Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

21.52 18 Jun 2019


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The draw for the first and second qualifying rounds of the Champions League took place today and for Dundalk, there was plenty of intrigue.

The League of Ireland champions will face Latvia's Riga FC over two legs. Whether Dundalk can match the thrilling run in the summer of 2016, we'll only find out as July and August unfold.

But this season's qualifying rounds are significant for Dundalk in another way as The Irish Independent's Daniel McDonnell explained on Off The Ball.

Pang of Regret

"The big thing is Dundalk are seeded this year and this is something Stephen Kenny spoke about when he left for the Ireland job," said Dan.

"The one pang of regret was he'd finally got Dundalk to be seeded in this round of the Champions League which is massive.

"Because in previous years, Dundalk have played BATE Borisov and Rosenborg, teams like that at the first hurdle.

"Now you're playing the Latvian champions. You read [Riga's] CV and they've still got good players, internationals and stuff.

"But it's not the level that you would've had to play for as an unseeded team. That's not a bad position."

Cork City are seeded in the Europa League draw but "are in a bad way" form-wise as Dan pointed out.

They will face either Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg or Cardiff Met Uni. But as Dan also explained, the smaller nations are making improvements at club level.

"A team from Luxembourg made the group stages last year. So these smaller countries, they're improving at a rate that maybe we're not," he said.

Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick's Athletic take on SK Brann and IFK Norkopping respectively in the competition.

"They're difficult draws but they're not insurmountable," Dan concluded.

You can check out the full European draw here for the Irish teams.


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Champions League Cork City Dundalk Europa League Football League Of Ireland Off The Ball Riga FC Shamrock Rovers St Patrick's Athletic Stephen Kenny

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