The Leader Cup (or Longford Leader Cup) is the premier 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). The Leader Cup is delineated from older and earlier league competitions because the County Board at the time did not allocate the new cup to any existing competition or format, instead devising a new senior competition with a new format and rules for the purposes of awarding this new silverware. The introduction of the new Leader Cup competition in 1936 coincided with older league-based competitions such as the Senor League-Championship (more 📑 here) being discontinued. While both are leagues involving senior clubs, they do not have continuity as a single competition.
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)
Leader Cup Timeline
Roll of Honour
|Year||Leader Cup Winner|
|2022||Final not played|
|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)
The Fr. Manning Gaels club 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 them separately. ( 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 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 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 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 run up to the final, Colmcille requested a postponement to a later date, however this was not granted. The final was called off on 22nd July 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 status of the title is still under discussion.