The draw for the Europa League first round qualifiers has thrown up some interesting ties for League of Ireland sides Cork City, Shamrock Rovers and Derry City.
The UEFA groupings announced on Monday morning meant that the three sides in question had a fair idea of whom they might face in the first round, with the likes of top seeds Maccabi Tel Aviv safely averted by all of them.
It did, however, kill any hope of a potential return to Ireland for Cillian Sheridan with Polish side Jagiellonia Bialystok.
All three Irish sides were unseeded in their respective groupings, meaning that whoever they were drawn with would, on paper at least, be considered the favourites for their respective ties.
John Caulfield’s City were the first Irish side out of the hat, with the Premier Divison runaway leaders facing a trip to Estonia to face Levadia Tallinn.
Derry City were next up, and face probably the toughest tie of the three Irish clubs. Kenny Shiels’ side will face off against FC Midtjylland of Denmark, made somewhat famous of course for giving Manchester United a major scare in the Europa League two seasons ago.
Stephen Bradley’s Shamrock Rovers, meanwhile, will be heading to Iceland where they will come up against Stjarnan.
All first leg ties will take place on Thursday, June 29, with the following leg taking place a week later.
The draw for the second qualifying round has pitted Cork City, should they overcome Levadia Tallinn, against the winners of FC Larnaca of Cyprus and Gibraltar’s Lincoln Red Imps.
Shamrock Rovers’ path is a bit more certain, with a tie against FK Mlada Boleslav of the Czech Republic on offer if they progress.
Derry’s path after FC Miidtjylland doesn’t get much easier, meanwhile, as they could come up against either Ferencváros (Hungary) or FK Jelgava (Latvia) in the next round.