Coleraine is one of the most successful clubs, and the best-supported club, outside of the "Belfast Big Two" of Linfield and Glentoran, having won the Irish League title once (in 1973/74) and the Irish Cup on five occasions, most recently in 2002/03. It is also the only Irish League club to have won two successive all-Ireland competitions, lifting the Blaxnit Cup in 1969 and 1970.
Coleraine Football Club was founded in June 1927 at a meeting in the local Orange hall. The club was formed out of a merger between two local sides, Coleraine Olympic and Coleraine Alexandra. The original club colours were all white, hence the club's original nickname - "The Lilywhites". The new club secured its first trophy in the 1931/32 season, defeating Ballymena 3-0 at Solitude to win the Gold Cup.
In 1948, Coleraine reached its first Irish Cup final, going down 3-0 to Linfield. 1953 brought another appearance in the final and another defeat, again to Linfield, this time by five goals to nil. The 1950s saw the City Cup won for the first time (1953-54) and a second triumph in the Gold Cup (1958).
In 1961, chairman Jack Doherty persuaded Bertie Peacock to sign for Coleraine after he left Celtic. It would prove to be one of the most important transfers in the club's history. In 1965, Coleraine won the Irish Cup for the first time, defeating Glenavon 2-1 at Windsor Park, with goals from Shaun Dunlop and Derek Irwin. Coleraine thus gained its first experience of European football, against Soviet outfit Dynamo Kiev. Coleraine also won the first two Blaxnit all-Ireland cups in 1969 and 1970. Coleraine faced Kilmarnock in the 1970 Fairs Cup, and after a 1-1 draw in the first leg, the Bannsiders pulled off an historic 3-2 victory thanks to a Des Dickson hat-trick.
In 1972, the Irish Cup was won again, this time by beating Portadown 2-1, with goals from Des Dickson and Ivan Murray. The Holy Grail of the Gibson Cup was finally captured in 1974. Under the management of Bertie Peacock, the squad consisting of the likes of Des Dickson, Johnny McCurdy, Ivan Murray, Michael Guy and Vince Magee clinched the title ahead of Portadown. Bertie Peacock resigned in 1974 and Ivan Murray and Johnny McCurdy took over the reins. Murray continued as manager until 1978 and during his spell in charge the Irish Cup was won twice more - both times against Linfield. In 1975, it took three games before a goal from Jim "Chang" Smith in the second replay proved decisive. The 1977 victory was more emphatic with Liam Beckett, Des Dickson, Frankie Moffatt and Michael Guy scoring to give Coleraine a 4-1 victory. It was to be the club's last major trophy for 26 years.
In the 1980s there were two more cup finals, in 1982 and 1986, ending in defeats to Linfield and Glentoran respectively. For three seasons in a row in the mid-1980s the club finished second in the league behind Linfield, but in the first part of the 1990s Coleraine struggled. In 1995 they dropped into the First Division. Under Kenny Shiels, Coleraine won the inaugural First Division title and in its first season back in the top flight, won the Ulster Cup and came agonisingly close to the title, being pipped late on by Crusaders.
After a poor start to the 1999-2000 season, Shiels resigned and was replaced by Marty Quinn, who rallied the team to finish second in the league behind Linfield and reach the Irish Cup semi-finals and the Coca-Cola Cup final. The next 2 seasons saw Coleraine finish fourth both times - potential title challenges being ruined by inconsistency. In 2002-03, Coleraine ended the season in third place and reached their first Irish Cup Final since 1986. In the final, they faced Glentoran as massive underdogs as the east Belfast side were looking to complete a clean sweep of trophies. After an early strike from Gareth McAuley was harshly ruled out, Coleraine kept going and scored through Jody Tolan. Despite increasing Glentoran pressure, Coleraine held on and the trophy famine was over. The following season saw the club reach the Irish Cup final again, but this time it was Glentoran who emerged triumphant.
The club’s well-publicised financial problems had already overshadowed much of the 2003-04 season and at its end the club was forced to operate on a reduced budget, with several top players leaving. Despite this a top six finish was still achieved. The summer of 2005 saw more budget cuts and several big names leaving the Showgrounds, but this time the main concern for fans was the very future of the club. In August, the Inland Revenue filed for a winding-up order against Coleraine due to debts of £1.3 million. On 9th August, Coleraine played local neighbours Portstewart in a friendly at the Showgrounds, in what many believed would be the club’s last ever match. But happily for all involved with Coleraine, representatives of the supporters' group, the Friends of Coleraine, worked tirelessly to persuade the High Court to postpone the hearing to allow them to put together a business plan to show that the club could be viably run. Eventually the court ruled in the club’s favour and they were allowed to enter administration and a steering committee was set up to run the club. After these traumatic events, the players managed to deliver a trophy to their loyal fans, defeating Instsitute to win the North West Senior Cup for the 17th time. Premier League survival was ensured on the pitch and in June 2006, the Friends of Coleraine formally took control of the club and appointed a new board. The 2006-07 season ended with a creditable seventh-place finish. The current playing squad is made up almost exclusively of players from Coleraine and the surrounding area.
Coleraine were drawn in Group D of the CIS Insurance Cup with Institute, Newry City and Portadown. Coleraine went on to draw home and away with Institute, suffering losses in their other four games and not qualifying for the knock-out stages.
They were drawn with Tobermore Utd in the Fifth Round of the JJB Sports Irish Cup, a tie which they won 1-0 at home, setting up a sixth round encounter at home to Brantwood of the Second Division which was won 5-1. They now progress to the quarter-finals away to Institute.
Several changes to the squad were made in January 2008, with Paddy McLaughlin, Matthew Crossan, and Marty Hunter arriving from Finn Harps and Larne respectively, and Darren Boyce (to Glentoran), Paul Gaston (to Limavady) and Noel Anderson (to Larne) leaving the club.
Coleraine finished 9th in the Carnegie Irish Premier Division, with 40 points from their 30 games.
Coleraine lost to Linfield FC in the 2008 Irish Cup Final by a scoreline of 2-1 at Windsor Park on 3rd May. Paddy McLaughlin scored Coleraine's goal. Aside from this they played some terrific football and were unlucky to lose. Perhaps the best performance of the match came from Tommy McCallion. He was a tower of strength in the centre of the field with all of Coleraine's best play flowing threw him, so much so that Linfield playmaker Paul McAreavey was substituted at half-time. The players were greatly acknowledged by thousands of terrific travelling supporters.
Long seriving manager Marty Quinn resigned from his position 3 weeks after the Irish cup final defeat to Linfield. He has taken the helm at fellow IFA Premiership side Bangor F.C which is closer to his home. On June 2nd 2008, Davy Platt, Quinn's former assistant was unveiled as the new Coleraine manager. He will be assisted by former Coleraine player Geoff Ferris, who was previously maanger of Tobermore United.Platt has made a promising start to his managerial career at The Showgrounds, with Coleraine topping the JJB Premiership, albeit for a brief period following a 3-1 win over Marty Quinn's Bangor.
† Won by Coleraine Reserves
† Won by Coleraine Reserves
Garvagh, Kilrea and District CSC
Railway Enders CSC