Hoops win lands them €400,000 Italian job
THE Shamrock Rovers website crashed last night when it was mobbed by ecstatic fans after the club's historic win over Israel's Bnei Yehuda in Tel Aviv set up a Europa League glamour tie with Italian giants Juventus.
A Thomas Stewart strike gave Rovers a 2-1 aggregate victory to set up a money-spinning tie against the 'Old Lady of Turin' for Michael O'Neill's side.
There will be a scramble now for tickets for the first-leg of the tie, which will take place in Tallaght next Thursday. The fixture should also give the cash-strapped Airtricity League a badly needed windfall.
Rovers stand to make in excess of €400,000 over the two legs from gate receipts and television rights.
When Shamrock Rovers hosted a friendly against Real Madrid last summer, they added extra seating to the stadium, but that wouldn't comply with UEFA regulations for the Europa League.
It is likely, however, that Rovers will play the home game at Tallaght Stadium, which has a capacity of 6,000, rather than opting to move to a bigger stadium in Dublin.
The return leg, scheduled for August 5, would have taken place in Turin's world-famous Olympic Stadium, but because U2 are playing a concert there the following night, the match is set to take place in the city of Modena -- 162 miles away.
"Apparently U2 have the stadium booked as part of their European tour so the venue is being moved to Modena," said Shamrock Rovers chairman Jonathan Roche said recently.
"But many people outside of Turin follow Juve, so the stadium at Modena will probably be full to capacity," he added.
The hoops will line out against World Cup winners Gianluigi Buffon, Mauro Camoranesi and Alessandro Del Piero. Manager Micheal O'Neill said before last night's game that a match with the two-time European Cup winners would be "a major highlight" in all of his players' careers.