Manorhamilton Rangers reach for Club Mark
Manorhamilton Rangers AFC was formed in 1980 by a group of their dedicated locals wishing to bring soccer to the North Leitrim enclave of Manorhamilton.
The club play at the Bee Park grounds in Manorhamilton and its primary colours are blue and black stripes, similar to Inter Milan and in recent years yellow and blue has become their away colours.
Manorhamilton Rangers AFC entered Division 4 of the Sligo/Leitrim Junior Soccer League and in its first season in existence the club won this division. Not content with this Manorhamilton Rangers AFC won Division 3 in 1981 and Division 2 in 1982. This rapid rise to the top of Sligo/Leitrim Leagues continued in the 1988/89 season when Manorhamilton Rangers confirmed as Champions of the Premier Division. The Premier Division was again won in 2001/02, 2006/07 and 2013/14 seasons securing promotion to the top league, the Sligo Leitrim Super League where they have remained since.
Manorhamilton Rangers most successful season in the Sligo/Leitrim Super League was 2020/2021 where the club finished as runners-up in the campaign during which they also won the Glasshouse Cup.
In Season 2007/08 moved the club on to the national stage as they competed in the FAI Umbro Junior Cup. The junior team went on to claim the scalps of notable teams such as Mervue United and Douglas Hall before being narrowly beaten in the quarter finals by Corduff FC of Dublin. They also got to the quarter finals of the Connacht Junior Cup in the same year.
With the early success of the junior team, it was decided to set in place an underage structure to encourage young boys and girls play football from the North Leitrim area. Under the auspices of the Sligo/Leitrim Youth Schoolboys & Schoolgirls league Manorhamilton Rangers now have teams which cater for boys and girls from U-8, U-10, U-12, U-14, U-16, and U-18. They also run a successful academy.
Under the careful guidance of hard working committee the early youth teams went from strength to strength. Success has been achieved by various teams. Season 1991/92 will forever live in the memory of North Leitrim Soccer lovers, when Manorhamilton Rangers U-17 team retained the league title won the previous year and then went on to claim the clubs first provincial title when they beat the mighty Galway side Mervue Utd.
Manorhamilton Rangers U-16 boys team under the guidance of Billy Brick and Gabriel McSharry Snr travelled to Blackpool in the 2007/08 season to compete in an International Team Tournament. They went on to excel themselves beating some of the best English, American and Scottish teams on the way to the final where they were narrowly beaten after extra-time and penalties. On returning home the U-16 team went on to claim the Sligo/Leitrim U-16 League title for 2007/08.
Manorhamilton Rangers U15 boys claimed another Connacht title for the club in 2018 beating Tuam Celtic in a pulsating encounter 3-2 having coming from behind twice with current Irish International player Muireann Devaney netting the winner.
During its growth as a club Manorhamilton Rangers teams have won many league titles and cups and have excelled at local and provincial soccer. The club has provided many players to the Sligo Leitrim representative squads and has become a feeder club to League of Ireland club Sligo Rovers with several of the clubs’ players progressing to the Rovers underage setup every season.
The club is particularly pleased with its promotion of girls soccer and they are to the forefront encouraging all girls to participate through our various girls teams and Aviva Soccer Sisters and FAI soccer camps. Our most notable female players receiving international caps with Ailbhe Clancy representing Ireland at the World University Games and Muirean Devaney captaining Ireland U19’s in the recent International against Northern Ireland. Both ladies came through the club’s underage structure.
Off the field the Sligo/Leitrim Schoolboys & Schoolgirls League acknowledged the fine work being done by Manorhamilton coaches over the years and presented Joe and Bernie Cleary with a Special Merit trophy for their outstanding contribution to youth soccer. Joe Cleary was also presented with an award for being the first Leitrim Clubman to hold the position of Sligo/Leitrim League Chairman. Joe Cleary also represented Connacht FA on the FAI Council.
In 2015 the FAI honoured both Bernie Cleary (outstanding contribution to football) and Dave Cummins (FAI PRO of Year) at their AGM. The club has also been nominated for Club of the Year on three occasions and were in the last eight in the country al all three occasions.
The club from its early existence has always adhered to good governance and best practice. The coaches and managers are embracing the coach education pathway and they are fully supportive and implement the FAI Player Development Programme.
The club encourages full inclusion from all sectors of our community regardless of ability. The club is renowned as a community club and enjoys great support in the locality due to the work put in by the club.
The club are delighted to have achieved the FAI Club Mark Entry Level Award and special thanks must go to Bernie Cleary and Dave Cummins for overseeing. Also thanks to all the coaches, managers, players and supporters who are fully behind the successful and continuous development of the club. Thanks also to Damon Kearney Leitrim’s FAI Development Officer who continues to ensure soccer is promoted and developed in this county.
The FAI Club Mark is free and optional for clubs and aims to:
- Improve the management of clubs ‘off the field’
- Establish and promote best practice
- Empower and support clubs
- Recognise and reward clubs for achieving high standards
- Increase a club’s capacity to operate effectively and grow football in communities throughout Ireland.
If your club is interested in learning more about the FAI Club Mark please complete this short Registration Form.