Tuesday 22 October 2019

Dundalk could face Linfield in Champions League, while Celtic face trip to either Eastern Europe or Malta

Irish champions in same group for preliminary round draw which takes place on Tuesday at 12.0pm

John Mountney of Dundalk, centre, celebrates with Patrick Hoban and Michael Duffy after scoring his side's second goal during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Finn Harps and Dundalk at Finn Park in Ballybofey recently. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
John Mountney of Dundalk, centre, celebrates with Patrick Hoban and Michael Duffy after scoring his side's second goal during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Finn Harps and Dundalk at Finn Park in Ballybofey recently. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Stephen Bennett

League of Ireland Premier Division champions Dundalk have been grouped with their Northern Irish rivals Linfield for tomorrow's Champions League draw.

The Lilywhites, currently leading this season's Premier Division, are seeded in Group 3 of the draw and will face one of five unseeded teams: Linfield, Piast Gliwice (Poland), Valur Reykjavik (Iceland), HB Torshavn (Faroe Islands) or Riga (Latvia).

If Dundalk are drawn against the cross-border rivals tere is likely to be a huge security presence for both ties, which are scheduled to take place on July 9/10 and July 16/17.

The clubs faced each other in the European Cup back in 1979 which brought chaotic scenes to Dundalk's Oriel Park home for the first leg with rioting Linfield fans forcing UEFA to take action.

The European body ensured the Northern Irish champions paid a heavy price for the trouble - there were over 30 fans injured and over 30 arrested - forcing the second leg to be played in the Dutch city of Haarlem.

After the first leg was drawn 1-1, the return leg was played in front of a paltry crowd with Linfield required to pay Dundalk's expenses in making the trip.

Dundalk won the second leg 2-0 through two goals from former Irish international Cathal Muckian.

Celtic, meanwhile, face a trip to Eastern Europe or Malta in their opening Champions League qualifier.

The seeded Scottish champions have been told they will face either Malta's Valletta, Bosnian league winners FK Sarajevo, FK Sutjeska Niksic of Montenegro, Albanian's Partizani or Saburtalo of Georgia.

It means there will be no repeat of 2017's controversial trip to Linfield, when striker Leigh Griffiths was targeted with a bottle thrown from the home support in Belfast.

The draw takes place tomorrow at noon Irish time in Nyon, Switzerland and will be followed by the draw for round two.

The Hoops - who only rounded off their historic triple treble campaign against Hearts at Hampden 23 days ago - are due back in action on July 9 or 10 for the first leg.

The Europa League preliminary round draw, which involves Shamrock Rovers, St Patrick's Athletic and Cork City, will take place at

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