2018 League of Ireland Season in Stats

Sun, Feb 10 2019

Ahead of the new league season, Gareth Penrose looks back at all the statistics that made up the 2018 SSE Airtricity League of Ireland campaign.


895 goals were scored across 315 games in the league in 2018 which included 20 own goals and 67 penalties. 500 of those goals were scored in the Premier Division, with the remaining 395 witnessed in First Division grounds.

Pat Hoban romped home with the Top Scorer honours in the Premier Division with 29 goals, five of which were from the penalty spot. He was 13 clear of second-placed Kieran Sadlier (Full list of 2018 Premier Division scorers).

David O’Sullivan’s 15 goals in the First Division topped the charts with Dylan McGlade close on his tail with 14 (Full list of 2018 First Division scorers).  

That’s all great to know but the burning question for fans of the league is when can they rush to the toilet or grab a cuppa and maximise the chances of not missing a goal. Last season the optimal time was between the 21st and 30th minute. Only 70 goals were scored during that time.

If you were running a minute late to the grounds last year, you’d have only missed a maximum of two goals. Those late-to-leave-the-pub-or-work-or-home amongst us who rocked up five minutes late to a game will have missed 41 goals across the league.

Eager to get served first at the bar or shop at half-time or want to exit before the crowds do at full-time? Not a good idea in the League of Ireland. 52 goals were scored on the 90th minute or later in 2018 with 29 goals awarded on the 45th minute. That’s a total of 9% of all goals scored in the last minute of each half.  

TOTAL GOALS: 895 (315 games - 2.84 goals per game)

PREMIER DIVISION: 500 (180 games – 2.78 goals per game)

FIRST DIVISION: 395 (135 games – 2.92 goals per game)

PREMIER DIV TOP SCORER: Pat Hoban (29 goals)

PREMIER DIV TOP SCORER: David O’Sullivan (15 goals)

TIME MOST GOALS SCORED: 52 (90th minute), 29 (45th minute)

Goals scored per minute range

0-10      80 (Prem 50 – First 30)

11-20    83 (Prem 50 – First 33)

21-30    70 (Prem 39 – First 31)

31-40    92 (Prem 53 – First 39)

41-50    109 (Prem 59 – First 50)

51-60    124 (Prem 59 – First 65)

61-70    100 (Prem 59 – First 41)

71-80    93 (Prem 48 – First 45)

81-FT    144 (Prem 83 – First 61)



1,098 yellow cards and 64 red cards were issued by 32 referees in the 2018 League of Ireland season. That’s an average of 3.49 yellows cards per game, with a red card coming every 4.9 games.

Shamrock Rovers’ Greg Bolger topped the charts with the most yellow cards in 2018 having picked up 11 across the season. He was closely followed by Kevin Lynch, Sean Brennan and Mark Coyle on 10.

No player managed to land three red cards last season but nine players did get dismissed twice, four in the Premier Division and five in the First Division. David Webster, Stanley Aborah, Thomas Byrne and Seamus Sharkey from the top flight saw red twice whilst Keith Cowan, Kevin Knight, Colm Deasy, Ross Kenny and Chris Mulhall faced sendings off twice in the First.

But what of the officials who issued the cards. As stated 32 referees appeared over the 315 games, 31 men and 1 woman. 17 referees officiated the Premier Division, with 26 covering the First Division.    

Neil Doyle and Robert Hennessy officiated the most games last season. Both refereed 21 games across the two divisions. Five referees only covered one game in the league including Mareks Kere of Latvia who covered the St. Patrick’s Athletic versus Shamrock Rovers in October as part of the FAI exchange programme.

Robert Harvey, who covered 19 games, issued the most yellow cards, as well as the most red cards last season. He brandished 84 yellow cards and nine red cards which works out as 4.4 yellows and 0.5 red cards per game.

Robert Hennessy issued the second most yellows on 73 (3.5 per game) but never took his red card out over 21 games.

The referee who showed the most yellows per game was Michael Connolly on six per game but he only refereed one game. Next in line was Adriano Reale with 4.7 yellows per game or 47 over 10 games. Garvin Taggart showed the most reds per game as his five games resulted in four reds or 0.8 per game. Robert Rogers and Robert Harvey were next with 0.5 reds per game with nine shown by Harvey with seven displayed by Rogers.

YELLOW CARDS: 1,098 (Prem 622 – First 476)

RED CARDS: 64 (Prem 37 – First 27)

MOST YELLOW CARDS: Greg Bolger (11)



MOST RED CARDS SHOWN: Robert Harvey (9)



MOST REDS IN PREM SHOWN: Robert Harvey (8)

MOST REDS IN FIRST SHOWN: Garvin Taggart (4)



Only four players appeared in all 36 games in the Premier Division in the League of Ireland. Lee Desmond, Michael Duffy, Simon Madden and Brendan Clarke were the players who turned out in a starting line-up the most in 2018.

In the First Division, six players managed this feat. Josh Collins, Mark Doyle, Paul Skinner, Gary O’Neill, Daniel O’Reilly and Ciaran Kelly all started a game 27 times last season.

In total 258 players started games in the Premier Division, with 269 players in the First. 300 players sat on the bench in the Premier, with 292 in the lower division.

Gabriel Sava had the most appearances on the bench in the Premier Division with 34. He was followed by Eric Grimes (33) and Niall Corbett (29).

Adam Mylod was listed on the bench 26 times in the First Division. Luca Gratzer, Peter Burke and Lee Steacy were just behind him on 25.   

MOST APPEARANCES: Lee Desmond, Michael Duffy, Simon Madden and Brendan Clarke (36)

MOST STARTS ON BENCH: Gabriel Sava (34)



Cork City managed to keep 12 clean sheets at home in Turner’s Cross which was the highest number for a club at home in 2018. Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk followed up with 11. At the other end of the spectrum, Limerick could only manage one with Athlone Town and Bray Wanderers keeping two.

Away from home, Dundalk avoided conceding in ten of their fixtures. Shamrock Rovers followed up with nine away clean sheets. Cork City came in third with seven. Athlone Town failed to keep a single clean sheet on their travels with Wexford and Bray Wanderers only managing one.

Overall, Dundalk kept 21 clean sheets over the 2018 league season with Shamrock Rovers in second with 20.

The following tables show the clean sheets by clubs home and away. 

Cork City 12
Shamrock Rovers 11
Dundalk 11
St. Patrick's Athletic 9
Finn Harps 8
Waterford 7
Shelbourne 6
Derry City 5
Longford Town 5
Cabinteely 5
Wexford 4
Bohemians 4
Drogheda United 4
Sligo Rovers 4
Cobh Ramblers 3
Galway United 3
Bray Wanderers 2
Athlone Town 2
Limerick 1


Dundalk 10
Shamrock Rovers 9
Cork City 7
Finn Harps 5
Drogheda United 5
Limerick 5
Derry City 4
Bohemians 4
St. Patrick's Athletic 4
Shelbourne 4
Cobh Ramblers 3
Waterford 3
Longford Town 3
Galway United 3
Sligo Rovers 3
Cabinteely 2
Wexford 1
Bray Wanderers 1
Athlone Town  0



The earliest substitution in the 2018 season was shared. Gabriel Sava came on for Dundalk’s Gary Rogers after nine minutes. Dragos Mamaliga was a ninth minute sub for Bray Wanderers’ Dylan Hayes.

The Rogers substitution however meant that he had played eight minutes in his eight league game of the season and it was his eight start without conceding a goal - for more insane stats follow @boscoisalive.



Rory McCullough and Dinny Corcoran share the honour of earliest goal in the league. Unfortunately we don’t save the second a goal is scored so they are both registered with goals after one minute. McCullough’s goal came in the game between Longford Town and Athlone Town. Dinny landed his early goal when Bohemians visited Derry City.

The latest goal of the year fell to Darragh Leahy who scored nine minutes into added time and gave Bohemians a 2-1 win over Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght.



There are so many stats we could bamboozle you with but we will call it at this. Our stats are based on our reporters records that have been cross referenced with official stats and club records. It is a huge undertaking to produce the stats to be able to stand over an article like this so I’d like to acknowledge the hard work of Tom O’Connor, Simon O’Gorman and Dave Donnelly in helping to ensure our records are as accurate as can be.

If you do spot errors, you can email me at [email protected].

Please note that if you do use the figures found here further afield in print or online, on radio or on television, please credit extratime.ie as the source as it has taken a lot of effort to gather and compile this information.