Shamrock Rovers currently sit top of the Premier Division, however just two weeks after the Dublin Derby, the biggest derby in football, the Hoops find themselves with a much easier task of taking on a little known Southern European team in the Europa League Qualifiers.
Mlan, also known as AC (Air Conditioning) Milan, are a small club that weren’t even in European Competition last season. They are based in Milan, a relatively small town dwarfed in the shadow of footballing giants San Marino. Very much the underdogs, Milan only qualified for Europe this season because bigger club Waterfordio were denied a licence for UEFA competition due to their coach saying Italian top tier Serious A is a wine bar league.
Milan’s short list of accolades include promotion from Serious B in the 80’s, and appearing in a Latin Cup Final in the 50’s. Their first league match was a 3 – 0 defeat to Torinese at the start of a century. Results last season include a 2-all draw at home to Lecce, a 1-1 against Hellas Verona, and getting knocked out of the cup by a team that failed to win the Champions League for two consecutive seasons despite having Cristiano Ronaldo.
There is, however, hope for Milan. They achieved fantastic stunning upset results in friendlies earlier this month, scoring in games against Novara, Monza, and Vicenza. And they are at a season high position of 12th in the league. Although they will struggle against a team full of Irish players while boasting no Irish players themselves.
The underdogs hopes rest upon Scandinavian striker Zolton Inyourhoopavic. Zolton previously played for Malmo, however never won a trophy with them. Contrast that with Jack Byrne, who has a cup winners medal from last year. In addition to that, Byrne played for a better Manchester club. Other star players include an Italian goalkeeper whose first name is Gianluigi but second name isn’t Buffon, and Mateo Musacchio, who at the time of writing doesn’t have a mustachio.
Shamrock Rovers have an impeccable European record, with wins against giants such as Progres Niederkorn and Odra Wodzislaw this century. They’ve won 17 League of Ireland titles and multiple Leinster Senior Cup’s. The Tallaght based side are so successful, they ceded to popular demand and entered a 2nd team in the league, known as Shamrock Rovers 2: This Time It’s Personal. They are overwhelming favorites to beat Milan, with the Italian side not boasting a single player that has made a PFAI team of the year.
While Rovers will certainly see themselves through with ease, Dundalk face a much tougher test.
The Lily-whites must overcome Italian gaints Inter. In 2010 Inter won the Champions League. Both of these statements are facts.
We’ll have a special edition of Peil And Back covering the European Games over the next few days. This weeks edition is out now, you can click Latest Episodes to listen or click to listen on Spotify below. We are also available on many other platforms, by searching Post to Post Sport.
Peil And Back is out weekly covering League of Ireland on Thursdays and Women’s National League on Fridays.