SSE Airtricity League Premier Division Grounds: Worst to Best

Our league has plenty of grounds with their own unique qualities. While some of them are kips they’re our kips. They come in many different shapes and sizes and all have their own individual feel.

So, today I will take on the task of ranking the grounds in the Premier Division.

I took the interior look and facilities of the grounds into consideration and won’t be swayed to heavily on things like location and parking. I also won’t be picking on things like stewards and things like that because everyone has different experiences.

While this is a Premier Division ranking from worst to best, keep an eye on the Big Kick Off as a First Division version will be up soon.

As always this is the opinion of one idiot on the internet. Let us know your shouts in the comment section below.

Oriel Park (Dundalk)

I would take a guess that a lot of people will have my next entry in this position. For my money this is the worst ground in the league.

A grand main stand is the somewhat diamond holding this mess together. Oriel Park is home to the worst away section in the league. That’s not even up for debate, I’ve stood there many a time and it’s a mess.

The artificial pitch is less than stellar, and they have this weird stand just randomly attached to the other side of the main stand.

The Shedstand can mustard up a cracking atmosphere on a big night and you can pack plenty in with good amount of room for standing. That’s all it really has going for it.

What makes this all worse is Dundalk are our current reigning champions. The poster team for the league has a complete eye sore of a ground. That’s why I have Oriel Park as the lowest ranked ground, sorry lads.

Those reported plans of a revamp need to get sorted soon.

Oriel Park approved to host Dundalk's Champions League match in July - Talk  of the Town

Finn Park (Finn Harps)

In theory Finn Park probably is the worst ground in the Premier Division. But Dundalk being the current champions does it for me.

The main stand is a tin shed with some seats underneath it. They even have the nerve to charge you extra to sit under it.

The other two sides open to the public are open to the harsh elements of Donegal.

It’s a nightmare place to visit and Harps never make it easy for anybody. When them four lads start banging that drum and shouting “Finn Harps” it can sound alright. In fairness the Northey accent can make anything sound imposing.

Work on their new stadium is stalled but it would be fantastic for the club. Along with being badly needed.

Finn Harps move off the bottom after draw with Derry City

Tolka Park (Shelbourne)

One of the former jewels in the crown of the league is falling apart before our very eyes.

It’s a shame to see a ground full of history fall into such a bad state.

Both stands behind the goals are certified death traps. With one of them being this weird half a stand that sends the OCD folks amongst us into a meltdown.

The away end is big and is a bit of craic when full, the cover really helps. But like the rest of the ground is just falling apart.

In fairness to Shels the pitch itself never seems to have any issues and the main stand is alright.

They just need to execute the premisses ASAP. It will be a shame to see a famous ground lock its gates but as Old Jewish Man famously said in the Simpsons “The old grey mare she ain’t what she used to be.”

The Cat and Cage around the corner is a good boozer all the same.

New Women/Girls Academy Director of Football - Shelbourne FC

Dalymount Park (Bohemians)

Now we’re getting into toss up territory.

The next two or three selections were the ones that I changed around in my head a few times. I will explain my decision for each.

You can apply a lot of what was said about Tolka and apply it here.

It’s a ground that has witnessed momentous occasions in Irish football. My grandad hasn’t been in Dalymount since the 80s and if he walked in today not much would be different. The self-confessed ‘home of Irish football’ just never got a face lift over the years.

Only two stands remain open to fans. The Jodi stand is one of the best main stands in the league. Then you have the away end. While covered its almost eye level with the pitch.

The pitch itself has random bumps around the goalmouths too while we’re on the subject.

While not the worst ground to visit the redevelopment is badly needed.

You can respect the history and the charm of the place but it’s another run-down ground.

The cool murals and bar outside will always give it brownie points for me.

FAI statement on Dalymount Park incidents | Football Association of Ireland

Richmond Park (St. Patricks Athletic)

Now I’m a proud Pats fan have been for a long time and will continue to be until I leave this planet.

I also love Richmond Park. It’s the place that has giving me some of my best football memories. Me and my mates take up our regular spot in the Camac every home game and sometimes that’s all that gets me through a tough week.

However, if us Saints fans are honest with ourselves Richmond like other aspects of the club is in decline. The shed is gone, and the away end is open. As much as my heart breaks seeing the visiting riff raff get lashed on it’s not a good look.

Another ground with a good main stand bar the Ryanair leg room between the seats. On a nice day the stand behind the goal and Camac are good craic with regular fans. The fact you can use all four sides for a big domestic game really plumps Richmond up.

The move into a new stadium across the road is now seemingly dead in the water. While it would be hard to say goodbye to Richmond on a personal note, it would have done wonders for the club.

Richmond Park is so confined and tight there isn’t much ways it can be expanded on.

Supporters bus details for St. Patrick's Athletic away

RSC (Waterford)

Short entry this one.

There isn’t much wrong with the RSC. It has two very nice stands on either side that are covered.

The away end is right beside the home fans which makes for some good interactions to say the least.

Their pitch is always to a good standard and no complaints on facilities really.

But that bleeding running track around it can get in the bin. I know it has to be there but as a football fan it’s a major pet hate. You are miles away from the action and it does hurt the appeal.

Away from that it’s always a pleasant ground to visit.

Waterford chief Lee Power warns Premier Division clubs could refuse to play  under current relegation proposals – The Irish Sun

Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium (Derry City)

Derry returned to the redeveloped Brandywell Stadium back in 2018.

You can really see the work that has gone into it. Derry now have a cracking ground to call home.

The new stand at the dug out and long curved stand are obviously the grounds best features.

However, as someone who is a grass man in more ways than one. The 3G pitch in the Brandywell is a great playing surface.

While in certain spots you do feel far away from the action it isn’t as bad as the old dog track days.

Naming the ground in the memory of Derry legend Ryan McBride was also a lovely touch for a true local hero.

Brandywell Stadium to be named after Ryan McBride - BBC News

The Showgrounds (Sligo Rovers)

A club that just requires the respect of the League of Ireland community. The people of Sligo really back their club and it is a credit to behold.

They also have a home ground to be very proud of.

A very good covered main stand and open stand behind the goal. Like the one in Richmond Park it really comes into its own in warmer weather.

Even the concourse at the entrance of the home end is very spacious and well put together. Which is home to the best shop in the league, you could almost do a weekly shop in it.

Sligo also have a training facility on the property which is a real bonus to the club.

They can also open all four sides if needed and can pack the house for big games.

The away end and Forza end of the ground are the only thing really letting down the ground overall but even they aren’t the worst.

Even if the football is poor you can take in the lovely scenery.

Supporters bus details for Sligo Rovers away

Turners Cross (Cork City)

Another one that might divide opinion.

It was a tough call with the top two it could of went either way.

You really can’t fault Turner’s Cross at all. It’s the only ground in the league that has four sides that are all covered and seated.

Easy to create an atmosphere and on a big night of football there is probably no better grounds to be at.

A good tight ground really nothing wrong with Turner’s Cross. Easily could top a list like this with zero complaints from my end.

Supporters bus to Turners Cross | Galway United

Tallaght Stadium (Shamrock Rovers)

*Insert joke about it being a council ground here*

I know they don’t own the ground before you start. It’s the main ammunition us Pats fans use against them every time we play them.

Let’s take the ground for what it is.

It has three big covered stands that are all seated. With a fourth one on the way which will really cement its place as the best in the league.

Pitch is normally like a carpet and the facilities are very decent. A bar inside is a big plus for members and season ticket holders.

While it can be freezing on the best of days the new South stand does block most of the wind coming down from the mountains. But can’t really blame that on Rovers.

Best ground in Dublin and the best ground in the Premier Division for my money.

Plans are in place for Tallaght Stadium to be used as a 20,000 capacity  live music venue | LovinDublin

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