Northern Amateur Football League

The Northern Amateur Football League, also known as the Northern Amateur League and often simply as the Amateur League, is an association football league in Northern Ireland. It contains 13 divisions. These comprise four intermediate sections: the Premier Division, Division 1A, Division 1B and Division 1C; three junior sections: Division 2A, Division 2B and Division 2C; and six reserve sections.

Northern Amateur Football League
CountryNorthern Ireland
Level on pyramid4–7 (Premier to Division 1C only)
Promotion toNIFL Premier Intermediate League
Domestic cup(s)Irish Cup
IFA Intermediate Cup
Current championsCrumlin Star (2018–19)
Most championshipsEast Belfast (9)

Clubs in membership (2019–20)



Premier Division

Division 1A

Division 1B

Division 1C


The league season lasts from August to May with each club playing the others twice, once at their home ground and once at that of their opponents. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference, and then goals scored. At the end of each season, the team that finishes in first place in the Premier division is crowned league champions.

Premier Division

There are 14 clubs in the Premier Division, each playing a total of 26 games. The two lowest-placed teams are relegated to Division 1A. The league champions can be promoted to the NIFL Premier Intermediate League, providing they meet the admittance requirements.

Division 1A

There are 14 clubs. The two highest-placed teams are promoted into the Premier Division whilst the two lowest-placed teams are relegated to Division 1B.

Division 1B

There are 14 clubs. The two highest-placed teams are promoted to Division 1A and the two lowest-placed teams are relegated to Division 1C.

Division 1C

This division was added to the Amateur League for the 2009/10 season. It now consists of 14 teams who will each play a total of 26 matches. The two top-placed teams at the end of the season will be promoted to Division 1B.

Second Division

There are three sections within the Second Division, which has junior status: Division 2A, Division 2B and Division 2C. The top team in Division 2A at the end of the season can be promoted into the Intermediate section as long as their grounds meet intermediate standards.

Third Division

The Third Division is for reserve sides of teams in the first and second divisions. It has six sections: 3A to 3F.

Cup competitions

There are two cup competitions at intermediate level: the Border Regiment Cup, more commonly referred to as the Border Cup, the final of which is played during the Christmas period, is a knock-out competition for First Division clubs. The Clarence Cup is a knock-out competition for all clubs (encompassing both the First and Second Divisions).


The League was founded 4 July 1923 at a meeting of fourteen clubs at the Clarence Place Hall, Donegall Square East, Belfast, initially as a league for teams from public bodies, private associations, schools and firms. It was affiliated to the Irish Football Association as a junior league in August. The first season was 1923/24 and by the time the first fixtures were played on 22 September, there were 16 member clubs. The Co-operative and C.P.A. were tied at the top of the table, but the Co-operative won a play-off to be crowned the first Amateur League champions.

A knock-out competition – the Clarence Cup – was also inaugurated in the first season, and the first winners were C.P.A., who beat the Co-operative 2–1 in a replay after a 0–0 draw.

The League's first representative game was played on 26 January 1924 against the Minor League at the Oval, and was a 6–1 win for the Amateur League. In 1932, the League played its first representative match outside Northern Ireland: a 3–3 draw against the Scottish Juvenile FA at Celtic Park, Glasgow. This became an annual fixture, which lasted until 1939, only to be halted by the Second World War. Subsequently, annual fixtures have resumed, first with the Scottish Amateur League and, since 1978–1979 with the Scottish Amateur F.A., competing for the Britton Rosebowl.

During the next few years, the League gained intermediate status, and a junior-status second division was added in 1926. By 1930, there were 30 clubs in membership. In 1932–1933, the League's strength was demonstrated when Dunville's became the first Amateur League team to win the Irish Intermediate Cup, and in 1938–1939 when Sirocco Works won the Steel & Sons Cup.

In the 1936–1937 season, a new competition was introduced: the Border Regiment Cup (commonly the Border Cup), which was to become the perhaps League's most prestigious trophy as it established a traditional Christmas final. The cup was presented to the league by the team of the Border Regiment, stationed at Palace Barracks, Holywood, which had been a member of the League since 1933, and which was nearing the end of its tour of duty. The first winners were Sirocco Works, who beat Whitehouse Recreation Club 4–0 in the final.

After the Second World War, the league expanded its membership and the second division was split into two – Division 2A and Division 2B – in 1947. Division 2C was added in 1950. In 1961, Division 2A was elevated to intermediate status as Division 1B, with the top division renamed as Division 1A. Divisions 2B and 2C consequently became 2A and 2B respectively. The next year, 1962, the league expanded again and a new Division 2C was added, making a total of five divisions.

In 1963, it was decided that the Border Cup should be confined to teams in the First Division, and a new knock-out competition – the Cochrane Corry Cup – was instituted for the Second Division teams. The Clarence Cup is contested by teams of both divisions.

From the 1970–1971 season, automatic promotion and relegation within each division was introduced, and in the following season a new Third Division was added for the reserve teams of member clubs. In 1971 Division 2C was abolished, but re-established again in 1975. In 1973 a second reserve section was formed and the Third Division was thus divided into Division 3A and Division 3B. Division 3C was added in 1980, Division 3D in 1986 and Division 3E in 1991. There is now a Division 3F.

The League had been growing, particularly since the 1960s, and the milestone of 100 teams in membership was achieved in 1981. (By 1997–1998, there were 144 teams in membership.) In 1985, the League secured a sponsorship deal with Smithwick's.

In 1986, the intermediate First Division was expanded into three sections with the addition of Division 1C. From 1991, the intermediate sections were renamed as the Premier Division, Division 1A and Division 1B. Minimum standards were set for clubs' grounds as a condition of membership of the Premier Division, with promotion only available to those clubs whose facilities measured up.

List of champions

Performance by club

Team No. of Wins Winning years
East Belfast91949–50, 1952–53, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1955–56, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1965–66, 1993–94
Sirocco Works81926–27, 1934–35, 1935–36, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1939–40, 1947–48
Killyleagh Youth81984–85, 1992–93, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2004–05
Dunville's**61927–28, 1928–29, 1930–31, 1931–32, 1932–33, 1933–34
Chimney Corner51961–62, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1973–74, 1974–75
Short Brothers51956–57, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1989–90
Newington Youth52005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13
Dunmurry Rec41979–80, 1987–88, 1991–92, 1998–99
Drumaness Mills41981–82, 1983–84, 1988–89, 2013–14
Victoria Works United*31940–41, 1941–42, 1942–43
Shankill Young Men31943–44, 1944–45, 1945–46
Downpatrick Rec31976–77, 1977–78, 1980–81
Nortel31982–83, 1995–96, 1996–97
Ards Rangers31997–98, 2011–12, 2014–15
Crumlin Star32016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19
North Cricket Club21924–25, 1925–26
Carrick Rangers21948–49, 1951–52
Albert Foundry [I]21960–61, 1966–67
Royal Ulster Constabulary21970–71, 1972–73
Cromac Albion21985–86, 1986–87
Holm Factory11929–30
Queen's Island Woodworkers11946–47
St Elizabeth's11964–65
International Computers Limited11971–72
Barn United11975–76
Harland & Wolff Welders11978–79
Harland & Wolff Sports11990–91
Crumlin United11994–95

* Including one as Victoria Works.
** Including two as Shaftesbury.
† Including four as Short Brothers & Harland.
‡ One as Standard Telephones & Cables and two as Northern Telecom.

List of Clarence Cup winners

Performance by club

Team Wins Winning years
East Belfast71946–47, 1949–50, 1950–51, 1951–52, 1956–57, 2006–07, 2018–19
Sirocco Works61925–26, 1926–27, 1938–39, 1943–44, 1944–45, 1947–48
Immaculata52008–09, 2010–11, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17
Dunville's*41927–28, 1928–29, 1929–30, 1930–31
Victoria Works United**31940–41, 1941–42, 1942–43
Balmoral Rec31953–54, 1954–55, 1976–77
Ballyclare Comrades Reserves31980–81, 1982–83, 1983–84
Harland & Wolff Sports31986–87, 1988–89, 1991–92
Comber Rec31957–58, 1961–62, 1998–99
Killyleagh Youth31997–98, 2000–01, 2001–02
Barn United31975–76, 1994–95, 2005–06
Drumaness Mills31992–93, 1993–94, 2013–14
Whitehouse Rec21936–37, 1937–38
Ewarts21931–32, 1958–59
Albert Foundry [I][2]21963–64, 1966–67
Chimney Corner21955–56, 1969–70
Lisburn Rangers21964–65, 1972–73
Downpatrick Rec21974–75, 1978–79
Cromac Albion21977–78, 1979–80
Standard Telephones & Cables21973–74, 1985–86
Kilmore Rec22003–04, 2004–05
Crumlin Star22012–13, 2017–18
Cliftonville Strollers11932–33
49th (Scouts) Old Boys11933–34
Border Regiment11934–35
Aircraft Works II11939–40
Shankill Young Men11944–45
Cogry Mills11948–49
Wolfhill Rec11952–53
Harland & Wolff S.M.D.11959–60
Royal Ulster Constabulary11960–61
Bethel Young Men11962–63
St Elizabeth's11965–66
Harland & Wolff Welders 'A'11968–69
Civil Service11981–82
Carreras Rothmans11984–85
Grove United11987–88
Abbey Villa11990–91
Ballynahinch United11996–97
Bangor Amateurs12002–03
Albert Foundry [II]12009–10
Derriaghy Cricket Club12011–12

* Including three as Shaftesbury.
** Including one as Victoria Works.

List of Border Cup winners

Season Winner Score Score Runner-up Notes
1936–37 Sirocco Works40Whitehouse Recreation
1937–38 Sirocco Works21Carnmoney Comrades
1938–39 Sirocco Works31Carnmoney Comrades
1939–40 Aircraft Works3149th (Scouts) Old Boys
1940–41 Victoria Works40North of Ireland Paper Mill
1941–42 Sirocco Works II10North of Ireland Paper Mill
1942–43 Victoria Works United41Shankill Young Men
1943–44 Belfast Abattoir21Scott's
1944–45 Sirocco Works10Queen's Island Woodworkers
1945–46 Sirocco Works53Carrick Rangers
1946–47 Short & Harland31Sirocco Works II
1947–48 Ormeau Rec21Hilden Rec
1948–49 Short & Harland21Dunmurry RecReplay after drawn game
1949–50 Albert Foundry [I][2]31Musgrave'sReplay after drawn game
1950–51 East Belfast41Musgrave's
1951–52 Wolfhill Rec21Sirocco WorksReplay after drawn game
1952–53 East Belfast10Astra
1953–54 Dunmurry Rec21Wolfhill RecReplay after drawn game
1954–55 Hilden Rec20East Belfast
1955–56 Short & Harland21Sirocco Works
1956–57 Comber Rec32Chimney Corner
1957–58 Comber Rec10Short & Harland
1958–59 Chimney Corner10Short & Harland
1959–60 Short & Harland43East Belfast
1960–61 Albert Foundry [I][2]70Sirocco Works
1961–62 Balmoral Recreation21St Elizabeth's
1962–63 Albert Foundry [I][2]64Short & Harland
1963–64 Islandmagee10Albert Foundry [I][2]
1964–65 Royal Ulster Constabulary21Islandmagee
1965–66 International Computers & Tabulators21St Elizabeth's
1966–67 Ards Rangers30Islandmagee
1967–68 Chimney Corner31Islandmagee
1968–69 Ewarts Rec20Royal Ulster ConstabularyReplay after drawn game
1969–70 Chimney Corner21Albert Foundry [I][2]
1970–71 Chimney Corner21Ards Rangers
1971–72 Chimney Corner10International Computers Limited
1972–73 Lisburn Rangers21Civil Service
1973–74 Chimney Corner41Royal Ulster Constabulary
1974–75 Chimney Corner10Standard Telephones & Cables
1975–76 Larne Tech Old Boys21Lisburn Rangers
1976–77 Downpatrick Rec71Ards Rangers
1977–78 Drumaness Mills10Downpatrick Rec
1978–79 Drumaness Mills20Barn United
1979–80 Ards RangersLarne Tech Old BoysWon on penalties, replay after drawn game
1980–81 Drumaness Mills41Killyleagh Youth
1981–82 Short Brothers22Post Office Social ClubWon on penalties
1982–83 Standard Telephones & Cables20Post Office Social Club
1983–84 Short Brothers---Trophy awarded, no final played
1984–85 Killyleagh Youth51Barn United
1985–86 Standard Telephones & Cables21Sirocco Works
1986–87 Drumaness Mills32Killyleagh Youth
1987–88 Post Office Social Club21Newtownabbey Town
1988–89 Cromac Albion21Harland & Wolff Sports
1989–90 Ballynahinch United22British TelecomWon on penalties
1990–91 Standard Telephones & Cables10Bangor Amateurs
1991–92 Dunmurry Rec32East Belfast
1992–93 Abbey Villa50Drumaness Mills
1993–94 FC Enkalon331st Liverpool RRWon on penalties
1994–95 1st Shankill Northern Ireland Supporters' Club31Islandmagee
1995–96 Coagh United33IslandmageeCoagh won 4–2 on penalties
1996–97 Killyleagh Youth20Crumlin United
1997–98 Larne Tech Old Boys21Killyleagh Youth
1998–99 Islandmagee31Killyleagh Youth
1999–2000 Northern Telecom20Ards Rangers
2000–01 Crumlin United30Drumaness Mills
2001–02 Larne Tech Old Boys---Trophy awarded, no final played
2002–03 Killyleagh Youth20Kilmore Rec
2003–04 Killyleagh Youth21Downpatrick
2004–05 Knockbreda21Albert Foundry [II]
2005–06 Newington Youth10Wellington Rec
2006–07 Dunmurry Rec30Kilmore Rec[6]
2007–08 Abbey Villa32Comber Rec
2008–09 Sport & Leisure Swifts31Kilmore Rec[7]
2009–10 Grove United11Dromara VillageGrove won 7–6 on penalties[8]
2010–11 Dromara Village21Nortel[9]
2011–12 Crumlin Star22IslandmageeCrumlin Star won 4–3 on penalties[10]
2012–13 Crumlin Star21Rathfriland Rangers
2013–14 Albert Foundry [II]20Kilmore Rec
2014–15 Ards Rangers31Downpatrick
2015–16 East Belfast10Dundonald
2016–17 Rathfriland Rangers21Downpatrick
2017–18 Crumlin Star41Downpatrick
2018–19 Crumlin Star11Ballynahinch OlympicAET, Crumlin Star won on penalties[11]


Performance by club

Team Wins Winning years
Chimney Corner71958–59, 1967–68, 1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1973–74, 1974–75
Short Brothers71939–40, 1946–47, 1948–49, 1955–56, 1959–60, 1981–82, 1983–84
Sirocco Works61936–37, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1941–42†, 1944–45, 1945–46
Drumaness Mills41977–78, 1978–79, 1980–81, 1986–87
Nortel41982–83, 1985–86, 1990–91, 1999–00
Killyleagh Youth41984–85, 1996–97, 2002–03, 2003–04
Crumlin Star42011–12, 2012–13, 2017–18, 2018–19
Albert Foundry [I][2]31949–50, 1960–61, 1962–63
Larne Tech Old Boys31975–76, 1997–98, 2001–02
Dunmurry Rec31953–54, 1991–92, 2006–07
Ards Rangers31966–67, 1979–80, 2014–15
East Belfast31950–51, 1952–53, 2015–16
Victoria Works (United)21940–41, 1942–43
Comber Rec21956–57, 1957–58
Islandmagee21963–64, 1998–99
Abbey Villa21992–93, 2007–08
Albert Foundry [II]21994–95, 2013–14
Belfast Abattoir11943–44
Ormeau Rec11947–48
Wolfhill Rec11951–52
Hilden Rec11954–55
Royal Ulster Constabulary11964–65
International Computers & Tabulators11965–66
Ewarts Rec11968–69
Lisburn Rangers11972–73
Downpatrick Rec11976–77
Ballynahinch United11981–82
Post Office Social Club11987–88
Cromac Albion11988–89
FC Enkalon11993–94
Coagh United11995–96
Crumlin United12000–01
Newington Youth12005–06
Sport & Leisure Swifts12008–09
Grove United12009–10
Dromara Village12010–11
Rathfriland Rangers12016–17

† includes 1 win by 2nd XI


  • H. Johnstone & G. Hamilton (n.d.) A Memorable Milestone: 75 Years of the Northern Amateur Football League
  • M. Brodie (ed.) (n.d.) The Northern Ireland Soccer Yearbook 1999/2000.
  • M. Brodie (ed.) (n.d.) The Northern Ireland Soccer Yearbook 2000/01.
  • M. Brodie (ed.) (n.d.) The Northern Ireland Soccer Yearbook 2001/02.
  • M. Brodie (ed.) (n.d.) The Northern Ireland Soccer Yearbook 2002/03.
  • M. Brodie (ed.) (n.d.) The Northern Ireland Soccer Yearbook 2003/04.
  • M. Brodie (ed.) (n.d.) The Northern Ireland Soccer Yearbook 2004/05.
  • M. Brodie (ed.) (n.d.) The Northern Ireland Soccer Yearbook 2006/07.
  • M. Brodie (ed.) (n.d.) The Northern Ireland Soccer Yearbook 2007/08.
  • M. Brodie (ed.) (n.d.) The Northern Ireland Soccer Yearbook 2008/2009. Belfast:Ulster Tatler Publications
  • Newington Youth Club F.C. Thursday 14 May 2009– Newington are the champions! Newington Football Club. Retrieved 15–05–09.
  • Northern Amateur Football League


  1. "Our Teams". Northern Amateur Football League. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  2. The original Albert Foundry club folded in 1978.
  3. The current Albert Foundry club was founded in 1981.
  4. Competition not completed after Irish Football Association upheld an appeal against the dismissal of two semi-finalists, but the final was subsequently not played.
  5. Coagh United won the final, but had to return the cup after it was discovered that they had fielded an ineligible player.
  6. "Cup kings Dunmurry are now shooting for a double". The Belfast Telegraph. 28 December 2006. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  7. "Sport take cup at their Leisure". The Belfast Telegraph. 30 December 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  8. "Dromara Village 1 Grove United 1". The Belfast Telegraph. 2 January 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  9. "Child's play for Dromara" (PDF). Mourne Observer. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  10. "Crumlin Star clinch Border Cup after penalty drama at Seaview". North Belfast News. 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  11. Belfast Live
  12. 2013 Border Regiment Cup Final Matchday Programme, pp. 44–45
  13. H. Johnstone & G. Hamilton (n.d.) A Memorable Milestone: 75 Years of the Northern Amateur Football League
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