Dundalk FC return to European action in August

Dundalk FC may still be in the dark with regard to their return to domestic league action but they now know when they will be back in European action following an announcement from UEFA this last week.
The current league champions will begin their Champions League campaign this year on either August 18th or 19th. Due to COVID19 there has been a change in the format of the qualifying rounds with teams now playing just one leg with the first team drawn getting home advantage. Should Vinny Perth’s side win that opening tie they will play their second qualifying round a week later on either 25th or 26th of August.
A win in the second qualifying round will see Dundalk enter the third qualifying round on September 15th/16th. A win there and Dundalk supporters can start to get excited as the fourteen time league champions would face a two legged play off on the 22nd/23rd and 29th/30th with the winners of the tie guaranteed a place in the Champions League group stages. If Dundalk can negotiate that notoriously difficult path they would become the first Irish team to qualify for the group stages of Europe’s premier competition.
Should Dundalk fail in qualifying for the Champions League proper they will then drop down to the Europa League with a second and third qualifying round taking place on September 17th and 24th. It is not yet known who Dundalk will face in the first qualifying round with the draw expected to take place in early August.
Speaking to the official Dundalk FC website this week Dundalk manager Vinny Perth revealed there was a great buzz around Oriel Park following the announcement of dates for Europe.
“Europe is massive for us and coming in this morning there was a huge buzz around the group now that we have clarity and a goal to get after.
“We could do with some competitive football,” he said. “I’ve spoken to a couple of the European clubs already and discussed the possibility of playing some friendlies if we don’t have league games. I think it’s important that we look after each other,” stated the Dundalk boss.
Meanwhile a return to domestic action is inching closer after more talks between clubs and the FAI last Thursday. The league has been suspended since March when the coronavirus reached these shores and is now the only summer league in Europe without a solid plan to restart. Both the FAI and clubs were hopeful of thrashing out a resumption plan yesterday when the clubs and the FAI were due to meet again.

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