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Dundalk Shoot The Sheriff

2019 League of Ireland champions are one game away from playing in the Europa League group stages this season.

Tiraspol was the setting of a tense affair that saw Dundalk go a goal down early. Sean Murray headed an equalizer just before halftime to bring Dundalk back into the single-legged tie. The game finished 1 – 1 after 90 minutes and extratime, with Dundalk having some good chances.

Gary Rogers performed the heroics in the penalty shootout, saving a Sheriff spotkick. Chris Shields converted the final penalty for Dundalk to send the Lillywhites within touching distance of the Europa League proper.

League of Ireland sides have only qualified for the Europa League group stages on two previous occasions. In 2011 Shamrock Rovers became the first club to do so, beating Partizan Belgrade in the Play-Off round. Dundalk themselves qualified in 2016 after making it to the Champions League play-off round. Dundalk are the only League of Ireland side to pick up any points in the group stages of a European competition.

Dundalk will face Faroe Islands champions Klaksvik in the play-off round next Thursday. The game is apparently going to take place at the Aviva Stadium. Klaksvik beat Georgian Champions Dinamo Tiblisi 6 – 1 in their 3rd round game. The play-off tie will be a single-legged affair that has to be settled on the night.

The win maintains Filippo Giovagnoli’s 100% record since taking the Dundalk job. He now has the chance to follow in the footsteps of Michael O’Neil and current Ireland manager Stephen Kenny in taking a LOI side to the Europa League.