Although there are records of teams playing under the name of PORTSTEWART as far back as 1926 the club as we know it was formed in 1968 when a team led by TONY McKEAGUE were invited to compete in the newly formed Castlerock and Coleraine district league.
Their debut season was a successful one and after winning the afternoon section they competed for the Doherty Cup, against morning section winners Macosquin, running out 4-1 winners.The next season the club progressed into the North West league div 2 and another successful season resulted in the team earning promotion to div 1 as champions.
After a mid table finish to the 1st season in div 1 the seasiders gradually improved with a runners up spot in 1971/72 before winning the league and cup double the following season!
Portstewart took another stride forward in 1979 when they applied to join the NW intermediate league, starting their campaign against Derry City before a few weeks later opening a new pavilion at The Warren against RUC. But perhaps the most defining moment in the club’s history came when they appointed Frankie Moffat for the first of two spells as manager in 1984.
Basher delivered the league title in his first year in charge and followed this up with success in the NW challenge and NW league cup competitions before leaving to take up posts with Ballymoney Utd and hometown Coleraine. Portstewart then had a number of various managers unable to bring any success before Frankie returned in 1991.
Frankie Moffatts return once again saw the club challenging for honors going very close to claiming the league title with a number of runner up slots ,once being the only club to defeat champions Donegal Celtic and most notably losing out on goals scored to the same side!
The club was also finding joy in cup competitions and had some great runs in the Bass Irish Cup progressing to the latter stages on numerous occasions against senior opposition. Two of the most notable being an away trip to Windsor Park to face Linfield and a local derby against Coleraine which the seasiders narrowly lost to a single goal.
Cup competitions also provided silverware in the shape of NW challenge and NW league cups, both trophies being won twice as Moffatts team continued to improve. However the clubs greatest success came when they created history in 1994 when they defeated Limavady Utd 1-0 in the final of the William Youngers Intermediate Cup final, becoming the first junior team in over 100 years of the competition to lift the trophy.
This triumph led to further progress on and off the pitch and plans were put in place to develop the club’s own ground,and in 1998 Portstewart moved to a new facility at Mullaghcall and installed Harry Gregg as club President. This was followed in 2003 when Portstewart were accepted into newly created Irish league Division 2 .
Frankie Moffatts decision to step down as manager resulted in his assistant Trevor McKendry taking charge of team affairs, and under his leadership Portstewart continued to grow. Trevor led his team to the NW cup final in 2004 when they were narrowly defeated by Tobermore, but a year later came the clubs greatest achievement.
Season 2005/06 once again saw Portstewart being crowned league champions, when they won the title by one point and promotion to 2nd tier of Irish League football for the first time. This was followed a year later when they gained revenge on Tobermore, lifting the Craig Memorial NW cup after a 2-1.
A further revamp in the Irish league saw a number of clubs demoted in 2008 into an interim league until ground improvements were completed. The new stand was built in 2009 and the club once again entered into the reformed Irish league, unfortunately without the leadership of McKendry who had left to become assistant manager at Limavady.
In 2016, the club was relegated from the Northern Ireland Football League, but was promoted back after only one season. The 2016/17 season saw Portstewart win the Northern Ireland Intermediate League, Intermediate Challenge Cup and Intermediate League Cup. The club also reached the fifth round of the Irish Cup where they were defeated by Glenavon.
The 2017/18 season saw Portstewart get to the final of Craig Memorial Cup, losing 2–1 to Maiden City.On 17 July 2018, the club announced the resignation of long-serving manager and former captain, Gary Taylor. 3 days later, Johnny Law was appointed as the new manager.
During the 2018/19 season, a match between Portstewart and Sport & Leisure Swifts was abandoned after 70 minutes when a fan joined a “mass brawl” between players and coaches. Further controversy followed when Portstewart lost their place in the Irish Intermediate Cup final, following a protest from Queen’s University about the eligibility of one of Portstewart’s players.
Portstewart beat Moyola Park 1–0, to win the 2019 Craig Memorial Cup. The 2019/20 season was disrupted in March by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the club still unbeaten in the league and sitting 2nd after 14 games.
At present the club competes in the NIFL Lough 41 Premier Intermediate League under the leadership of player/manager Johnny Law.
- Irish Intermediate Cup: 1
- IFA Intermediate Second Division: 1
- Craig Memorial Cup: 4
- 1985–86, 2007–08, 2019–20, 2021-22
- Northern Ireland Intermediate League: 2
- 1984–85, 2016–17
- Intermediate Challenge Cup: 1
- Intermediate League Cup: 1
The club has released 2 history books, bot written by Brian Henry. The first covers the clubs first 25 years in existence and was published to coincide with the clubs 25th Anniversary.
The second was an update written by Brian for the 50th anniversary in 2018. The book was launched at the gala 50th anniversary dinner in the evening at Portstewart Golf Club.
Famous names from the club’s illustrious past were there to celebrate the many successes enjoyed by the Seahawks down the years, among them one of the club’s most successful managers Frankie ‘Basher’ Moffatt.
Special guest for the occasion were former Irish League great Liam Beckett, now a popular pundit with BBC Sport NI, and regaled those present with some amusing stories from his lengthy career in the game.
The night also marked the publication of a new book on the history of the club, written by local man and long-time Portstewart support Brian Henry.
‘Portstewart FC 50th Anniversary’ is the second book written by Brian and follows the first book reflecting on the club’s first 25 years.