Quick comparison of League of Ireland versus Irish League clubs in the Setanta Cup

Lots of chatter last night and this morning after a ‘disastrous’ night for Irish League Clubs saw heavy defeats for Linfield and Glentoran away to Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers respectively. In the only completed tie in the quarter finals Cork City beat Crusaders home & away. With the other quarter final an all-League of Ireland affair it looks like for the first time all 4 semi finalists will be from the League of Ireland.

But what we’re seeing isn’t really that different from other years.  In fact only last year stands out as a ‘freak’ good year for the IL. Here’s a comparison

Setanta Comparison

Of 117 ties played between the leagues the League of Ireland has won 62 (53%) compared with the Irish league 28 (24%) with a further 27 draws (23%).

Bar the first season, it’s pretty clear that LOI clubs have been dominant.  Group stages were used from 2005 to 2009/10. Since then LOI clubs lead 15-7 in knock out ties.  For statistical purposes I count games that go to penalties as draws.

Here’s the list of finals

Setanta finals

So while the Irish League has won the first and most recent competitions, a fairer reflection of the relative standards of the two leagues (in the Setanta Sports Cup anyway) is the fact that the LOI has 10 finalists compared to the IL’s 4.  Since they introduced semi finals in 2006, the LOI leads 18-6 (a 75%/25% split).

While this year may be the first to have all 4 semi finalists from the LOI, statistically it had to happen sooner or later.


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