Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has revealed that he would love to see a packed Aviva Stadium for Dundalk’s Champions League playoff later this month.
His side upset the odds last night to defeat BATE Borisov 3-0 at Tallaght Stadium, overturning a 1-0 deficit from last week’s first leg in the process.
Two headers from David McMillan swung the tie in Dundalk’s favour either side of half time, before a counter-attacking goal from substitute Robbie Benson sealed the win in the final minutes of play to send the ground into raptures.
Dundalk’s ground Oriel Park does not meet the requirements to host the playoff, so while Tallaght remains an option for next round’s home tie, Kenny is thinking considerably bigger.
Speaking on RTE Radio this morning after last night’s historic result, Kenny stated that while the team would play anywhere, the ideal venue would be a packed Lansdowne:
“I would like to play in the Aviva Stadium and fill it. It depends on a lot of reasons. We’ll play anywhere. We’ve had that attitude.
“Our away form has been absolutely exceptional over the last few seasons. We went away to Hadjuk Split and won. We’ve won against Jeunesse Esch away.
“We’ve had some good performances in Borisov. We have no problem going anywhere. To fill the Aviva or come close to filling it would be fantastic.”
Dundalk will find out who they will face in the playoff on Friday morning, with the final round of Third Round qualifiers taking place tonight.
The prospect of facing Celtic is a very real one (assuming Brendan Rodgers’ side don’t slip up at home to Astana tonight), while they could also face the likes of Olympiakos or Red Bull Salzburg depending on their own progression.
Dundalk are – at the very minimum – guaranteed entry into the Europa League group stage, but the Lilywhites boss believes that they can still go one better than that:
“We’re in the [playoff] round of the Champions League so now that we are here and we have an opportunity to get into the Champions League, we must believe we can actually get there now.
“That will be very much in the forefronts of our mind when we go to play in two weeks’ time.”