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Europa League draw in full: Cliftonville to take on Welsh opposition while Ballymena face trip to the Faroe Islands

 

Cliftonville and Ballymena United will be the first Irish League sides in European action this summer, beginning their campaigns on June 27.
Cliftonville and Ballymena United will be the first Irish League sides in European action this summer, beginning their campaigns on June 27.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Cliftonville will take on Welsh opposition in the preliminary round of the Europa League while Ballymena United face a trip to the Faroe Islands.

The Reds are due to face Barry Town, with the second leg scheduled to be at Solitude on July 4, although that is subject to confirmation from the clubs. The first leg is set to be played at Cardiff's Leckwith Stadium.

Their scouting mission is set to be made easy by their opponents' trip to Ballyclare's Dixon Park, where they will play Ballymena United on Saturday, June 22.

United, meanwhile, face the Faroe Islands' NSI Runavik, provisionally set to host the first leg at the Ballymena Showgrounds on June 27.

Cliftonville’s opponents Barry finished third in the Welsh Premier League last season, having only been promoted two years ago after 13 years out of the top tier.

United’s visitors Runavik are midway through their domestic season and are in the Europa League for the fifth campaign in succession.

They have yet to progress through a round in that time.

They lost out on aggregate to Linfield in 2015 although their 4-3 home win over the Blues is the only victory in their eight recent Europa League games. Last year, they were smashed 12-5 on aggregate by Neil Lennon’s Hibernian.

Ballymena avoided Luxembourg side Progres Niederkorn who famously ousted Rangers from the competition in 2017 while there was no Northern Ireland return for La Fiorita, who were beaten by Linfield in the Champions League in 2017 and who could have faced United this year.

Should either side make it through to the first qualifying round, when Irish Cup winners Crusaders enter the competition, they have the chance of drawing Scottish giants Rangers.

All ties are set to be played on Thursday, June 27, with the return leg a week later on July 4.

Europa League preliminary round draw in full

Progrès (LUX) v Cardiff MU (WAL)

La Fiorita (SMR) v Engordany (AND)

Sant Julià (AND) v Europa (GIB)

Ballymena United (NIR) v NSÍ (FRO)

Prishtina (KOS) v St Joseph's (GIB)

Tre Fiori (SMR) v KÍ Klaksvík (FRO)

Barry Town (WAL) v Cliftonville (NIR)

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