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2009–10 IFA Premiership

IFA Premiership
Season 2009–10
Champions Linfield
49th Irish title
Relegated Institute
UEFA Champions League Linfield
UEFA Europa League Cliftonville
Matches played 228
Goals scored 676 (2.96 per match)
Top goalscorer Rory Patterson (30)
Biggest home win Portadown 6–1 Lisburn Distillery
Biggest away win Dungannon Swifts 2–8 Portadown
Newry City 0–6 Linfield
Glentoran 0–6 Coleraine
Highest scoring Dungannon Swifts 2–8 Portadown

The 2009–10 IFA Premiership (known as the Carling Premiership for sponsorship reasons) was the second season of the league in this format since its establishment after a major overhaul of the league system in Northern Ireland, and the 109th season of Irish league football overall. It began on 8 August 2009 and ended on 1 May 2010. Glentoran were the defending champions. On 27 April 2010, Linfield clinched the title after a 1–0 victory against Cliftonville at Windsor Park.[1] On 14 May 2010, Institute were relegated to the 2010–11 IFA Championship, after losing the two-legged relegation play-off to Donegal Celtic, who took their place in the 2010–11 IFA Premiership.[2]


  • Team changes from 2008–09 1
  • Stadia and locations 2
  • League table 3
  • Results 4
    • Matches 1–22 4.1
    • Matches 23–33 4.2
    • Matches 34–38 4.3
      • Top six 4.3.1
      • Bottom six 4.3.2
  • Top scorers 5
  • Promotion/relegation play-off 6
  • IFA Premiership clubs in Europe 2009–10 7
    • UEFA coefficient and ranking 7.1
    • UEFA Champions League 7.2
    • UEFA Europa League 7.3
  • References 8

Team changes from 2008–09

On 2 February 2009, Bangor's board announced that they would not be able to renew their domestic licence due to financial difficulties, and thereby would not compete in this season's premiership.[3] They finished the 2008–09 season in 11th place. As a consequence, 12th-placed Dungannon Swifts, who were originally going to be directly relegated to the IFA Championship, earned the relegation play-off berth from Bangor. After a two-legged series against 2008–09 Championship runners-up Donegal Celtic, which ended in an aggregated 2–2 tie, Dungannon eventually retained their Premiership status on away goals.

Promoted from the Championship were 2008–09 champions Portadown, which marked their return to the highest football league of Northern Ireland after a one-year hiatus.

Stadia and locations

Club Stadium Town/city Capacity
Ballymena United The Showgrounds Ballymena 8,000 (4,000 seats)
Cliftonville Solitude Belfast 8,000 (2,099 seats)
Coleraine The Showgrounds Coleraine 6,500 (1,500 seats)
Crusaders Seaview Belfast 6,500 (500 seats)
Dungannon Swifts Stangmore Park Dungannon 3,000 (300 seats)
Glenavon Mourneview Park Lurgan 5,500 (4,000 seats)
Glentoran The Oval Belfast 15,250 (5,000 seats)
Institute YMCA Grounds Drumahoe 4,000 (600 seats)
Linfield Windsor Park Belfast 20,400 (14,400 seats)
Lisburn Distillery New Grosvenor Stadium Lisburn 8,000 (2,000 seats)
Newry City The Showgrounds Newry 6,500 (800 seats)
Portadown Shamrock Park Portadown 8,000 (3,500 seats)

League table

Qualification or relegation
1 Linfield (C) 38 22 8 8 78 37 +41 74 2010–11 UEFA Champions League Second qualifying round
2 Cliftonville 38 21 6 11 69 42 +27 69 2010–11 UEFA Europa League Second qualifying round
3 Glentoran 38 19 8 11 58 46 +12 65 2010–11 UEFA Europa League First qualifying round
4 Crusaders 38 17 9 12 57 52 +5 60
5 Dungannon Swifts 38 16 9 13 56 58 −2 57
6 Portadown 38 15 10 13 70 55 +15 55 2010–11 UEFA Europa League First qualifying round 1
7 Coleraine2 38 16 9 13 76 62 +14 57
8 Glenavon 38 12 7 19 47 67 −20 43
9 Newry City 38 10 12 16 38 63 −25 42
10 Ballymena United 38 11 7 20 46 56 −10 40
11 Lisburn Distillery 38 11 6 21 45 76 −31 39 Play-off passed down to 12th place
12 Institute (R) 38 6 13 19 36 62 −26 31 Promotion/relegation play-off

Rules for classification: 1st points; 2nd goal difference; 3rd number of goals scored; 4th head-to-head points; 5th head-to-head goal difference
1Portadown qualified for the first qualifying round of the 2010–11 UEFA Europa League as 2009–10 Irish Cup runners-up, since winners Linfield had already qualified for the Champions League. As a result, Cliftonville were promoted to the second qualifying round.
2After 33 games, clubs in the bottom half of the table at the split cannot climb into the top half, regardless of the number of points earned during matches 34–38.
(C)=Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.
Only applicable when the season is not finished:
(Q)=Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated; (RQ) = Qualified to the relegation tournament indicated; (DQ) = Disqualified from tournament.


Matches 34–38

During matches 34–38 each team played every other team in their half of the table once. As this was the fourth time that teams played each other this season, home sides in this round were chosen so that teams had played each other twice at home and twice away.

Top scorers

Rank Scorer Club Goals[4]
1 Rory Patterson Coleraine 30
2 Darren Boyce Coleraine 17
George McMullan Cliftonville 17
4 Liam Boyce Cliftonville 16
5 Kevin Braniff Portadown 14
Richard Lecky Portadown 14
David Rainey Crusaders 14
Glenn Ferguson Lisburn Distillery 14
9 Timmy Adamson Dungannon Swifts 13
10 Gary McCutcheon Portadown 12

Promotion/relegation play-off

The promotion/relegation play-off was slightly altered this season because Donegal Celtic, runners-up of the 2009–10 IFA Championship, were the only IFA Championship club to hold the Domestic Club Licence required to participate in the Premiership. Lisburn Distillery, who finished in 11th place, avoided having to play a relegation play-off, which was passed down instead to Institute, who finished in 12th place and would normally have been automatically relegated. The first leg ended 0-0, with Institute having a penalty saved in injury-time at the end of the game. The second leg stayed goalless until the 85th minute, when Stephen McAlorum scored for Donegal Celtic, to relegate Institute to the 2010–11 IFA Championship.

11 May 2010
19:45 BST
Donegal Celtic 0 – 0 Institute

14 May 2010
19:45 BST
Institute 0 – 1 Donegal Celtic
Report Goal 85' McAlorum

Donegal Celtic won 1–0 on aggregate and were promoted. Institute were relegated.

IFA Premiership clubs in Europe 2009–10

UEFA coefficient and ranking

For the 2009–10 UEFA competitions, the associations were allocated places according to their 2008 UEFA country coefficients, which took into account their performance in European competitions from 2003–04 to 2007–08. In the 2008 rankings used for this season's European competitions, Northern Ireland's coefficient points total was 2.332. After earning a score of 0.500 during the 2007–08 European campaign, the league was ranked by UEFA as the 46th best league in Europe out of 53 - not moving from the previous season. This season Northern Ireland earned only 0.125 points, which was added to the points total for the 2010 rankings used in 2011–12 UEFA competitions.

UEFA Champions League

Having won the league in 2008–09 Glentoran represented the league in the premier football competition. They started in the second qualifying round, and were handed a tough draw against Israeli side Maccabi Haifa. Their worst fears were confirmed as they were hammered 6–0 away and 4–0 at home, 10–0 on aggregate. This ended Glentoran's participation in European football for the season.

UEFA Europa League

Due to the abolition of the Intertoto Cup in 2008, the remaining teams qualified for the new Europa League instead. Linfield and Lisburn Distillery entered in the first qualifying round. The Blues were drawn against Danish club Randers. This was not a pleasant experience however, as after a 4–0 defeat in Denmark, Randers completed the disappointment with a 3–0 win at Mourneview Park, with Linfield forced to use Glenavon's ground as work was being done to the pitch at their Windsor Park home.

Lisburn Distillery were handed a tie with Georgia. Despite being confident of qualification, they were taken apart 5–1 at home. With only pride to play for in the second leg, Lisburn were dumped out of Europe after a 6–0 hammering, which meant they lost the tie 11–1 on aggregate.

The last remaining club from Northern Ireland, Crusaders entered in the second qualifying round. They were drawn with FK Rabotnički from Macedonia. With not even a draw for a Northern Irish side before they started, Crusaders were the only hope of restoring pride to the league after some damaging European experiences in the weeks before. In a superb home performance, they did just that with a welcome 1–1 draw. They were quite unlucky in the second leg, where they were defeated 4–2 and 5–3 on aggregate. This result ended the IFA Premiership's interest in European competition for the remainder of the season.


  1. ^ "Linfield 1–0 Cliftonville".  
  2. ^ "Institute 0-1 Donegal Celtic".  
  3. ^ Official statement from Bangor Football Club
  4. ^ "Carling Premiership – Leading Scorers". IFA Premiership. Archived from the original on 10 March 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
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