How has your team performed this season?

The roars of the crowd of 37,126 FAI Cup final are silenced, the case of winning and losing has been resolved.

All that’s left to do is clinch the individual honors for the 2021 SSE Airtricity League season before the annual manager and player merry-go-round accelerates.

The first tonight is the PFAI, followed by the Soccer Writers’ Ireland next Friday – these latest awards will be held remotely for the second year in a row due to COVID-19.

Ronan Finn of Shamrock Rovers lifts the SSE Airtricity League trophy as the Shamrock Rovers are league champions. Photo: INPHO / Laszlo Geczo

So how did it go for your team?

Did they exceed expectations, meet them or fail to meet expectations?

It’s time to to take a cold look at those who stood up to the plate, and those who got stuck in the stands.

While we are at it, we will be proposing an alternative team of the year to the one selected by the PFAI.

St Patrick’s Athletic head coach Stephen O’Donnell celebrates after the FAI Cup Final match between the Bohemians and St Patrick’s Athletic at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photo: Seb Daly / Sportsfile

Rovers Shamrock

Under the able leadership of Stephen Bradley, the Hoops set the standard and defended their title flawlessly with a record-breaking 16-point margin of victory in a 36-game season.

The arrival of Danny Mandroiu ensured a spread of goals, Dylan Watts has taken off, while the return of Jack Byrne makes him the team to beat in 2022 when an extended European run will be the next challenge.

Evaluation: 8/10

LAI first division rankings
October 29, 2021; Shamrock Rovers players celebrate in the dressing room after the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Shamrock Rovers and Finn Harps at Tallaght Stadium, Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

St. Patrick’s Day athletics

Fittingly, the only team to go after the Rovers in the League have enjoyed rich compensation in the FAI Cup last Sunday.

A first trophy as head coach from Stephen O’Donnell ensured a return to European football, but could not prevent speculation about his departure to Dundalk, which rocked the heads of Richmond Park.

With many short-term contracts in their ranks, the Cup final eleven may no longer play together.

Evaluation: 7/10

St Patrick’s Athletic captain Ian Bermingham and his teammates celebrate with the cup after the FAI Cup Final match between the Bohemians and St Patrick’s Athletic at Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

Sligo Rovers

Bit O’Red had a mid-season swing to claim third place and another bite in the Europa Conference League, where they didn’t like it in Iceland.

In their day they were a game for anyone, but the league rewards consistency, which was Sligo’s Achilles heel.

In addition, most of their big names are on board for next season. Irish Under-19 forward Johnny Kenny will do even better.

Evaluation: 7/10

LAI first division rankings
Ryan De Vries, right, celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal along with Sligo Rovers team-mates Adam McDonnell, left, and Lewis Banks in the game between Sligo Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic. Photo: Ben McShane / Sportsfile

City of Derry

The Brandywell’s star actor was Ruaidhri Higgins who arrived in his firefighter’s uniform, put out the flames and oversaw a rebuild which was completed with a Euro qualification.

Signings of Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy and Will Patching, among others, indicate Derry’s intention to be serious players in 2022, assuming they don’t get stuck in the blocks like last season.

Evaluation: 6/10

LAI first division rankings
Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins before the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division game against St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park, Dublin 9/7/2021. Photo: INPHO / Laszlo Geczo


For all of their big Euro nights, their Player of the Month awards and the support armada in the FAI Cup final, Bohs found himself without a trophy or lucrative ticket to the Euro competition.

And this will squeak as they had their hands to claim both.

Keith Long must be feeling like Sisyphus as he seeks to push the boulder up to Dalymount Hill. It will be all the more steep if Georgie Kelly leaves.

Evaluation: 5/10

Georgie Kelly of Bohemians reacts after his penalty is saved by Waterford goalkeeper Brian Murphy during the FAI Cup Semi-Final match between Bohemians and Waterford at Dalymount Park in Dublin. Photo: Eóin Noonan / Sportsfile


Few saw the car crash happen even after the front row players were cleared to leave for rival clubs.

Dundalk has been amber all season, except for a brief spike in Europe. Their form in the league was chronic and it took a late hurray to avoid relegation play-offs.

Not many people have bemoaned the departure of the owners of Peak6 and there could be more pain to come.

The pursuit of Stephen O’Donnell as head coach is the first step in the healing process.

Evaluation: 4/10

Patrick Hoban of Dundalk heads up his team’s goal, scored by Sean Murray, during the FAI Cup Quarter Final Replay match between Dundalk and Finn Harps at Oriel Park in Dundalk, Louth. Photo: Ben McShane / Sportsfile

Drogheda United

Tim Clancy turned Drogheda into a competitive unit and there was a sniff of a Euro spot until the last week or two, while Mark Doyle’s 13 league goals left him third in the league. stake of snipers.

Clancy replaced Stephen O’Donnell at Pat’s with Kevin Doherty from No 2 to Boyne.

Keeping Drogheda’s locker room intact might not be so easy for Doherty.

Evaluation: 6/10

LAI first division rankings
Drogheda United manager Tim Clancy during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Drogheda United and Bohemians at United Park in Drogheda, Louth. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportfile

Finnish harps

Whenever their new stadium finally opens, statues are expected to be erected for Patsy McGowan and Ollie Horgan.

Just as McGowan managed to pull the strings of his beloved harps, Horgan, a piano lover, composed his own music in eight years at the helm.

Horgan made sure Harps had room to maneuver ahead of a 5-0 loss to Longford on the final day and secured Premier Division status for a fourth consecutive year.

Evaluation: 6/10

Finn Harps’ Babatunde Owolabi celebrates scoring the winning goal from the penalty spot against Derry City. FAI Cup Second Round, Finn Park, Finn Park, Ballybofey, Donegal. Photo: INPHO / Evan Logan

Waterford united

The Blues managed to shoot each other in both feet as they crashed out of the top flight under strange circumstances.

Not beating Longford in their penultimate game was as costly as calling for Marc Bircham’s sacking ahead of the play-off loss to UCD.

Covid issues didn’t help either, but there was enough quality in the ranks to stay put.

Can Waterford bounce back right away? Hmm.

Evaluation: 3/10

LAI first division rankings
Waterford manager Marc Bircham during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Waterford and St Patrick’s Athletic at RSC in Waterford. Photo: Eóin Noonan / Sportsfile

Town of Longford

The Midlanders won their first game but only managed to win one more and were destined for relegation before the mid-season break.

Daire Doyle duly paid the price, but in many games Longford was organized and competitive, but lacked an advantage. How they could have done with a goalscorer.

No one expected them to stay standing, but they should have done better.

Evaluation: 3/10

LAI first division rankings
Dean Williams of Longford Town in action against Rory Feely of Bohemians during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Bohemians and Longford Town at Dalymount Park in Dublin. Photo: Michael P Ryan / Sportsfile Alternative Team of the Year