Irish clubs learn reward for another Euro success
Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers have learned what lies in store if they do the business again in Europe this week.
UEFA conducted another set of draws yesterday in order to allow clubs to plan ahead in what is a hectic qualifying round period, with a game every week up until the end of August for the survivors.
As Champions League representatives, Vinny Perth's Dundalk side are in the best position as they will drop down into the next round of the Europa League unless they pull off a massive shock against Azerbaijan's Qarabag over two legs.
Tomorrow's home leg in Oriel Park is already sold out.
If Perth's side go through another round, they will face Cypriot champions APOEL Nicosia or Montenegrin side Sutjeska.
Last season's losing semi-finalists Ajax were the highest-ranked opponent on the opposite side of the draw, along with Celtic, whereas the winners of the APOEL tie will be the lowest-ranked seeded team.
Dundalk also know what's on the cards if Qarabag prove too strong. They will take on either Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia) or Feronikeli (Kosovo) if that scenario comes to pass.
Those two teams were knocked out of the Champions League last week in the same round where Dundalk made their way past Latvian champions Riga in a dramatic penalty shootout.
Perth's good pal Richard Dunne has been keeping an eye on his exploits and accepted the offer to visit the club earlier this year.
"I just wanted to see how Vinny was working because I know the transition from coach to become a manager can be a difficult one," said Dunne yesterday.
Shamrock Rovers are housed in a different section of the Europa League qualifiers, the traditional section made up of teams who didn't win their league.
After downing Norway's SK Brann, the Hoops are preparing for a challenging encounter with Apollon Limassol, with the first meeting in Tallaght on Thursday. The winners will face Austria Vienna.