The second legs of the first qualifying round in the 2020 UEFA Champions League are set for this week.
Airtricity League champions Dundalk played out a scoreless draw in the first leg played in Oriel Park last week against Latvian champions FC Riga. While the ‘Lilywhites’ are expected to be seeking victory in Wednesday evening’s second leg which kicks off at 5.30pm, a score draw would ensure their progress to the next round.
Northern Ireland’s Premier League Champions Linfield are also set for Wednesday evening action as they face the daunting task of overturning a two nil deficit from the home first leg against Norwegian champions Rosenborg.
Scottish champions Glasgow Celtic are scheduled to kick-off in Celtic Park at 7.45pm on Wednesday evening and will be expected to progress to the next round as they hold a three one lead from the away leg over Sarajevo of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Jonny Hayes was introduced from the substitute bench on fifty seven minutes in the first leg but recent signing Luca Connell was not included in the matchday squad.
Welsh champions The New Saints forfeited a two goal lead by conceding twice in the final three minutes of their first leg home tie against KF Feronikelt of Kosova and faced an uphill task in the second leg this Tuesday evening. They were equal to the task, with 65th minute substitute Dean Ebbe scoring the only goal two minutes after his introduction to send them through to the second qualifying round where they will face Danish champions FC Copenhagen with the home first leg set for next week.
Our U19 side played out a one all draw with Norway in their opening Group B fixture at the European Championship Finals in Armenia this Monday afternoon.
With so many players not released by their clubs, together with the suspension of Tyreik Wright and illness ruling out Ciaran Brennan and Festy Ebosele there was a somewhat strange look to the starting eleven named by Head Coach Tom Mohan.
The unfamiliarity may have been a factor in the concession of a goal after just eight minutes but the players did begin to settle and get to grips with the game. Problems prevailed down our left flank where Jack James and Kameron Ledwidge, playing in unfamiliar position, did rather struggle.
Towering centre backs Oisin McEntee and Mark McGuinness were solid in defence while, the still just sixteen, Joe Hodge of Manchester City oozed quality in midfield. Lone striker Jonathan Afolabi was another who worked tirelessly.
Norway, who eliminated Germany on route to these finals, provided stubborn resistance but were eventually breached on eighty minutes by a superb strike from the excellent Hodge.
Ireland will next face one of the Tournament favourites France, who commenced their challenge with a three nil victory over the Czech Republic early this evening, at 5pm on Thursday afternoon.
The 2019 World University Games concluded in Naples this weekend with both our female and male sides playing for their final position in the ranking table.
The ladies finished in 4th position following their play-off defeat by Russia this Friday afternoon. Ireland took a two nil lead with goals from Lauren Kelly and Eleanor Ryan-Doyle but were pegged back by Russia who scored twice in the 71st and 76th minutes to send the match into a penalty shoot-out. Ireland goalkeeper Amanda McQuillan again stepped up to the mark and converted the opening penalty but she was powerless to prevent Russia from scoring their four opening kicks while her counterpart saved twice in succession.
Our men finished in 8th position at the Games on Saturday afternoon as they also suffered a penalty shoot-out defeat against France. The contest had finished in a one all draw with Ireland losing out by four goals to three in the penalty shoot-out.
European commitments meant there was just one Airtricity League Premier Division contest on Friday evening with Derry City and visitors UCD playing out a scoreless draw in the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
There was one further contest on Saturday evening with Sligo Rovers and Waterford also playing out a scoreless draw at the Showgrounds in front of the live eirSport cameras.
The solo contests continued on Monday evening with UCD providing a huge shock with their one nil defeat of third place Bohemian at the Bowl. The winning goal came after just eight minutes and was scored by Yousef Mahdy.
P W D L F A G/D Pts
Dundalk 24 17 5 2 46 13 33 56
Shamrock Rovers 24 15 3 6 35 15 20 48
Bohemian 25 12 6 7 27 18 9 42
Derry City 24 9 10 5 36 24 12 37
St Patrick’s Athletic 25 10 7 8 21 22 -1 37
Sligo Rovers 25 7 10 8 25 30 -5 31
Cork City 24 6 8 10 18 28 -10 26
Waterford 22 6 6 10 28 33 -5 24
UCD 24 5 2 17 16 40 -24 17
Finn Harps 25 3 5 17 21 50 -29 14
There were three Airtricity League First Division contests played this Friday evening with current leaders Shelbourne held to a one all draw by Cabinteely in Tolka Park while Bray Wanderers scored the only goal to defeat Limerick in the Carlisle Grounds. The third fixture saw strugglers Wexford and Galway United play out a scoreless draw in Ferrycarrig Park.
On Saturday evening Cobh Ramblers defeated visitors Athlone Town by two goals to one in St Colman’s Park while Longford Town also secured a two one victory over their visitors Drogheda United in the City Calling Stadium.
P W D L F A G/D Pts
Shelbourne 20 14 2 4 31 14 17 44
Longford Town 20 12 3 5 26 15 11 39
Drogheda United 20 12 2 6 42 27 15 38
Cabinteely 20 10 6 4 28 24 4 36
Limerick 20 9 5 6 22 18 4 32
Bray Wanderers 20 10 1 9 25 18 7 31
Cobh Ramblers 20 6 4 10 26 32 -6 22
Athlone Town 20 5 3 12 25 43 -18 18
Galway United 20 4 2 14 19 29 -10 14
Wexford 20 2 4 15 16 40 -24 10
Ireland U19 Head Coach Tom Mohan has finally been able to announce his 20 player squad for the European Championship Finals in Armenia. Because the Finals fall outside the international calendar schedule, clubs are not obliged to release players and this has had a huge impact on Ireland with approaching ten likely inclusions being withheld by their Clubs.
Ireland will contest Group B with the Czech Republic, France and Norway while Group A comprises the hosts Armenia, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
Group B fixtures:
Monday 15 July 2019
14.45 Republic of Ireland v Norway
17.00 Czech Republic v France
Thursday 18 July 2019
14.45 Czech Republic v Norway
17.00 Republic of Ireland v France
Sunday 21 July 2019
17.00 France v Norway
17.00 Republic of Ireland v Czech Republic
Group A fixtures:
Sunday 14 July 2019
14.45 Armenia v Spain
17.00 Italy v Portugal
Wednesday 17 July 2019
14.45 Portugal v Spain
17.00 Armenia v Italy
Saturday 20 July 2019
17.00 Portugal v Armenia
17.00 Spain v Italy
Goalkeepers: Brian Maher(St Patrick’s Athletic), George McMahon(Burnley)
Defenders: Ciaran Brennan(Sheffield Wednesday), Jack James(Unattached), Kameron Ledwidge(Southampton), Andy Lyons(Bohemian), Oisin McEntee(Newcastle United), Mark McGuinness(Arsenal), Andrew Omobamidele(Norwich City)
Midfielders: Barry Coffey(Glasgow Celtic), Conor Grant(Sheffield Wednesday), Joe Hodge(Manchester City), Brandon Kavanagh(Shamrock Rovers), Niall Morahan(Sligo Rovers), Lee O’Connor(Manchester United)
Forwards: Jonathan Afolabi(Unattached), Festy Ebosele(Derby County), Matt Everitt(Brighton & Hove Albion), Ali Reghba(Leicester City), Tyriek Wright(Aston Villa)
Our Airtricity League sides commenced their Europa League campaigns in the first legs of the first qualifying round on Thursday afternoon, with Shamrock Rovers first into action against Brann in Norway. The ‘Hoops’ twice came from behind to earn an excellent two all draw and they will hope to complete the job in Tallaght Stadium next Thursday evening.
Cork City went down to a disappointing two nil defeat by FC Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg in Turner’s Cross while St Patrick’s Athletic also suffered a two nil defeat against IFK Norrkoping of Sweden in Richmond Park. The prospects of progression now look slim for both clubs with the away legs set for next Thursday.
Also in Europa League action this evening were Ballymena United who suffered a crushing seven nil defeat by Malmo in Sweden. Crusaders secured a two nil success against B36 Torshavn of the Faroe Islands while Cliftonville suffered a one nil home defeat by FK Haugesund of Norway.
Welsh representatives Connah’s Quay Nomads went down to a two one home defeat by Scottish qualifiers Kilmarnock while Aberdeen secured a two one home victory over RoPS Rovaniemi of Finland at Pittodrie.
The first legs in the first qualifying round of the Europa League commenced on Tuesday evening with Scottish side Glasgow Rangers securing a four nil victory over St Josephs in Gibraltar. The victors in that tie will face the winners of the Cork City/FC Progres contest in the second qualifying round.
Airtricity League champions Dundalk commenced their 2020 UEFA Champions League campaign with a scoreless draw in Oriel Park this Wednesday evening against Latvian champions FC Riga. The hosts dominated possession but did not produce the cutting edge to score. Manager Vinnie Perth remains optimistic following this first leg stalemate and echoed his belief that the ‘Lilywhites’ would score in the return leg when their opponents will be expected to offer a more attacking presence.
Northern Ireland’s Premier League Champions Linfield were also in action as they went down to a two nil defeat by Norwegian champions Rosenborg in Windsor Park, and now face a daunting task in next week’s second leg.
The first qualifying round of the 2020 UEFA Champions League kicked off on Tuesday evening with Glasgow Celtic coming from behind to secure a three one away victory over Sarajevo of Bosnia&Herzegovina. Jonny Hayes was introduced from the substitute bench on fifty seven minutes but recent signing Luca Connell was not included in the matchday squad.
Welsh champions The New Saints forfeited a two goal lead by conceding twice in the final three minutes of their home tie against KF Feronikelt of Kosova. Former Bohemian striker Curtis Byrne was a late substitute for TNS.