Who do they play and when? The lowdown on the four Irish clubs competing in Europe this week

irish clubs in europe

Plenty of action for Irish clubs in Europe this week.

The four Irish clubs in Europe for the 2021/22 season begin their campaigns later this week. Shamrock Rovers are aiming to progress in the Champions League, while Dundalk, Bohemian FC and Sligo Rovers are embarking on the inaugural Uefa Conference League.

Shamrock Rovers qualified for the Champions League by virtue of their first Premier Division title since 2011, which was clinched last year in a Covid-hit season.

Bohs, Dundalk and Sligo join the Conference League after finishing second, third and fourth respectively in the 2020 League of Ireland Premier Division.

Here’s who the four sides are up against this week:

Shamrock Rovers

The Hoops will travel to Slovakia to face Slovan Bratislava in the first leg of the Champions League first qualifying round.

Bratislava have a decent European pedigree, winning the European Cup Winner’s Cup back in 1969 and have competed in the Europa League group stages on three occasions over the past decade.

They have won the last three Slovakian league titles and should provide a stern test for Stephen Bradley’s men.

The game kicks off at 5.30pm on Wednesday and Rovers fans shouldn’t smirk too much at fellow League of Ireland sides competing in the Conference League as defeat here would see The Hoops join them in the new competition.

Bohs

The Gypsies return to European competition for the first time since 2013 with a trip to Iceland to face Stjarnan.

Stjarnan won their only Icelandic title in 2014 and have faced Irish opposition before, losing 2-0 on aggregate to Shamrock Rovers in the 2017/2018 Europa League first qualifying round.

Stjarnan v Bohs will kick off at 8.45pm Irish time on Thursday, with the second leg to be held at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium in front of 6,000 fans on July 15th.

Dundalk

The Lilywhites will take on Newtown AFC of the Cymru Premier in Wales.

Newtown only finished seventh in their domestic league last season and came through a four-team play-off to take their spot in this season’s Uefa Conference League.

After their Europa League escapades in recent seasons, Vinny Perth’s side should have enough to get through.

This game kicks of at 5.45pm on Thursday.

Sligo Rovers

The Bit O’Red return to European competition for the first time since 2014/15 and, like Bohs, they will travel to Iceland for their first leg where they will face FH Hafnarfjordur. 

Since winning their first Icelandic title in 2004, FH Hafnarfjordur have gone on to add seven more to their collection. 

They lost to Dundalk on away goals in 2016/2017 Champions League qualifiers but now that this rule has been scrapped, there won’t be a repeat when they face Sligo Rovers.

This one kicks off at 7pm on Thursday.

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