Waterford play UCD tonight in a repeat of last year’s League of Ireland Promotion/Relegation Play-Off final.
It’s nearly 50/50 when it comes to which division the winner (who gains promotion) comes from. Since the playoffs were introduced in the 92/93 season slightly more success has come from the first division side (14 times winner). The remaining 13 winners were the Premier division club. There was 3 seasons with no playoff and the format has changed various times along the way.
Waterford have reached the playoff final seven times and have yet to be successful as either the Premier division or First division team. This is UCD’s fifth playoff – they have won three of their previous four finals.
What’s interesting from the data is that in the early days of the playoffs the Premier division sides were far more dominant. From 92/93 up to the change to summer soccer in 2003, nine of the twelve winners came from the Premier division. After the switch to summer soccer, the momentum has shifted to the first division team – eleven out of the last fifteen winners have come from the First division… I can't think of a causal reason for this though, it may relate to changing formats rather than the switch.