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Soccer Betting - Irish League

History - Facts - Teams - Winners

The Irish Premier League - previously the Irish Football League - or Irish League, is the national football league in Northern Ireland. The Irish League is the second oldest national league in the world, being created a week earlier than the Scottish Football League, just the England Football League is older.

The Irish League was originally formed as the football league for all of Ireland in 1890, but became the league for Northern Ireland in 1921 after partition, with a separate league and association (the Football Association of the Irish Free State) - being formed for the Irish Free State (now the Republic of Ireland) in the south and west.

In 2003, the Irish Football Association took charge of Northern Ireland's national league with the formation of the Irish Premier League (IPL). In 2004, the IFA took over control of the remaining IFL divisions and renamed them as the IFA Intermediate League First Division and Second Division, successfully winding up the Irish Football League Ltd as a separate organization after 114 years.

The IPL is made up of sixteen teams; the Irish First Division and the Irish Second Division contain twelve teams each. At the end of the season, the bottom team in the IPL is relegated to the Irish First Division and replaced by the top team in the Irish First Division. The team that finishes second-from-bottom in the IPL plays a play-off match against the second-placed Irish First Division team to determine which team will play in the IPL in the following season. Two teams are relegated from the First Division and replaced by two promoted teams from the Second Division.

Although, football was being played in Ireland since the 1860s, it was mainly based in Ulster and it was not until the 1880s that the game spread to other areas of the country. The first club outside Ulster was Dublin Association Football Club which was formed in 1883.

In April 1951, the Italian Federation sent their 'B' team to Dublin for Ireland's first ever home fixture. 20,000 people were at Lansdowne Road to see Bob Fullam put Ireland in front; the Italian team was so scared of Fullam's frightening shot, but at the end Italy still ran out 2-1 winners.

The following year, Ireland won their first ever match - against Belgium in Liege. Trailing 2-0 at half time, Billy Lacey brought Ireland back into the match before two goals from Jimmy White and a penalty from Jack Sullivan earned the team an historic victory.