As Cork City prepare to host Legia Warsaw in their Champions League qualifier at Turner’s Cross, let’s take a look at five of the best performances from League Of Ireland teams in European competitions.
1) Cork City 1-1 Bayern Munich (18/9/1991) UEFA Cup 1st Round First Leg
It’s only appropriate that this takes the top spot on the list, as Cork City’s side of today looks to emulate the heroics of the 1991 team that famously took a point from German giants Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup first round.
Against a team full of German internationals Cork took the lead in the 26th minute through Dave Barry before Stefan Effenberg just 17 minutes later but remarkably that’s how the game at Musgrave Park finished 1-1.
Bayern managed to comfortably negotiate the second leg, winning by 2-0 but the “plucky part-timers from Ireland” as they were billed before the game, still managed to hold their heads high following one of the biggest results in the history of Irish football.
2) Athlone 0-0 AC Milan (22/10/1975) UEFA Cup 2nd Round First Leg
As Athlone continue to languish at the bottom of the Airtricity League First Division, it’s difficult to remember that there was a time when they drew with (and should have beaten) European powerhouses AC Milan.
The two sides faced off in the second round of the 1975 UEFA Cup and in the first leg, Athlone Town managed to grab a point in front of over 10,000 of their home fans.
The key moment in the game, however, was the penalty miss from John Minnock which could have seen the Midlanders pick up perhaps the biggest victory in Irish football history.
In the second leg, Athlone managed to hold Milan scoreless before 3 late goals dashed their dreams of another famous result.
3) Shelbourne 0-0 Deportivo (11/8/2004): Champions League Qualifier
When Deportivo La Coruna headed to Landsdowne Road in the 2004 Champions League Qualifier, they were expected to easily see off Shelbourne, en route to the group stages.
The Spanish side had been La Liga champions in 2000 and during the last champions league campaign, they had narrowly lost out to Porto in the semi-finals.
In front of 25,000 strong, Shelbourne put in one of the most memorable performances in the club’s history earning a 0-0 draw against the Spanish giants looking every bit like they belonged on the European stage.
Like many of the games on this list, the second leg did not go as well for Shelbourne who were defeated by 3-0 at the Riazor as Deportivo advanced to the group stages.
4) Partizan Belgrade 1-2 Shamrock Rovers (25/8/2011) Europa League Qualifier
After drawing 1-1 against Serbian side Partizan Belgrade in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier at home, Shamrock Rovers weren’t given much of a hope going into their second leg in Serbia.
Michael O’Neill’s men then went one down earlier on as their dreams of reaching the tournament’s group stages began to fade.
With the game looking beyond them, Pat O’Sullivan unleashed a thunderbolt of a strike in the 60th minute to force extra time before Stephen O’Donnell’s penalty in the 111th minute gave the Hoops a historic win, as they entered the Europa League group stages.
5) Dundalk 1-0 Maccabi Tel Aviv (29/9/2016): Europa League Group Stage
The most recent result on this list, Dundalk famously had one of the best European runs of any League Of Ireland team in 2016 when they reached the Europa League group stages.
Coming off the back of a brilliant 1-1 draw over AZ Alkmaar in their first group game, Dundalk then went one better in the next, defeating Maccabi Tel-Aviv by a goal to nil.
Ciaran Kilduff grabbed the only goal of the game in the 72nd minute, but sadly it was the last points that Stephen Kenny’s men would pick up in the competition as they lost their next four group games.
6) Kaiserslautern 0-1 Bohemians (21/9/2000) UEFA Cup 1st Round Second Leg (Agg: 3-2)
A game that is perhaps less discussed than many others on this list, Bohemians second leg victory over German side Kaiserslautern was one of the most impressive in the Dublin side’s history.
Chasing a 3-1 deficit going into the 2nd leg, it was always going to be a tough task for Roddy Collins’ men but they gave it a serious go, with Glen Crowe’s goal ten minutes before halftime proving the difference between the sides.
Kaiserslautern had been crowned Bundesliga champions just two years before this game making the second leg victory all the better for the Gypsies, despite ultimately being eliminated from the competition.