There was a full compliment of European action this week with Airtricity League clubs Bohemian, Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers all in Europa Conference League third qualifying round second leg action.
First into action on Thursday evening were Bohemian who faced PAOK of Greece in the Stadio Toumba, Salonika. The ‘Gypsies’ exceeded expectations in the home first leg and gained an excellent two one victory. They did however face a significant task this evening against the Greek side who possess fifteen internationals in their ranks. The ‘Gypsies’ conceded goals in the 4th and 28th minutes which gave their hosts a three two aggregate advantage and despite a valiant effort they were unable to secure the goal which would have resulted in extra-time.
Dundalk also created quite a surprise with an excellent two all draw with Vitesse of Holland last week. The second leg was played in Tallaght Stadium this Thursday evening where the visitors scored two first half goals to take command of the tie. The ‘Lilywhites’ responded and a Pat Hoban penalty on 71 minutes raised hopes but it was not to be and they exited the competition on a 4-3 scoreline.
Shamrock Rovers secured a one nil advantage against Teuta Durres of Albania in the first leg played at Tallaght Stadium last week. The ‘Hoops’ were very dominant in that match and maintained that level of performance in this evening’s second leg played in the Elbason Arena with goals on 20 and 62 minutes from Rory Gaffney securing their passage to the play-off round where they will face Flora Tallinn of Estonia with the away first leg in Tallinn next week.
Midweek signing James McCarthy was not involved with Glasgow Celtic who took on FK Jablonec of the Czech Republic on Thursday evening at Celtic Park in the Europa League. The hosts held a four two advantage from the away first leg and secured a three nil victory this evening to progress to the play-off round where they will Dutch side AZ Alkmaar with the first leg set for Glasgow next week.
Another new midweek signing, nineteen year old Charlie McCann who joined Glasgow Rangers from Manchester United, has trained this week as his new club prepare for their home Champions League second leg encounter with Malmo of Sweden. The Glasgow side were seeking to overturn a two one first leg deficit when the sides met on Tuesday evening in Ibrox Stadium and an early goal seemed to have set them on their way. However, it was not to be as the visitors, who were reduced to ten men seconds before the half-time break, scored twice early in the second half to progress on a 4-2 aggregate score.
There was further Irish interest in the Europa Conference League with Scottish sides Aberdeen and Hibernian in second leg action. Aberdeen introduced Jonny Hayes from their substitute bench on 79 minutes as they secured a two one victory over Breidablik of Iceland at Pittodrie and progressed on a 5-3 aggregate scoreline. The ‘Dons’ will travel to Azerbaijan next week to face Qarabag in the first leg of the play-off round. Edinburgh side Hibernian included midfielder Jake Doyle-Hayes in their side as they faced Rijeka of Croatia following their one all first leg draw at Easter Road last week. They suffered a comprehensive four one defeat to exit the competition this evening.