Cork City the happiest as League of Ireland clubs learn Europa League opponents

Mon, Jun 19 2017

City came through two rounds in Europa League qualifying last season, beating Swedish side BK Hacken in the second round. Credit: Sean Burke

Cork City have been handed a plum draw in the first qualification round of the Europa League as they're set to face Levadia Tallinn of Estonia.


Derry City face a difficult draw and a trip to Denmark and recent Europa League participants FC Midtjylland while Shamrock Rovers are up against Icelandic league runners-up Stjarnan.


All three League of Ireland sides have been drawn away from home in the first leg, although that may change as schedules are negotiated between the sides in the coming days.


City faced a potentially disastrous meeting with Shakhytor Soligursk of Belarus, who comprehensively beat Derry two years ago, and AIK of Sweden.


The prospect of facing the team from the Estonian capital represents a real coup for City, who would consider themselves likely to advance should they maintain their league form.


Should City progress past Levadia, they will either AEK Larnica of Cyprus or Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar in round two.


The outlook is not so rosy for the Candystripes, who could have drawn Vaduz of Liechenstein but instead got the worst possible draw in the form of Midtjylland, who were knocked out by Manchester United in the round of 32 two years ago.


If they make it through that tough test, Derry will then face either Ferencvaros of Hungary or FK Jelgava of Latvia in the following round.


Shamrock Rovers will be confident as they head to Iceland for their first-leg tie against Stjarnan, although they face opposition who made it all the way to the play-off round in 2014-15.


Should they happen to overcam Stjarnan, Rovers will face FK Mlada Boleslav from the Czech Republic in the second round.


In Northern Ireland, Ballymena United will face the Hoops' 2015-16 opponents Odds BK of Norway, Crusaders were drawn with FK Liepaja and Coleraine will face FK Haugesand of Norway.


First leg ties are set to take place on June 29th and return legs on July 7th however those dates are also subject to change/