Four SSE Airtricity League sides will find out their European fate on Monday, June 19th with the draws for the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League qualifying rounds. As Champions, Dundalk will be competing in the UEFA Champions League whils
Four SSE Airtricity League sides will find out their European fate on Monday, June 19th with the draws for the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League qualifying rounds.
As Champions, Dundalk will be competing in the UEFA Champions League whilst Cork City, Shamrock Rovers and Derry City will be competing in the UEFA Europa League.
We look into what path awaits our four European clubs ahead of the draw on Monday, starting with Dundalk in the Champions League.
With the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League reserved for the bottom ten UEFA associations in the coefficient rankings, Dundalk automatically progress to the second qualifying round.
Five teams progress from the first qualifying round to the second qualifying round and they are joined by 29 teams. These 29 teams are all Champions in their respective countries and this is where Dundalk enter but as an unseeded selection.
Dundalk are in Group Three and face one of the seeded teams in Group Three. Those teams are: Celtic (SCO), Legia Warszawa (POL), Maribor (SVN), Malmö (SWE), Rosenborg (NOR), FH Hafnarfjördur (ISL).
The third round of qualification is split into two sections, the Champions route and the League route. The Champions route is where Dundalk will be placed, where the 17 winners from the second qualifying round are joined by three more league champions in Olympiacos (Greece), Slavia Prague (Czech Republic) and Viliorul Constanta (Romania).
The league route of this phase consists of 10 teams that finished in Champions League qualifying positions in their respective leagues. Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine), Ajax (Netherlands) and CSKA Moscow (Russia) are three of the teams included in this route.
The final round before the UEFA Champions League proper is the play-offs. If Dundalk advance to this round, like they did last year where they lost against Legia Warsaw, they will face one of 10 winners from the Champions route third qualifying round. Dundalk will need to overcome three fixtures played over six games to reach UEFA Champions League group-stage football.
Cork City, Derry City and Shamrock Rovers will take part in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa league as unseeded selections.
In total, 100 teams take part creating 50 fixtures and all fixtures will take place over two legs.
Should they advance, they will enter the second round and will be joined by 16 teams who are either domestic cup winners or domestic league runners-up, such as Galatasaray (Turkey), Hajduk Split (Croatia) and Aberdeen (Scotland).
The third qualifying round will then be made up of 58 teams, 33 of which advanced from the second qualifying round. Domestic cup winners and domestic league runners-up are also added into mix, but from a stronger UEFA member association based on the coefficient. Zenit St. Petersburg (Russia), Athletic Bilbao (Spain), Fenerbache (Turkey) and AC Milan (Italy) are just some of the European giants who will compete at this juncture.
Like the UEFA Champions League, it will take three fixtures and six games to qualify for the group stages through the qualifying rounds. The Lilywhites reached the UEFA Europa League group stages last campaign having been one of the 10 losers of the UEFA Champions League play-off round.