Causeway Coast and Glens Mayor recognises 50th Anniversary of the Coleraine and District League

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens held a reception for the Coleraine and District League Management Committee who recently celebrated their 50th anniversary competing in affiliated football.
Back row, from left: Maurice Bradley, League PRO who played in the first league (Castlerock and Coleraine) for Tuf Shoe Factory at 14 years old; the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Steven Callaghan; Committee member Davy Shiels. Seated, from left, Committee member Leo Quinn, Dessie Bradley, founder member and League Chairman; Dr Tom Stark, founder member and League Treasurer. Credit McAuley MultimediaBack row, from left: Maurice Bradley, League PRO who played in the first league (Castlerock and Coleraine) for Tuf Shoe Factory at 14 years old; the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Steven Callaghan; Committee member Davy Shiels. Seated, from left, Committee member Leo Quinn, Dessie Bradley, founder member and League Chairman; Dr Tom Stark, founder member and League Treasurer. Credit McAuley Multimedia
Back row, from left: Maurice Bradley, League PRO who played in the first league (Castlerock and Coleraine) for Tuf Shoe Factory at 14 years old; the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Steven Callaghan; Committee member Davy Shiels. Seated, from left, Committee member Leo Quinn, Dessie Bradley, founder member and League Chairman; Dr Tom Stark, founder member and League Treasurer. Credit McAuley Multimedia

Cllr Steven Callaghan entertained members of the committee which included two founder members and another member who has been with the league since its inception as a player, coach, manager and administrator.

The Coleraine and District League started off life as the Castlerock and Coleraine League in 1968-69 following requests from teams in the local area. The league, at its inception, was not affiliated to either the North-West FA or the Irish FA, but such was the demand for football in the area, the league soon grew in numbers and stature.

The first league champions back in the 68-69 season were Portstewart, and Macosquin were runners-up. However, as the Castlerock and Coleraine District League, they remained unaffiliated. That changed in 1972 when the league were granted membership by the IFA and the North-West FA. In the 1973-74 season the league, now known as the Coleraine and District League, was officially born.

League Champions that year were Coleraine Crusaders, runners-up, East End. Challenge Cup winners, Coleraine Crusaders, runners-up, East End. Morning league Champions, Ballyrashane Coronation, runners-up, Dervock United. Morning Challenge Cup winners, Ballyrashane Coronation, runners-up, Newtowne. Youth League Champions, Coleraine Rangers, runners-up West End. Youth Challenge Cup winners, Ballymoney Athletic Reserves, runners-up, Breakaway 73. Wilson League winners, Ballybogey, runners-up, Coleraine United.

It was a time of change for the league too with the formation of a Premier Afternoon League and a Morning League along with their change of name. Further change came in the 75-76 season as the popularity of the league saw it expand to 40 teams, two afternoon leagues and two morning leagues.

The Founding League Management Committee were: Chairman, Jimmy Graham, Secretary, Dessie Bradley, Treasurer/Assistant Secretary, Jim White, Match Secretary and Vice-Chairman, Dr Tom Stark, Assistant Match Secretary, Jackie Clinton. Committee: Herbie Patterson, L. Graham, and Will Martin. Dr Tom Stark and Dessie Bradley, current Chairman, and Jimmy Graham, Honorary President, are still connected to the league in its 50th anniversary.

The founding clubs of the new Coleraine and District League were:

Afternoon League – Aghadowey, Ballycastle United, Bridgend United, Coleraine Crusaders, East End, Macosquin, Maghera Harps, Mosside, Loyola II’s, NUU Reserves, Tobermore United and Upperlands. Premier League Division Two – Ballybogey, Brookvale, Carnany Rovers, Corkey United, Coleraine United, Dunaghy, Ibrox United, Kilrea Rovers, Moneymore, Portrush, Ringsend Swifts, and Tobermore City.

Morning League – Agivey, Armoy United, Coleraine Rangers, East Side, Macosquin Reserves, Newtowne, NUU Colts, Portstewart Reserves, Roe View Swifts, Windyhall Rangers.

Expanding the league, clubs like Garvagh, Queen’s Park, Dervock United, Coagh United, Desertmartin, Magilligan, Lislane, Ballyspallen, Roe Valley, Magherafelt Sky Blues, Ballyrashane Coronation, Ballymoney Rovers, Maghera Harps, Toberkeigh United, Temple Bar, joined at various stages.

The League Chairman Dessie Bradley thanked the Mayor for the kind invitation and reception and apologised for committee members David White, Keith Scott, Johnny Evans and Kyle Cauley who had other commitments on the night.