There are four Provinces in Ireland, each of which has or had its own Softball League, beginning with the Leinster Softball League which started in 1989, following on from the Dublin Softball League which played from 1982 to 1989. The Ulster Softball League started in 2009 and is still playing. The Munster Softball League played from 2011-2014, growing out of the Cork-Galway Friendlies, and the Galway Softball League (Connacht) started in 2020, growing out of the Galway Softball Trophy which played in the 2010s.
Connacht Munster Softball
Galway Softball is represented by Galway Tribes and Galway Hookers, and there was once a Connacht Softball Association in 2002 which included Longford Triads. In 2021 a new four team Galway Softball League started with teams carrying sponsors names from local businesses. The Galway Softball League replaced the Munster Softball League which ran from 2010 to 2011 including teams from Cork, Limerick, West Clare and Galway. From 2006 to 2009 Cork, Galway and Kerry teams played friendlies amongst themselves and Galway’s two teams the Tribes (named after famous Galway Merchant Families) and the Hookers (named after famous Galway Boats) played friendlies amonst themselves and in Blitzes from approximately 2014 to 2018.
After the Cork and West Clare Softball teams ceased, Limerick and Galway continued to play in blitzes in Dublin and in the Irish Open Softball Tournament, while the Galway team formed two teams: Tribes and Hookers (named after famous Galway Merchant families and famous Galway boats respectively).
Lasting two years the Munster Softball League featured teams from Cork, Limerick, West Clare and Galway.
From 2006 to 2008 Galway and Cork Softball teams played friendly games against each other. These two teams were joined by teams from Kerry in 2009 leading to the first full-fledged League outside Dublin – the Munster Softball League in 2010.
Starting in 2001 the first League play outside Dublin featured teams from Bray (Co. Wicklow), Longford, Galway, Cork, and two Business teams.
The Ulster Softball League started in 2008, after two seasons of the Softball Ulster Summer League. It has grown from 3 teams in 2008 to 11 teams in two Divisions by 2022 including the first teams outside of Belfast (Bangor Buccaneers and Lisburn Hawks).
The Leinster Softball League is a Coed Slowpitch Softball League in Leinster Province, Ireland. It is currently at a 5:5 Male:Female Ratio although in its early days it was 9:1 Male:Female. There was a Female Slowpitch League from 1997-2002 which was League for Competitive Females from the top Divisions in the Leinster Softball League.
The most successful clubs over the entire history of the League have been Dodder Dynamoes (the oldest Softball team in Ireland) and Marlay Martyrs (both based in South Dublin suburbs – Marlay in Marlay Park, Rathfarnham (D14) and Dodder Dynamoes originally from Dodder Park, Dartry and now nomadic.
The League is Coed, originally 8:2 Ratio of Men:Women, until it levelled to 5:5 twice – in the late-1990s and in 2017.
Softball Leinster Roll of Honour
This is a look at the Champions of each of the Levels of the Leinster Softball League with the winning record (W-L-Pts) for each year of the League Champions.
Female Slowpitch League
The Female Slowpitch League lasted five years from 1997 to 2002 (one year – 2001 – there was no league). After the League ended in 2002 two Fastpitch Teams were created although there is no evidence of any Fastpitch competitions or teams playing until the Fastpitch Ireland programme was started in 2015
Leinster Softball League Level 1
Leinster Softball League History 1982-1989
The League started in 1982 as the Dublin Softball League with 5 teams – teams from the US Embassy Marines, Japanese Embassy Skinny Rats, the Fat Cats (American Businessmen), the Misfits (American Students, Irish Computer Workers and American Businessmen), and one from the Druid’s Chair, Killiney.
Leinster Softball League Level 2
Leinster Softball League History 1990-1999
In 1990 the first Irish Softball Association was formed, which in 1992 became the Irish Baseball & Softball Association, adding a Second Division. A third Division was added in 1994, and a Fourth in 1996. In 1997 the Female Slowpitch League for Competitive Females was added.In 1998 the IBSA was renamed the Irish Baseball & Softball Federation.
Leinster Softball League Level 3
Leinster Softball League History 2000-2004
In 2000 a split occurred between the Baseball & Softball Federations, and The Irish Softball Association took over the running of Softball in Ireland. A fifth Coed Division was added that year and in 2001 a Seventh Level, the Men’s Non-Competitive League was added. 2002 was the last year of the Women’s Slowpitch League.
Leinster Softball League Levels 4-7
Leinster Softball History 2012-Present
Softball Leinster was reformed in 2011 for the purposes of running the League from 2012 onwards, with the League dropping to three levels.(Softball Leinster 2011-Present)
Leinster Softball Cups
Aside from the Leinster Softball League there has also been Leinster Softball Knockout (elimination) Cups, such as the Leinster Championship in the early 1990s and the 5:5 Pennant in the late 1990s.
Leinster Softball Teams
Dodder Dynamoes are the oldest (and original) Softball team in Ireland, dating right back to the 1980s and the Dublin Softball League prior to the founding of the Irish Softball Association.