July 8th, 2019

Big week for Crusaders and the Irish League in Europe!

With two out of the four Irish Leagues teams who have already been successful in European qualifier action, have they paved the way for the rest of the teams progression?

Could we see four Irish League teams progress to the second round of Europe’s elite tier competitions?

With the football back under-way, some people cannot pronounce the opponents at this early stage in the competition, but there is certainly no easy game this early in the football calendar!

Last week Cliftonville and Ballymena United secured their road to progression in the UEFA Europa League competition with recorded victories in the preliminary first round.

Cliftonville defeated Welsh side Barry Town 4-0 in their preliminary first round game last week, with goals coming from Conor McMenamin, Joe Gormley, Conor McDermott and Rory Donnelly all finding the net.

Cliftonville will now host Norwegians-Haugesund at Solitude in the second round this Thursday, before travelling to Norway a week later on the 18th July.

Ballymena United also got off the mark defeating NSI Runavik 2-0 on aggregate. Two goals thanks to Leroy Millar and Jude Winchester’s first leg strikes sent the Faroe Island-side out of the competition.

David Jeffery’s side will now travel to Malmo this week on Thursday, before hosting the Swedish giants at the Showgrounds a week later on July the 18th.

Crusaders v B36 Torshavn

This week Stephen Baxter will be preparing his Crusaders team to face B36 Torshavn in their first round Europa League preliminary qualifier tie.

On Thursday night fans will travel in their masses to Seaview with a changed 6pm kick-off time, can they take the upper hand in the first leg?

After winning the league in the 2017-18 season, the Crues went out of the Champions League qualifiers to Bulgarians-Ludogorets last year. They then dropped into the Europa League second round, drawing and unfortunately beaten by Slovenian-side Olimpija Lijubljana.

Stephen Baxter will be hopeful that a better European run this season is on the cards for his team.

The North-Belfast side recently went full-time as a professional club, and will look to get their new season off to a winning start! Can they follow Cliftonville and Ballymena into the next round of the Europa League?

Current Irish League Champions Linfield will play Danes-Rosenborg this Wednesday in their Champions League qualification first round.

In what looks a tricky contest David Healy’s blues will welcome their opponents to Windsor Park on Wednesday night, with the game a 7.45pm kick-off.

Can Crusaders and Linfield progress in their first round prelims? Can Cliftonville and Ballymena continue their progression through the Europa League?

Wednesday:

Linfield v Rosenborg-Champions League first round

Thursday:

Crusaders v B36 Torshavn-Europa League first round

Cliftonville v Haugesund-Europa League second round

Ballymena v Malmo-Europa league second round