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5 winners and losers of the 2014 League of Ireland season

It was a great year for Stephen Kenny and Longford Town while UCD and Roddy Collins will not look back on it fondly.

Winners

Stephen Kenny raises the SSE Airtricity trophy Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Stephen Kenny

Clearly one of the best managers the country has seen in recent years after successes with Bohemians, Derry City and now Dundalk, Stephen Kenny can feel immensely satisfied with the season his Lilywhites squad enjoyed after completing Premier Division title and EA Sports Cup double.

The 43-year-old’s reputation took a battering after an ill-fated spell at Shamrock Rovers but he has bounced back with Dundalk and is a shoe-in for PFAI Manager of the Year.

Brian Lenihan

What a year Brian Lenihan has had. After cementing his place in the Cork City team with a number of solid performances, the 20-year-old defender waved goodbye to the Airtricity League earned a €250,000 move to Hull City in August.

Last month, Lenihan could hardly believe it when Martin O’Neill called him up to Ireland’s senior squad for the first time and he has retained his place for upcoming qualifier with Scotland.

Pat’s fans

St Patrick’s Athletic may have been unable to win back-to-back Premier Division titles but most Saints supporters will not be too bothered after yesterday’s result at the Aviva Stadium. Without an FAI Cup win in 53 years, Pat’s took on Derry City in a repeat of the 2012 final and reversed that result thanks to two goals from top scorer Christy Fagan.

Stephen O’Donnell

A month into the season, Stephen O’Donnell was told that he career in football could be over after suffering a cruciate injury. Despite missing the majority of the season, the Dundalk captain remarkably managed to regain full fitness in time for their final title push.

Cork City led the Louth club going into the last day of the season when the pair met at Oriel Park and Lilywhites skipper O’Donnell popped up with a crucial goal in the 2-0 win which clinched the Premier Division championship.

Longford Town

After a seven-year absence and having suffered play-off disappointment , Longford Town are back in the the top flight. Under the stewardship of Tony Cousins, ‘The Town’ will return to the Premier Division in 2015 after winning the First Division title with eight points to spare. They are one of two clubs to earn promotion alongside  Galway.

Losers

Roddy Collins Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Trevor Croly

Shamrock Rovers parted company with their manager back in August when Trevor Croly’s 17-month tenure came to an end. The former Hoops player may have brought three cups to the club — the Setanta Cup, EA Sports Cup and Leinster Senior Cup — during his time in charge but failed to maintain the levels Rovers fans expect in the league.

UCD

The Belfield Bowl will host First Division football next season as UCD lost out their promotion/relegation play-off to Galway. The Students, who have produced so many players over the years thanks to their policy of giving youth a chance, but were unable to hold onto their Premier Division status under Aaron Callaghan.

Roddy Collins

Having guided Athlone Town to the First Division title in 2013, Roddy Collins was rewarded with the Derry City job in November. However, his time at the Brandywell lasted just six months after falling out with a number of players and a run of poor results.

Bohs and Shamrock Rovers fans

Dalymount Park was due to host a Dublin derby on 18 August when referee Tomas Connolly took the unusual step of calling  the game off 45 minutes before kick-off. The reason? He deemed the pitch unplayable due to a large divot beside the penalty spot.

Waterford United

It was a second from bottom finish in the First Division for Waterford United, who will be hugely disappointed with how 2014 went after years of battling it out for promotion.

Do you agree with our LOI Team of the Year?

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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