SHAMROCK Rovers got the pairing they wanted from today’s draw for the Champions League qualifying round as they will face Maltese side Hibernians.
he Hoops were dreading the prospect of facing Polish champions Lech Poznan or else nightmare trips to Bosnia, Georgia or North Macedonia but they will be happy with getting Hibernians. Rovers were drawn at home for the first leg but UEFA will confirm the fixtures later today.
Hibernians have played Irish opposition before, losing 2-1 to Dundalk in 1979 and they later pulled off a shock by beating Shelbourne in the Champions League in 2002. The Maltese side have struggled in Europe in recent years, reaching the third round of the Europa Conference League last year where they were knocked out by Latvian opposition. They qualified for the Champions League this season by winning the title for the first time in five years and they have a strong influence of Spanish and Brazilian players in their squad.
Rovers are due to be at home to Hibernians on July 5/6 with the away leg on July 12/13.
Meanwhile, Irish League champions Linfield were drawn to play Welsh side TNS, the Blues due to be away for the first leg. That’s a rematch for the Belfast club’s general manager Pat Fenlon as he was Bohemians manager when they were shocked by a defeat to TNS in the Champions League in 2010.