26 August, 2011

First ever competitive tie between Irish and English clubs as Shamrock Rovers secure teak tough Europa League Group:

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Rovers will happily cash in by welcoming top English club to Dublin
Shamrock Rovers reward for creating history last night is being drawn in one of the toughest Europa League groups.  PAOK Salonika and Rubin Khazin have played in the Champions League Group stages in recent seasons, whilst the top seeds are none other than top English Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur.  The Dublin leg of this tie will be played at the 50,000 capacity AVIVA Stadium.
Shamrock Rovers players jubilant in Belgrade last night
              The Hoops created history last night by becoming the first team from Ireland to ever reach this stage of European competition. They defeated FK Partizan in Belgrade 2-1 away from home, to clinch a 3-1 aggregate victory.
          Rovers, amongst the 38 play-off round winners, were joined in the draw by the ten losers from the UEFA Champions League play-offs.  The clubs were split into 12 groups of four teams, playing home and away against each of their pool opponents, between September and December.   Two sides from each section advance, proceeding into the round of 32 alongside eight third-placed teams from the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Rovers chairman Jonathan Roche: delighted with Europa draw
            Speaking at the draw in Monaco today;  Rovers' chairman Jonathan Roche said:  "For our club; it's massive.  Five years ago we were relegated.  Then the fans took over the club.  We fought for our stadium, we won our first league title in 16 years last season, got to the Cup final so we've progressed all along through.  So, this is a big thing for the club and the league.  The league is not as well supported as it should be in the country.  Hopefully this will get the country behind the league clubs in our country, not just us.  This shows people that we have a very good standard of football in our country.  Irish clubs have been knocking on the door (a European breakthrough) for the last five years and thankfully now we've done it."

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