners (one title each) of the Cup: Bohemians, Ballymena, Bangor, Carrick Rangers, Ulster, Willowfield, Dundela, Gordon Highlanders, Moyola Park, Queen's Island (founded 1881) and Queen's Island (founded 1920).