Macdara Ferris takes a look at what made the biggest impact on Extratime.ie with the public beginning with the countdown of the 20th to the 11th most popular articles.
‘Saints sign new midfielder and you’ll never guess which Everton player it is?’ is not a headline you will read on extratime.ie. We try not go down the route of click bait headlines but you’ll “never believe what we wrote next!?!”
With all due respect to St. Patrick’s Athletic and their midfielder Steven Kinsella, this is a surprising entry to our top ten but headlines draw the readers in. This story made our selection thanks to football fans in the UK.
Due to our choice of headline, they thought they would be reading about a Premier League player transferring from Everton to Southampton. It turned out to be a story about a player who would go on to make a dozen appearances for Inchicore club St. Pat’s following a move from Everton
Just five weeks previously it seemed that Ciarán Kilduff’s season might well be over after he fractured a vertebrae in his back. This article in May caught the attention online as Kilduff was back in the team and back scoring goals just over a month after that injury.
Reporter Tom O’Connor spoke with Kilduff after Dundalk’s cup win over Shelbourne when the striker praised the support of his club’s medical staff and he talked us through his superb scissor kick goal that helped the Lilywhites progress in the FAI Cup.
The photo of one third of Ireland’s Euro 2016 squad sporting their former club jerseys gave the League of Ireland timely recognition in June. Out in Versaille that week after one of Ireland’s training session, extratime.ie asked Roy Keane about the photocall – and did he want to pull on his Cobh Ramblers jersey to join the shirts on display from Shelbourne (Wes Hoolahan), St. Patrick’s Athletic (Stephen Quinn), Cork City (Shane Long and David Meyler), Waterford United (Daryl Murphy), Bohemians (Stephen Ward), Derry City (James McLean) and Sligo Rovers (Seamus Coleman)? Keane spoke about how crucial the League of Ireland was for his career and those players pictured that week in a story that made our top 20 for the year.
A main stay of our site during the off-season is our transfer tracker keeping tabs on who is in and who is out.
Our aim for the season is to bring previews, live updates and reports for matches right across the League of Ireland. This was the only preview to make our top 20 but with the cup final being the climax of the domestic season, this was a good one. Would Cork City finally get one over on Dundalk and claim their first major trophy under John Caulfield? Could Dundalk become only the second side ever to do a ‘double-double’? No spoilers now folks!
For those that are interested, we did a top 5 for our most watched live match updates. They are from five to one:
5. Dundalk 3 - 0 FC BATE Borisov Champions League Qualifier (August)
4. Dundalk 1 - 1 FH Hafnarfjordur Champions League Qualifier (July)
3. St. Patrick's Athletic 3 - 1 Cork City SSE Airtricity League (October)
2. Shelbourne 1 - 1 Shamrock Rovers EA Sports Cup (May)
1. Dundalk 0 - 1 Cork City SSE Airtricity League (March)
When the Premier League club signs a player from the League of Ireland it is always going to be a big story but when it is the English Champions then that will be something that will take it into our top 20.
Leicester City signed UCD midfielder Dylan Watts back in September and the 19-year-old is still looking to progress into the first team squad having been playing with City’s under 23 team in recent months.
We have all had the conversation that goes along the lines of this:
Q. What team do you support?
A. I support (insert League of Ireland team of your choice).
Q. No, who do you really support? (i.e. which English team do you follow).
In this article Gareth Penrose discussed the mid-season attendance statistics for the league in the context of the European Championship. Gameweek 17 and 18, just after the Euro 2016 break, drew 11,103 people through the turnstiles, a fraction of the number of Ireland fans who attended the Republic of Ireland and Sweden match just a couple of week’s previously.
“Alarm bells keep ringing each week with attendance figures but is anyone listening?” asked Gareth. Maybe they were…
At the Aviva stadium to deliver my rebranding report to press on league of Ireland pic.twitter.com/7hOHd9wsfk— Jonathan Gabay (@jjgabay) December 15, 2016
Our dedicated team of photographers are some of the unsung heroes of extratime.ie. No seat out of the rain in the press box for them with a decent view out over the game. They are down on touchline in all weather, these men and women, bringing you the great visuals to accompany our writing.
No weather worries for our photographer Al Robinson in June though. With the roof closed in Lille, he brought us the action from Ireland’s famous win over Italy at Euro 2016 as can be seen in this photo article.
Al took to the roads of France that month to bring the action from a remarkable 11 group games in 13 days and you can read more about what it was like to photograph the tournament from his photographer’s postcard here.
Throughout the season Dan Lucey brought us a series of interviews on extratime.ie including, amongst others, chats with Owen Heary, Stuart Byrne, Alan Cawley, Graham Gartland, Vinny Perty, Colin Hawkins, Andy Myler, Johnny Glynn, and referee Alan Kelly. However it was this interview with Greg O’Halloran that was the most read as he told us about his colourful career, ending the interview with this memorable quote:
“This one-man club is b*ll*cks. It’s a job and in the League of Ireland there’s no loyalty. People will go where there’s security … That’s in every part of life.”
If we had a top 20 list of number of articles by author’s here at extratime.ie, Dave Donnelly would be number one on the list. He is as prolific as Jason Byrne – in his Shelbourne and Bohemians heyday!
Dave brought us this story in November about one confirmed change for the league next season. The story was also accompanied by a great photo by Peter Fitzpatrick of Roy Keane’s beard at level 6 – equivalent to Tom Hanks ‘I’m sorry, Wilson’ phase.
Ten team league, no mid-season break, top six season split, extend the league, start the league earlier. All points discussed no doubt in the pub after a game or on the supporters club en-route to an away match. Recently the FAI announced the switch from a 12 to a 10 team top flight for 2018. In addition this story discussed that this coming season is set to start onFriday 24 February. Hopefully that will spell the end to some of those ridiculously scheduled mid-week matches.
Read the Top 10 articles of 2016 on Extratime.ie. Leave a comment below on your favourite story or stories from the League of Ireland season, be it from an ET reporter or elsewhere.