Saturday 15 December 2018

Irish clubs handed tough encounters in Europa League

Dundalk's Chris Shields strikes the ball over Shamrock Rovers' David McAllister. Photo: Sportsfile
Dundalk's Chris Shields strikes the ball over Shamrock Rovers' David McAllister. Photo: Sportsfile

Shamrock Rovers and Derry City have been handed tough first round qualifying matches in the Europa League.

Derry will make the long trip to Belarus to face Dinamo Minsk while Rovers must overcome Swedish side AIK.

Dundalk were drawn against Estonia side Levadia Tallinn. 

Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard's Rangers have been drawn against FK Shkupi in the Europa League first qualifying round.

Burnley have been handed a Battle of Britain tie against Aberdeen on their return to the European stage after a 51-year absence.

The Clarets, who finished seventh in last season's Premier League, were paired with the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership runners-up in Wednesday's draw for the Europa League second qualifying round in Nyon.

Sean Dyche's men will travel to Pittodrie on Thursday July 26, with the Dons, who famously won the European Cup Winners' Cup under Sir Alex Ferguson in 1983, heading south of the border a week later.

Dyche told the club's official website: "Everyone knows it could have been anything, looking at the draw with the amount of different teams from different countries involved, and lo and behold we get someone just up the road.

"But we've worked hard to get here and we'll look forward to the challenge it brings.

"We know we won't be travelling far, so it won't be too unfamiliar, and it brings focus to the end part of the pre-season now that we know who we've got and we can prepare for what should be a competitive cup tie alongside our planning for the Premier League."

Here is the full Europa League draw first round qualifying draw:

Ties involving British and Irish clubs: Glenavon/Molde v Anorthosis Famagusta/Laci; Aberdeen v Burnley; Rudar Pljevlja/Partizan v Cefn Druids/Trakai/Irtysh; Cliftonville/Nordsjaelland v Shamrock Rovers/AIK; Rudar Velenje/Tre Fiori/Bala Town v FCSB; Levadia Tallinn/Dundalk v AEK Larnaca; Spartak Subotica/Coleraine v Sparta Prague; Petrocub/Osijek v Rangers/Shkupi; Dunajska Streda/Dinamo Tbilisi v Derry City/Dinamo Minsk; Connah's Quay/Shakhtyor Soligorsk v Lech Poznan/Gandzasar-Kapan; Hibernian/NSI Runavik v Asteras Tripolis.

The first round of ties will take place on July 12 and July 19.

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