|Level on pyramid||4–7 (Premier to Division 1C only)|
|Promotion to||NIFL Premier Intermediate League|
|Domestic cup(s)||Irish Cup|
IFA Intermediate Cup
|Current champions||Rathfriland Rangers (2022–23)|
|Most championships||East Belfast (9)|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Third Division is for reserve sides of teams in the first and second divisions. It has six sections: 3A to 3F.
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 (IFA) 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, 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.
|Team||No. of Wins||Winning years|
|East Belfast||9||1949–50, 1952–53, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1955–56, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1965–66, 1993–94|
|Sirocco Works||8||1926–27, 1934–35, 1935–36, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1939–40, 1947–48|
|Killyleagh Youth||8||1984–85, 1992–93, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2004–05|
|Dunville's**||6||1927–28, 1928–29, 1930–31, 1931–32, 1932–33, 1933–34|
|Chimney Corner||5||1961–62, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1973–74, 1974–75|
|Short Brothers†||5||1956–57, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1989–90|
|Newington Youth||5||2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13|
|Dunmurry Rec||4||1979–80, 1987–88, 1991–92, 1998–99|
|Drumaness Mills||4||1981–82, 1983–84, 1988–89, 2013–14|
|Victoria Works United*||3||1940–41, 1941–42, 1942–43|
|Shankill Young Men||3||1943–44, 1944–45, 1945–46|
|Downpatrick Rec.||3||1976–77, 1977–78, 1980–81|
|Nortel‡||3||1982–83, 1995–96, 1996–97|
|Ards Rangers||3||1997–98, 2011–12, 2014–15|
|Crumlin Star||3||2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19|
|North Cricket Club||2||1924–25, 1925–26|
|Carrick Rangers||2||1948–49, 1951–52|
|Albert Foundry [I]||2||1960–61, 1966–67|
|Royal Ulster Constabulary||2||1970–71, 1972–73|
|Cromac Albion||2||1985–86, 1986–87|
|Rathfriland Rangers||2||2021–22, 2022–23|
|Queen's Island Woodworkers||1||1946–47|
|International Computers Limited||1||1971–72|
|Harland & Wolff Welders||1||1978–79|
|Harland & Wolff Sports||1||1990–91|
* 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.
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).
|East Belfast||7||1946–47, 1949–50, 1950–51, 1951–52, 1956–57, 2006–07, 2018–19|
|Sirocco Works||6||1925–26, 1926–27, 1938–39, 1943–44, 1944–45, 1947–48|
|Immaculata||5||2008–09, 2010–11, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17|
|Dunville's*||4||1927–28, 1928–29, 1929–30, 1930–31|
|Victoria Works United**||3||1940–41, 1941–42, 1942–43|
|Balmoral Rec||3||1953–54, 1954–55, 1976–77|
|Ballyclare Comrades Reserves||3||1980–81, 1982–83, 1983–84|
|Harland & Wolff Sports||3||1986–87, 1988–89, 1991–92|
|Comber Rec||3||1957–58, 1961–62, 1998–99|
|Killyleagh Youth||3||1997–98, 2000–01, 2001–02|
|Barn United||3||1975–76, 1994–95, 2005–06|
|Drumaness Mills||3||1992–93, 1993–94, 2013–14|
|Whitehouse Rec||2||1936–37, 1937–38|
|Albert Foundry [I]||2||1963–64, 1966–67|
|Chimney Corner||2||1955–56, 1969–70|
|Lisburn Rangers||2||1964–65, 1972–73|
|Downpatrick Rec.||2||1974–75, 1978–79|
|Cromac Albion||2||1977–78, 1979–80|
|Standard Telephones & Cables||2||1973–74, 1985–86|
|Kilmore Rec||2||2003–04, 2004–05|
|Crumlin Star||2||2012–13, 2017–18|
|49th (Scouts) Old Boys||1||1933–34|
|Aircraft Works II||1||1939–40|
|Shankill Young Men||1||1944–45|
|Harland & Wolff S.M.D.||1||1959–60|
|Royal Ulster Constabulary||1||1960–61|
|Bethel Young Men||1||1962–63|
|Harland & Wolff Welders 'A'||1||1968–69|
|Albert Foundry [II]||1||2009–10|
|Derriaghy Cricket Club||1||2011–12|
* Including three as Shaftesbury.
** Including one as Victoria Works.
|1936–37||Sirocco Works||4||0||Whitehouse Recreation|
|1937–38||Sirocco Works||2||1||Carnmoney Comrades|
|1938–39||Sirocco Works||3||1||Carnmoney Comrades|
|1939–40||Aircraft Works||3||1||49th (Scouts) Old Boys|
|1940–41||Victoria Works||4||0||North of Ireland Paper Mill|
|1941–42||Sirocco Works II||1||0||North of Ireland Paper Mill|
|1942–43||Victoria Works United||4||1||Shankill Young Men|
|1944–45||Sirocco Works||1||0||Queen's Island Woodworkers|
|1945–46||Sirocco Works||5||3||Carrick Rangers|
|1946–47||Short & Harland||3||1||Sirocco Works II|
|1947–48||Ormeau Rec||2||1||Hilden Rec|
|1948–49||Short & Harland||2||1||Dunmurry Rec||Replay after drawn game|
|1949–50||Albert Foundry [I]||3||1||Musgrave's||Replay after drawn game|
|1951–52||Wolfhill Rec||2||1||Sirocco Works||Replay after drawn game|
|1953–54||Dunmurry Rec||2||1||Wolfhill Rec||Replay after drawn game|
|1954–55||Hilden Rec||2||0||East Belfast|
|1955–56||Short & Harland||2||1||Sirocco Works|
|1956–57||Comber Rec||3||2||Chimney Corner|
|1957–58||Comber Rec||1||0||Short & Harland|
|1958–59||Chimney Corner||1||0||Short & Harland|
|1959–60||Short & Harland||4||3||East Belfast|
|1960–61||Albert Foundry [I]||7||0||Sirocco Works|
|1961–62||Balmoral Recreation||2||1||St Elizabeth's|
|1962–63||Albert Foundry [I]||6||4||Short & Harland|
|1963–64||Islandmagee||1||0||Albert Foundry [I]|
|1964–65||Royal Ulster Constabulary||2||1||Islandmagee|
|1965–66||International Computers & Tabulators||2||1||St Elizabeth's|
|1968–69||Ewarts Rec||2||0||Royal Ulster Constabulary||Replay after drawn game|
|1969–70||Chimney Corner||2||1||Albert Foundry [I]|
|1970–71||Chimney Corner||2||1||Ards Rangers|
|1971–72||Chimney Corner||1||0||International Computers Limited|
|1972–73||Lisburn Rangers||2||1||Civil Service|
|1973–74||Chimney Corner||4||1||Royal Ulster Constabulary|
|1974–75||Chimney Corner||1||0||Standard Telephones & Cables|
|1975–76||Larne Tech Old Boys||2||1||Lisburn Rangers|
|1976–77||Downpatrick Rec.||7||1||Ards Rangers|
|1977–78||Drumaness Mills||1||0||Downpatrick Rec.|
|1978–79||Drumaness Mills||2||0||Barn United|
|1979–80||Ards Rangers||Larne Tech Old Boys||Won on penalties, replay after drawn game|
|1980–81||Drumaness Mills||4||1||Killyleagh Youth|
|1981–82||Short Brothers||2||2||Post Office Social Club||Won on penalties|
|1982–83||Standard Telephones & Cables||2||0||Post Office Social Club|
|1983–84||Short Brothers||-||-||-||Trophy awarded, no final played|
|1984–85||Killyleagh Youth||5||1||Barn United|
|1985–86||Standard Telephones & Cables||2||1||Sirocco Works|
|1986–87||Drumaness Mills||3||2||Killyleagh Youth|
|1987–88||Post Office Social Club||2||1||Newtownabbey Town|
|1988–89||Cromac Albion||2||1||Harland & Wolff Sports|
|1989–90||Ballynahinch United||2||2||British Telecom||Won on penalties|
|1990–91||Standard Telephones & Cables||1||0||Bangor Amateurs|
|1991–92||Dunmurry Rec||3||2||East Belfast|
|1992–93||Abbey Villa||5||0||Drumaness Mills|
|1993–94||FC Enkalon||3||3||1st Liverpool RR||Won on penalties|
|1994–95||1st Shankill Northern Ireland Supporters' Club||3||1||Islandmagee|
|1995–96||Coagh United||3||3||Islandmagee||Coagh won 4–2 on penalties|
|1996–97||Killyleagh Youth||2||0||Crumlin United|
|1997–98||Larne Tech Old Boys||2||1||Killyleagh Youth|
|1999–2000||Northern Telecom||2||0||Ards Rangers|
|2000–01||Crumlin United||3||0||Drumaness Mills|
|2001–02||Larne Tech Old Boys||-||-||-||Trophy awarded, no final played|
|2002–03||Killyleagh Youth||2||0||Kilmore Rec|
|2004–05||Knockbreda||2||1||Albert Foundry [II]|
|2005–06||Newington Youth||1||0||Wellington Rec|
|2006–07||Dunmurry Rec||3||0||Kilmore Rec|||
|2007–08||Abbey Villa||3||2||Comber Rec|
|2008–09||Sport & Leisure Swifts||3||1||Kilmore Rec|||
|2009–10||Grove United||1||1||Dromara Village||Grove won 7–6 on penalties|
|2011–12||Crumlin Star||2||2||Islandmagee||Crumlin Star won 4–3 on penalties|
|2012–13||Crumlin Star||2||1||Rathfriland Rangers|
|2013–14||Albert Foundry [II]||2||0||Kilmore Rec|
|2018–19||Crumlin Star||1||1||Ballynahinch Olympic||AET, Crumlin Star won on penalties|
|2019–20||Ballynahinch Olympic||2||2||Rathfriland Rangers||AET, Ballynahinch Olympic won on penalties|
|2021-22||Derriaghy Cricket Club||1||0||Rathfriland Rangers|
|Chimney Corner||7||1958–59, 1967–68, 1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1973–74, 1974–75|
|Short Brothers||7||1939–40, 1946–47, 1948–49, 1955–56, 1959–60, 1981–82, 1983–84|
|Sirocco Works||6||1936–37, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1941–42†, 1944–45, 1945–46|
|Drumaness Mills||4||1977–78, 1978–79, 1980–81, 1986–87|
|Nortel||4||1982–83, 1985–86, 1990–91, 1999–00|
|Killyleagh Youth||4||1984–85, 1996–97, 2002–03, 2003–04|
|Crumlin Star||4||2011–12, 2012–13, 2017–18, 2018–19|
|Albert Foundry [I]||3||1949–50, 1960–61, 1962–63|
|Larne Tech Old Boys||3||1975–76, 1997–98, 2001–02|
|Dunmurry Rec||3||1953–54, 1991–92, 2006–07|
|Ards Rangers||3||1966–67, 1979–80, 2014–15|
|East Belfast||3||1950–51, 1952–53, 2015–16|
|Victoria Works (United)||2||1940–41, 1942–43|
|Comber Rec||2||1956–57, 1957–58|
|Abbey Villa||2||1992–93, 2007–08|
|Albert Foundry [II]||2||1994–95, 2013–14|
|Royal Ulster Constabulary||1||1964–65|
|International Computers & Tabulators||1||1965–66|
|Post Office Social Club||1||1987–88|
|Sport & Leisure Swifts||1||2008–09|
|Cerriaghy Cricket Club FC||1||2021-22|
† includes 1 win by 2nd XI