The Leader Cup is the Senior Football League competition in Longford, and began in 1936 when a new cup was presented to the County Board by the Managing Director of the Longford Leader newspaper Mr. A. M. Farrell whose father had founded the newspaper and was the first Chair of the Longford County Board (📷 Source). The County Board invited suggestions as to “the manner in which it should be competed for”. Mr. J Mannix (who was County Board Vice Chairman from 1928 to 1938) proposed that it should be a perpetual trophy and, after further discussion in July 1936, it was agreed that it would be presented on an annual basis for a new Senior Football competition “between parish clubs to be played on the single league system on neutral venues”. It was also agreed that gate receipts from Leader Cup games would be pooled and allocated evenly between competing clubs. While the name of the competition is the ‘Leader Cup’, over the decades it also became known as the Senior League (and as the Super League for a short period too). It was consistently referenced in local media from its inception in 1936 as the ‘Senior League (Leader Cup)’ and often by the shorthand ‘Leader Cup’. It is delineated from older league competitions because the County Board did not allocate the new cup to an existing competition, instead devising a new competition with a new format for the purposes of awarding this new silverware. The introduction of the Leader Cup in 1936 signaled the end of the Senor League-Championship (more 📑 here). In 1990 the County Board decided to have a cup for the team finishing top of Division 1 at the end of all rounds. This was initially the Bertie Allen Cup, and then changed to the Johnny Skelly Cup from 2002. In recent times there has been a recurring conflation between ACFL Division 1 and Senior Football League. For the avoidance of doubt, the Senior Football League trophy in Longford is the Leader Cup. The Johnny Skelly Cup is the Division 1 Cup.
The Leader Cup kicked off in October 1936. However progress was slow and in May 1937 it as decided to abandon the 1936 competition and start afresh with the Leader Cup in 1937. The Leader Cup has been presented to the winner of the Longford Senior Football League since 1937. Mullinalaghta won the Leader Cup for five years in a row from 1947 to 1951 while Cashel won the Leader Cup for three years in a row from 1976 to 1978. Clonguish won the 1952 Leader Cup title in February 1953, but rather uniquely won it as a Junior club while Ballymahon won the Leader Cup just after winning the Junior Championship in 1960. With the exception of 1938, 1967, 2018, 2020 & 2022 the Leader Cup has been completed every year since 1937. Since the introduction of the ACFL structure in February 1980, the Leader Cup has been played between the top teams at the end of that league campaign. It is worth noting that prior to our research from 2014-2021, the Leader Cup competition had never previously been combined or conflated with older ‘League-Championship’ competitions in official or unofficial records. Our research found nothing in published evidence to alter that position. Hence Leader Cup titles are kept separate from earlier league-championship competitions, consistent with all official records prior to our research.
Leader Cup Winners
|Won||Club / Team||Year Titles Won|
|11||Mullinalaghta St. Columbas||1945, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021|
|10||Clonguish||1952, 1965, 1968, 1973, 1979, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2011|
|8||Killoe Young Emmets||1959, 1961, 1985, 2005, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015|
|7||Rathcline||1971, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1981, 1989, 1996|
|6||Drumlish †||1937, 1939, 1943, 1944, 1946, 1953|
|6||Longford Slashers||1958, 1962, 1963, 1972, 1988, 1991|
|5||Cashel||1976, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1984|
|4||St. Marys Granard||1964, 1966, 1969, 1994|
|4||Mostrim||1970, 1984, 1992, 1995|
|4||Fr. Manning Gaels||1986, 1987, 1997, 1999|
|4||Abbeylara||1998, 2000, 2004, 2009|
|3||Colmcille||1954, 1957, 1990|
|2||St. Brigids Killashee||1940, 1941|
|2||Ardagh St. Patricks||1955, 1993|
(Note: Scroll to bottom of page for title allocation logic & details)
† Drumlish include titles won as Drumlish (1937-1946) and Young Irelands (1953).
Leader Cup Timeline
Roll of Honour
|Year||Leader Cup Winner|
|2022||Disputed (See Note)|
|2021||Mullinalaghta St. Columbas|
|2020||No Competition (Covid-19)|
|2019||Mullinalaghta St. Columbas|
|2018||Final not played|
|2017||Mullinalaghta St. Columbas|
|2016||Mullinalaghta St. Columbas|
|2015||Killoe Young Emmets|
|2014||Killoe Young Emmets|
|2013||Mullinalaghta St. Columbas|
|2012||Killoe Young Emmets|
|2010||Killoe Young Emmets|
|2005||Killoe Young Emmets|
|1999||Fr. Manning Gaels|
|1997||Fr. Manning Gaels|
|1994||St. Marys Granard|
|1993||Ardagh St. Patricks|
|1987||Fr. Manning Gaels|
|1986||Fr. Manning Gaels|
|1985||Killoe Young Emmets|
|1969||St. Marys Granard|
|1966||St. Marys Granard|
|1964||St. Marys Granard|
|1961||Killoe Young Emmets|
|1959||Killoe Young Emmets|
|1955||Ardagh St. Patricks|
|1953||Drumlish Young Irelands|
|1941||St. Brigids Killashee|
|1940||St. Brigids Killashee|
(Names of winners are displayed using name of each club at the time of the final, to preserve that historic record)
Titles are consistently allocated to club units (not parishes). For temporary amalgamations, titles are allocated to the amalgamation and not assigned separately to the individual clubs within it. Where a new club is formed by two or more existing clubs uniting, the titles of the individual clubs prior to the union are kept separate from titles won by the new club unit.
The Longford Slashers club was formed when the clubs of Longford Wanderers and Whiterock Slashers united in 1954. Any titles of Longford Slashers are kept separate from those of the older Longford Wanderers or Whiterock Slashers clubs. ( Source) (📑 Read More)
Drumlish titles include those won as Drumlish and as Young Irelands (later Éire Óg). Fr. Manning Gaels was formed when the clubs of Éire Óg and Ballinamuck united in 1969. Any titles of Fr. Manning Gaels are kept separate from those of the older Drumlish or Ballinamuck clubs. Prior to 2014, some publications displayed titles as ‘Drumlish/Fr. Manning Gaels’, however for consistency we display and count titles separately by club, not by parish. ( Source) (📑 Read More)
The Ardagh Moydow club was formed when the clubs of Ardagh St. Patricks and Moydow Harpers united in 2019. Any titles of Ardagh Moydow are kept separate from those of the older Ardagh St. Patricks or Moydow Harpers clubs. ( Source) (📑 Read More)
Other sites or publications may display some of these title allocations differently, and that is their prerogative. On this website we aim to consistently allocate titles to club units and delineate, for historical accuracy, between newly formed clubs and previous club units.
Further details on title allocation logic used on this website can be found here.
The Leader Cup competition was first introduced in 1936. Prior to that, a Senior ‘League-Championship’ ran in a league format from 1911 to 1935. This was sometimes confused with Senior Championship competition in past roll-of-honour records. This League-Championship competition did not have any cup or trophy and was regarded by some in the early years as having equivalent importance to Championship. For historical accuracy and consistency it is important to draw a clear delineation between titles which were Senior Championship and titles which were ‘League-Championship’.
The League-Championship format changed in 1928 with the top team in the table being declared the winner thereafter. The competition ran until 1935 and ended prior to the start of the new Leader Cup competition from 1936. Our research found that both competitions were separate and distinctly different. League-Championship titles were also separate and different from Senior Championship titles, even though it was common for League-Championship winners to receive medals with ‘Championship’ or ‘Champions’ on them. The various League-Championship winners are published for the very first time on this website, but we have been careful not to combine or conflate them with Leader Cup titles and not to confuse them with Senior Championship titles. It is worth noting that none of the official Senior League records prior to our research ever combined or conflated old ‘League-Championship’ titles with Leader Cup titles, or combined both into one single count. We found no evidence to support doing so either.
Senior ‘League-Championship’ Winners (1911-1935):
- 1911 Clonguish Gallowglasses [ Reference]
- 1912 No Record of Winner
- 1913 No Competition
- 1914 Granard Shamrocks [ Report]
- 1915 No Competition
- 1916 Granard Shamrocks [ Report]
- 1917 Granard Shamrocks [ Report]
- 1918 No Competition
- 1919 Clonguish [ Report]
- 1920 No Competition
- 1921 No Competition
- 1922 Longford Wanderers [ Report]
- 1923 Longford Wanderers [ Report]
- 1924 No Competition
- 1925 No Winner (Abandoned) [ Report]
- 1926 No Competition
- 1927 Longford Wanderers [ Report]
- 1928 Longford Wanderers [ Report]
- 1929 No Competition
- 1930 St. Marys Granard [ Report]
- 1931 Drumlish [ Reference]
- 1932 No Competition
- 1933 Drumlish [ Report]
- 1934 St. Marys Granard
- 1935 Drumlish [ Reference]
(Note: Granard Shamrocks was separate club from St. Marys. The Shamrocks club pre-dated the formation of the St. Mary’s club by some margin, and both clubs co-existed for a time in the parish of Granard during the years 1927-1931. Hence the titles of both clubs are kept separate for historical accuracy)
The 1936 Leader Cup was the first ever playing of the Leader Cup and began in October 1936. However progress was slow and in May 1937 it as decided to abandon the 1936 competition and start afresh with the Leader Cup in 1937.
The 1937 Leader Cup completed in late 1938, hence it was too late to start a new league in 1938, so the competition started afresh in 1939 with no Leader Cup title for 1938. Leader Cup records prior to our teams research (example here) showed Drumlish as winners in 1937 & 1938, whereas the published evidence showed that Drumlish won those two Leader Cup titles in 1937 (delayed and ran into 1938) and 1939, with no actual 1938 competition held.
The 1952 Leader Cup completed in February 1953. It is worth noting that Clonguish won this Leader Cup title as a Junior side, having gained entry into the competition when a vacancy arose. This was first time that a Junior side won the Leader cup.
The 1954 Leader Cup was completed in 1955 with the final played in Purth on 1st May 1955. Colmcille beat Longford Slashers by 5-5 to 3-4.
The 1960 Leader Cup final was played between Ballymahon and Colmcille. Ballymahon had just won the Junior Football Championship and went on to win the Leader Cup too.
The 1962 Leader Cup final was played between Longford Slashers and Killoe Young Emmets. The game ended in some controversy when the ref announced that the game had ended in a draw, much to the surprise of Longford Slashers players and supporters (and others in the crowd) who had assumed that Slashers had won the game by a point (1-10 to 2-6). The matter had to wait for the referee’s report to be read at the County Board meeting a week later, where the referee stated that he had consulted with his umpires who unanimously agreed that the correct score was 1-10 to 2-6 in favour of Longford Slashers. The referee also mentioned that he believed he failed to record a point scored by Slashers in the second half, leading to his full-time conclusion of a draw.
The 1963 Leader Cup final between Longford Slashers and St. Marys Granard was played on 29th March 1964.
The 1965 & 1966 Leader Cups were both decided in 1967 which left no time in that year to play a 1967 Leader Cup, hence no Leader Cup title for 1967. The 1965 final was initially played in 1966 with Clonguish and Longford Slashers playing out a draw. The replay did not happen until February 1967. The 1966 final was then played later that same year.
The 1986 Leader Cup final did not take place until March 1987 due to delays caused by a number of different reasons. Fr. Manning Gaels beat Longford Slashers in the final. Barely five months later Fr. Manning Gaels were back in the 1987 Leader Cup final, this time beating Mostrim, thus uniquely winning two Leader Cup titles in the same year.
The 2018 Leader Cup final was never played. Mullinalaghta and Killoe reached the decider but it was not played due to Mullinalaghta’s involvement in the Leinster Club Championship campaign and ongoing activity in the All Ireland Club Championship which stretched into 2019, hence no Leader Cup title for 2018.
The 2020 Leader Cup competition was not played due to the impact from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2022 Leader Cup final between Mullinalaghta St. Columbas and Colmcille was scheduled for 23rd July 2022. In the immediate run up to the final, Colmcille requested a postponement to a later date, however this was not granted. On 22nd July the final was called off and the Leader Cup title seemed to be awarded to Mullinalaghta due to Colmcille being unable to fulfill the fixture on the scheduled date. However the Mullinalaghta club do not accept the County Boards decision to award the title to them without the final being re-fixed, hence the status of the 2022 Leader Cup title is disputed.