While Dundalk’s 3-2 victory over Shelbourne tonight brought an end to the club’s more than six month wait for a league victory, it doesn’t rank in the top 50 when it comes to the club’s longest period between wins in the League of Ireland.

A combination of lockdown due to Covid-19, poor form since the league restarted on July 31st and even having a game called off against Derry City due to international call-ups meant it was exactly 190 days (6 month and 6 days) between the Lilywhites beating Finn Harps 4-0 in Ballybofey on March 6th and tonight’s success under new interim head coach Filippo Giovagnoli.

While all fans of the Oriel Park outfit will be happy to be back to winning ways, there have been much longer droughts in the club’s history including two that stretched beyond the 10 month mark.

In both the mid-40s and mid-30s, the club went exactly 309 days (10 months, 6 days) between league wins. There were two others that runs that also stretched to 302 days (9 months, 28 days) but the make-up of the seasons in previous years has much to do with this.

In bygone days it was not uncommon to end the league with other tournaments such as the FAI Cup or Shield and start with the Shield again or Leinster or City Cups the following season.

For example, when Dundalk went 309 days without a league win between beating St James’ Gate 4-2 at home on December 18th 1932 and their first league win of the following season – a 2-0 win at home to Shamrock Rovers on October 22nd 1933 – they had actually won back-to-back league games. In between, however, they had played 35 other matches, mainly in the Shields, with 21 games in 1932/33 season after that St James’ Gate victory and 14 at the start of the following season before their next league outing against Rovers.

In their other run of 309 days without a league win between beating Bohemians 3-1 at home on February 24th 1946 and the 3-0 win at home to Limerick on December 29th 1946 the club had only failed to win two matches at the end of the 1945/46 season and four at the start 46/47 season. In between, however, they had beaten the likes of Bohs in the City Cup and Rovers and Drumcondra in the Shield.

The fact that five of the club’s nine longest periods between league wins were in the 1940s, with two in the 30s, and one apiece in the 20s and 50s, tells you all you need to know about how the schedule had an impact.

The 10th longest drought in the club’s history is actually from the 1970s, however, with 267 days (8 months, 25 days) between the last win of the 1970/71 season – a 4-1 win over Sligo Rovers – and the first win of the 71/72 season courtesy of a 1-0 win at home to Athlone Town.

The full list of the 51 runs without a league win longer than the current one can be found below but perhaps the more recent ones were the 207 day period (6 months, 23 days) between the last win of the 84/85 season – a 1-0 win at home to Longford on March 28th 1985 courtesy of a Billy Wright goal – and the first win of the 85/86 season on October 20th 1985 when Dundalk beat Shelbourne 3-0 at Harold’s Cross courtesy of a Dessie Gorman double and a Paddy Dunning own goal.

A more recent drought without a league victory came to an end a little shy of 21 years ago. There were 206 days (6 months, 25 days) between the 3-2 win over Sligo Rovers on February 11th 1999 and the 2-1 win away to Kilkenny City on September 4th 1999. David Ward scored in both those victories but it was a bleak period that saw the Lilywhites go 13 matches without winning a league game with two further defeats thrown in away to Wayside Celtic in the Leinster Senior Cup and at home to Longford Town in the League Cup for good measure. That run of just one point from a possible 39 on offer coincided with the club’s relegation to the First Division for the first time in its history.

There were others runs of 204 days without a win twice in the 70s and 200 days and 197 days respectively in the the 80s which thankfully don’t look like being surpassed any time soon unless something like a pandemic intervenes.

While the recent run is a club record for longest period without a win in a single season, it almost fails to compare with the club record 19 league matches without a win (10 at the end of the 02/03 season and nine at the start of the 2003 season) during the ill-fated Trevor Anderson era. The club went exactly 200 days between beating Dublin City 4-2 on November 18th 2002 courtesy of doubles from Garry Haylock and Martin Reilly and the 3-1 win over Limerick on June 5th 2003 when a trio of locals – Simon Kelly, Alan McCartney and David Ward – were on target.

The previous longest spell without a win in the same season was the 159 day period between beating St Patrick’s Athletic 2-1 away courtesy of a Marc Griffin double on May 21st 2012 and the 2-1 win over Bray Wanderers at Oriel Park on October 26th 2012 when Michael Rafter and Barry Conlon were on target. While the winless run ended tonight had only been four matches, on that occasion it was 18.

The current 190 day run had also been equaled twice with a similar run to the one which ended tonight also coming to an end in the 1975/76 season when Jimmy Dainty’s goal on October 5th 1975 was enough to beat Athlone Town. It’s doubtful many will recall the other 190 day spell without a league win which ended on August 23rd 1931 courtesy of a 2-0 win at home to St James’ Gate.

There were other long periods without a win in the 70s, 80s and 90s – 182 days between the last win of 97/98 and the first of 98/99 and 176 days on three occasions between the last win of 86/87 and the first of 87/88, the last win of 91/92 and the first of 92/93 and the last win of 77/78 and the first of 78/79.

Even the year Dundalk went on to win the league 30 years ago, it took 172 days between the last win of the 1993/94 season and the first of that memorable 94/95 campaign when Dermot Keely’s side defied all the odds to lift the trophy in dramatic circumstances with a final day win over Galway Utd after Derry City had slipped up against Athlone Town.

Thankfully a new entry to the top 50 has been avoided. The full list of the club’s 51 longest periods without a league win can be found below…

  • 309 days (10 months, 6 days). Last win of 45/46 season (3-1 at home to Bohs on February 24th 1946) and first of 1946/47 season (3-0 at home to Limerick December 29th 1946).
  • 309 days (10 months, 5 days). Last win of 32/33 season (4-2 at home to St James’ Gate on December 18th 1932) and first of 33/34 season (2-0 at home to Rovers on October 22nd 1933). Actually won back to back league matches. (21 matches that season after the last league game, mainly in the Shield and 14 at the start of the following season).
  • 302 days (9 months, 28 days). Last win of 43/44 season (3-2 at home to Cork Utd February 13th 1944) and first of 44/45 season (3-0 at home to Bohs December 10th 1944).
  • 302 days (9 months, 28 days). Last win of 1928/29 season (3-0 at home to Drumcondra December 2nd 1928) and first of 29/30 season (8-2 away to Jacobs September 29th 1929)
  • 295 days (9 months, 22 days). Last win of 1944/45 season (1-0 at home to Shelbourne on Feb 25th 1945) and first of 45/46 season (4-2 away to Shels on December 16th 1945).
  • 289 days (9 months, 14 days). Last win of 1947/48 season (2-0 away to Bohs on March 20th 1948) and first of 48/49 season (4-0 at home to Waterford on January 2nd 1949)
  • 288 days (9 months, 14 days). Last win of 1955/56 season (2-0 at home Cork Athletic on February 12th 1956 – Kavanagh and McDonagh goals) and first win of 56/57 season (3-2 away to Limerick November 25th 1956 – Finn (2) and Callan).
  • 274 days (9 months, 1 day). Last win of 34/35 season (4-3 at home to Drumcondra February 24th 1935) and first of 35/36 season (5-0 at home to Bray Unknowns November 24th 1935)
  • 270 days (8 months, 26 days). Last win of 1948/49 season (1-0 away to Shelbourne on April 21st 1949) and first of 49/50 season (3-2 at home to Cork Athletic on January 15th 1950)
  • 267 days (8 months, 25 days). Last win of 1970/71 season (4-1 at home to Sligo Rovers – Larkin, McKeever, O’Connor and Turner) and first win of 71/72 season (1-0 at home to Athlone – O’Connor).
  • 267 days (8 months, 25 days). Last win of 26/27 season (4-1 at home to Bray Unknowns November 27th 1926) and first of 27/28 season (5-2 away to Athlone August 20th 1927)
  • 266 days (8 months, 24 days). Last win of 33/34 season (2-1 at home to Cork on February 18th 1934) and first of 34/35 season (3-2 away to Bohs on November 10th 1934).
  • 260 days (8 months, 16 days). Last win of 1949/50 season (5-0 at home to Transport on April 30th 1950) and first of 50/51 season (5-2 at home to Waterford on January 14th 1951)
  • 260 days (8 months, 15 days). Last win of 1951/52 (4-0 at home to Waterford on March 9th 1952) and first win of 52/53 (5-2 at home to Transport on November 23rd 1952). The great Joe Martin was a scorer in both games along with Paddy Mullen.
  • 260 days (8 months, 15 days). Last win of 1946/47 season (1-0 at home to Drumcondra on March 30th 1947) and first of 1947/48 season (4-0 at home to Waterford on December 14th 1947).
  • 253 days (8 months, 9 days). Last win of 39/40 season (1-0 at home to Bohs on March 31st 1940) and first of 40/41 season (3-2 at home to St James’ Gate on December 8th 1940)
  • 253 days (8 months, 8 days. Last win of 1950/51 season (2-1 at home to Shels on March 25th 1951) and first of 51/52 season (2-1 at home to Evergreen Utd on December 2nd 1951).
  • 253 days (8 months, 8 days). Last win of 1942/43 season (3-1 at home to Bray Unknowns March 28th 1943) and first of 43/44 season (2-0 at home to Drumcondra December 5th 1943)
  • 246 days (8 months, 2 days). Last win of 1927/28 season (1-0 at home to Athlone 1st January 1928) and first of 28/29 season (5-1 at home to Jacobs September 2nd 1928).
  • 246 days (8 months, 1 day). Last win of 1971/72 season (3-0 at home to Waterford on 19th March 1972 – O’Connor hat-trick) and first win of 72/73 season (1-0 at home to Rovers on 19th November 1972 – OG)
  • 239 days (7 months, 27 days). Last win of 28/29 season (1-0 away to Fordsons December 29th 1929) and first of 29/30 season (7-3 at home to Waterford August 24th 1930).
  • 239 days (7 months, 26 days). Last win of 61/62 season (3-0 at home to Sligo Rovers on April 1st 1962) and first win of 62/63 season (2-1 at home to Cork Celtic on November 25th 1962). Dermot Cross scored in both games.
  • 239 days (7 months, 25 days). Last win of 57/58 season (3-1 at home to Limerick on April 5th 1959) and first of 59/60 season (6-1 away to Bohs on November 29th 1959)
  • 239 days (7 months, 25 days) between last win of 56/57 season (4-1 at home to Evergreen Utd March 17th 1957) and first of 57/58 season (8-2 at home to Cork Hibs November 10th 1957)
  • 238 days (7 months, 24 days). Last win of 57/58 season (3-2 at home to Bohs on April 7th 1958) and first of 58/59 season (1-0 at home to Bohs on November 30th 1958)
  • 232 days (7 months, 18 days). Last win of 66/67 season (3-0 at home to Limerick on 16th April 1967) and first win of 67/68 season (1-0 away to Drumcondra 3rd December 1967)
  • 232 days (7 months, 18 days). Last win of 41/42 season (4-1 away to Bray Unknowns March 29th 1942) and first of 42/43 season (2-0 at home to Rovers November 15th 1942).
  • 225 days (7 months, 11 days). Last win of 1963/64 season (4-0 away to Drumcondra on March 29th 1964) and first win of 64/65 season (1-0 at home to Cork Celtic on 8th November 1964).
  • 225 days (7 months, 11 days). Last win of 62/63 season (2-0 at home to Cork His on 31 March 1963) and first of 63/64 season (3-0 away to Cork Celtic on November 10th 1963)
  • 225 days (7 months, 11 days). Last win of 35/36 season (2-1 at home to Brideville April 19th 1936) and first of 36/37 season (3-1 away to Bray Unknowns November 29th 1936).
  • 219 days (7 months, 5 days). Last win of 59/60 season (4-2 at home to Sligo Rovers on April 21st 1960) and first of 60/61 season (5-2 away to Bohs on November 26th 1960).
  • 218 days (7 months, 4 days). Last win of 67/68 season (3-1 at home to Shels on April 14th 1968) and first win of 68/69 season (3-2 at home to Sligo Rovers on November 17th 1968).
  • 218 days (7 months, 4 days). Last win of 54/55 (4-2 away to Cork Athletic on April 17th 1955) and first of 55/56 (3-2 at home to Drumcondra on November 20th 1955).
  • 218 days (7 months, 4 days). Last win of 53/54 (3-1 at home to Limerick April 11th 1954) and first of 54/55 (4-3 away to Sligo on November 14th 1954)
  • 217 days (7 months, 3 days). Last win of 52/53 (3-2 at home to Evergreen Utd on April 6th 1953) and first win of 53/54 (2-1 at home to Sligo on November 8th 1953)
  • 212 days (6 months, 29 days). Last win of 36/37 season (2-1 away to Brideville April 17th 1937) and first of 37/38 season (4-0 at home to Sligo Rovers November 14th 1937)
  • 211 days (6 months, 28 days). Last win of 60/61 season (1-0 at home to Limerick on April 9th 1961) and first of 61/62 season (4-1 at home to Cork His on November 5th 1961).
  • 211 days (6 months, 28 days). Last win of 64/65 season (2-1 at home to Limerick – Hasty double on March 18th 1965) and first win of 65/66 season (2-0 at home to Shelbourne – Francie Callan double on 14th November 1965.
  • 211 days (6 months, 28 days). Last game of 40/41 season (2-0 at home to Limerick April 20th 1941) and first of 41/42 season (2-1 at home to Rovers November 16th 1941)
  • 210 days (6 months, 27 days). Last game of 37/38 season (4-0 at home to Rovers April 24th 1938) and first of 38/39 season (2-0 away to Bohs November 19th 1938).
  • 207 days (6 months, 23 days). Last win of 84/85 season (1-0 at home to Longford on March 28th 1985 courtesy of a Billy Wright goal) and first win of 85/86 season (3-0 away to Shels) on 20th October 1985. Dessie Gorman with two and an OG by Paddy Dunning in a game at Harold’s Cross.
  • 206 days (6 months, 25 days). Last win of 1998/99 season (3-2 at home to Sligo Rovers 11th Feb 1999) to first win of 1999/00 season (2-1 away to Kilkenny City September 4th 1999). David Ward scored in both games.
  • 205 days (6 months, 23 days) between last win of 31/32 season (9-0 at home to Jacobs on February 6th 1932) and first of 32/33 season (2-0 away to Dolphin on August 28th 1932).
  • 205 days (6 months, 22 days) between last win of 65/66 season (1-0 away to Limerick) and first of 66/67 season (5-0 at home to Cork Celtic on November 6th 1966).
  • 204 days (6 months, 21 days) between last win of 38/39 season (2-0 away to Waterford April 23rd 1939) and first of 39/40 season (3-2 at home to Shels on November 12th 1939)
  • 204 days (6 months, 20 days) between last win of 75/76 season (3-0 away to Rovers on 28th March 76) and first win of 76/77 season (3-1 away to Rovers on 17th October 76). Terry Flanagan scored in both.
  • 204 days (6 months, 20 days) between last win of 72/73 season (2-1 at home to Limerick on March 18th 73) and first win of 73/74 season (2-0 away to Athlone on 7th October 1973).
  • 200 days (6 months, 19 days) between the last win of the 2002/03 season (4-2 at home to Dublin City on November 18th 2002) and the first win of the 2003 season (3-1 at home to Limerick on June 5th 2003).
  • 200 days (6 months, 17 days) – between last win of 85/86 season and first of 86/87 season – 3-1 away to UCD on 3rd April 1986 and 2-0 at home to Sligo on 19th October 1986. Dessie Gorman scored in both.
  • 197 days – Last win of 82/83 season (1-0 at home to Drogheda March 20th 1983) and first of 82/83 season (1-0 at home to Galway October 2nd 1983).
  • 191 days – Last win of 68/69 season (3-0 away to St Patrick’s Athletic March 29th 1969) and first win of 69/70 season (2-1 at home to Drumcondra October 5th 1969).