Dundalk paired with Linfield in Setanta cup
DUNDALK and Linfield will meet competitively for the first time since their notorious 1979 European clash after they were paired together in the draw for the 2011 Setanta Cup, WRITES DANIEL McDONNELL.
On that occasion, the second leg of their European Cup tie was moved to Holland due to serious crowd disturbances that marred their first meeting in Dundalk.
The game was staged in the height of the Troubles, shortly after the murders of Lord Mountbatten and a bomb in Warrenpoint that killed 18 soldiers. Visiting fans from Belfast clashed with gardai and some locals.
After the riots, UEFA decreed that the second leg should take place overseas, with Linfield picking the Dutch city of Haarlem and paying for Dundalk's costs.
However, from that incident, the clubs struck up a good relationship at board level, and they ran peace and reconciliation initiatives together -- involving the youth sections of both clubs -- to coincide with the peace process.
Nevertheless, the encounter will pose a considerable security test for the competition's organisers as the cross-border tournament moves to a knockout format for the first time in its short history.
Ties will be played over two legs, with a Valentine's Day meeting in Belfast up first before the decider in Louth -- which is provisionally pencilled in for February 28.
Meanwhile, St Patrick's Athletic will play against Cliftonville, Bohemians are paired with Portadown, and first-time participants Sporting Fingal must overcome Distillery.
Shamrock Rovers, Sligo Rovers, Crusaders and Glentoran have received byes into the quarter-finals.