Dundalk will travel to Trondheim next week with everything to play for after a 1-1 draw against Rosenborg at Oriel Park in Wednesday night’s Champions League second round qualifier first leg.
After last season’s European exploits, Lilywhites fans were hoping that the club could go some way to repeating the trick in what was always going to be a tough encounter against the Norwegian champions.
While a 1-1 draw, on paper, at least, looks like a fine result, it must surely come with a tinge of frustration for manager Stephen Kenny, especially when Dundalk were rewarded for their fine start with a goal from David McMillan with 18 minutes on the clock.
However, a defence that had not conceded the returning from the summer break let in an extremely soft goal on the stroke of half time, Tore Reginiussen poking home for the visitors after a goalmouth scramble.
That goal seemed to take the wind out of the home side’s sails somewhat, as despite controlling the game for large parts of the second half they were unable to make it count. Brian Gartland and substitute Ciaran Kilduff saw flashes of goal but not much of real substance.
1-1 it finished, and this is a tie that is nowhere near over. Indeed, many were seriously impressed with how the reigning League of Ireland champions effectively bullied their more illustrious opponents.
MOTM Patrick McEleney feels Dundalk were the better team pic.twitter.com/iIWQcj8NRN
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) July 12, 2017
Full-time here at Oriel Park and it ends up as a draw. All Dundalk in the second half and we’ve a full time report on the way! (1-1)
— Dundalk FC (@DundalkFC) July 12, 2017
— Alan O’Brien (@alanob2112) July 12, 2017
Rosenborg happy to leave with a draw. Sets it up for an exciting second leg. Dundalk will be well up for it.
— Ryan Kelly (@ryandelarge) July 12, 2017
Was a good display from Dundalk overall tonight. They’ll be disappointed with the goal they conceded. Not much between them and Rosenborg.
— John O’Shea (@JohnOShea1993) July 12, 2017
Last Irish team to play away to Rosenborg won, and Dundalk are way better than that Sligo team
— Dodge (@seidodge) July 12, 2017
It shows how far the Legue and Dundalk have come that they are disappointed to draw with Rosenberg … still all to play for in the 2nd leg
— Kieran (@The_Irishkieran) July 12, 2017
Same result as Dundalk got in 1st leg v FH last season. No reason they can’t qualify again. Fully expect them to score in Trondheim.
— Julian Canny (@juliancanny) July 12, 2017
After last season (and this first leg performance), Dundalk have every right to feel confident next Wednesday.
On this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish football podcast, we chatted to Shelbourne manager Owen Heary and looked ahead to Irish sides’ big week in Europe, as well as the usual League of Ireland news.