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Saturday 20 September 2014

St Patrick's Athletic handed daunting trip to Poland for Champions League qualifier

Published 23/06/2014 | 16:23

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2 June 2014; Chris Forrester, St. Patrick's Athletic, celebrates after scoring his side's fourth goal. Airtricity League Premier Division, St. Patrick's Athletic v Drogheda United, Richmond Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Chris Forrester will be hoping to shine in Europe

Airtricity League champions St Patrick's Athletic have been handed a tough draw in their second round Champions League qualifer.

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Liam Buckley's men will take on back-to-back Polish champions Legia Warsaw over two legs with the first leg taking place on July 15/16 and the return leg at Richmond Park a week later.

Legia are coached by former Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers defender Henning Berg.

Celtic will play Icelandic champions KR Reykjavik in their opening Champions League qualifier.

With Celtic Park out of commission because of the Commonwealth Games, Ronny Deila is set for a Murrayfield debut as manager with Celtic picked out first in the draw for the second qualifying round, although the final details are yet to be confirmed.

The first leg will take place on July 15-16 with the second leg the following week.

Celtic are set to come up against a former player in striker Kjartan Finnbogason, who joined the Glasgow club from KR in 2004 aged 17 but failed to make a first-team breakthrough under Martin O'Neill and then Gordon Strachan.

The forward moved to Norway in 2007 and scored one goal in eight appearances during a loan spell at Falkirk in 2009 before eventually returning to KR, where he is their top European goalscorer with eight strikes.

The top goalscorer in their title-winning campaign, Gary Martin, was also released by Strachan, at Middlesbrough.

KR currently sit fourth in the league, four points off the top, after taking 16 points from nine games.

Elsehwere in the draw, Northern Irish champions Cliftonville were picked out first against Hungarian side Debreceni.

Welsh side The New Saints are due to open their campaign in Slovakia against Slovan Bratislava.

Among the six teams playing in the first qualifying round are Lincoln Red Imps of UEFA newcomers Gibraltar. They face HB Torshavn of the Faroe Islands with the winners then taking on Partizan Belgrade.

Deila was reasonably happy about the draw.

"It could be worse and it could be better," the Norwegian said. "It's an okay draw.

"Reykjavik are a good team and Icelandic football has improved a lot in the last few years.

"We have to treat them with respect but we are favourites and we are going to do everything to win the game."

Meanwhile, league leaders Dundalk will fancy their chances against Luxembourg side AS Jeunesse Esch in the first qualifying round of the Europa League.

Derry City face Aberystwyth Town of Wales while Sligo Rovers were handed a tie against Banga of Lithuania.

The draws for the UEFA Champions League First and Second Qualifying rounds are as follows:

First Round:

Santa Coloma v Banants

Lincoln FC v HB Torshavn

Fiorita v Levadia Tallinn

Tie to be played 1/2 and 8/9 July

Second Round

BATE v Skenderbeu

Maccabi Tel-Aviv v Santa Coloma/Banants

Dinamo Tbilisi v FK Aktobe

Zrinjski Mostar v Maribor

FC Sheriff v Sutjeska

Sparta Prague v Fiorita/Levadia Tallinn

Malmo FF v Ventspils

Slovan Bratislava v TNS

Celtic v KR Reykjavik

Cliftonville v Debrecen

Partizan Belgrade v Lincoln FC/HB Torshavn

Legia Warsaw v St Patrick's Athletic

Rabotnicki v HJK Helsinki

Dinamo Zagreb v VMFD Zalgiris

Ludogorets Razgrab v F91 Dudelange

Valletta v FK Karabakh

Stromsgodset v Steaua Bucuresti

Tie to be played 15/16 and 22/23 July

The draw for the UEFA Europa League Second Qualifying round is as follows:

Gyori ETO v IFK Gothenburg/CS Fola Esch

Neman v FH Hafnarfjordur/Glenavon

UE Sant Julia/FK Cukaricki v SV Grodig

Aberdeen/Daugava Riga v Groningen

SS Folgore/Buducnost Podgorica v Omonia Nicosia

Differdange 03/FK Atlantas v FC Shirak/Shakhter Karaganda

Derry City/Aberystwyth v Shakhtyor Botev

Plovdiv/Libertas v SKN St Polten

Molde v ND Gorica

Hapoel Beer Sheva v RNK Split/FC Mika

CFR Cluj v Jagodina

Bursaspor v Turnovo/Chikhura Sachkhere

Mlada Boleslav v Kabala/Siroki Brijeg

FK Sarajevo v Haugesund/Airbus UK

Ruch Chorzow v FC Vaduz/College Europa

Asteras Tripolis v RoPS

FK Lovcen/Zeljeznicar v UE Santa Coloma/Metalurg Skopje

Liberec v MFK Kosice

Motherwell v Stjarnan/Bangor City

Neftci v SL Koper/Celik

Luzern v St Johnstone

Zulte Waregem v Zawisza Bydgoszcz

Hapoel Tel-Aviv v Pyunik/FC Astana

Hajduk Split v Jeunesse Esch/Dundalk

Fram/JK Nomme Kalju v Lech Poznan

Vikingur/Daugava Daugavpils v Tartu FC Santos/Tromso

Hibernians/Spartak Trnava v Zestafoni B36

Linfield v AIK

NK Rudar/Laci v Zorya Luhansk

Sillamae Kalev/Honka Espoo v FC Krasnodar

AS Trencin v Vojvodina Kairat

Almaty/FK Kukesi v Esbjerg

Dinamo Minsk v MyPa/IF Fuglafjordur

Petrolul Ploiesti v Sioni Bolnisi/KS Flamurtari

Crusaders/FK Ekranas v VPS/IF Brommapojkarna

HNK Rijeka v Sliema Wanderers/Ferencvaros

Rosenborg/Jelgava v Banga/Sligo Rovers

CSKA Sofia v FK Shkendija 79/FC Zimbru

Veris Chisinau/Litex Lovech v Diosgyor/Birkirkara

IF Elfsborg v FC Tiraspol/Inter Baku

Ties to be played 17 and 24 July

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