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Shamrock Rovers land Tottenham in Europa League draw

Shamrock Rovers boss Michael O'Neill is licking his lips at the prospect of taking on Premier League giants Tottenham.

The Dublin side hit the Europa League jackpot yesterday when they were drawn in the same group as Spurs - a major reward for their incredible win over Partizan Belgrade in Serbia on Thursday night.

Former Northern Ireland international O'Neill is still basking in the glory of his side's stunning 3-2 aggregate win.

However, he could be forgiven for thinking that his merry band of heroes are now capable of anything on the European stage.

As well as Harry Redknapp's galaxy of stars, the men from Tallaght will also scrap with Russian side Rubin Kazan and Greek outfit PAOK in Group A.

"We can do well against a team like Salonika, and Kazan too," said O'Neill.

"Spurs will be more difficult but we've risen to the occasion before and can do so again."

Rovers will learn on Tuesday if they can stage Europa League group games in Tallaght, with the club resisting the temptation to move to the Aviva Stadium.

All home matches must take place at the same venue.

The visit of Spurs on December 15 would have huge appeal - although it would arguably be a safer bet earlier in the group - but the estimated €200,000 (£176,646) cost of renting the Aviva could be a risk with respect to the other two encounters.

For symbolic reasons, the Rovers board are keen to stage the matches in Tallaght after working so hard to establish a home in Dublin 24.

However, they would need help from South Dublin County Council to install seating that would bring the capacity over 8,000, with Uefa having the final say on the decision.

"We are trying to keep the games in Tallaght," said chairman Jonathan Roche. "The area deserves it and the fans deserve it."

Rovers will kick off their campaign against Rubin Kazan in Dublin on September 15. A trip to White Hart Lane is next a fortnight later.

Meanwhile, in Group K Fulham face FC Twente from Holland, Odense from Denmark and Wisla Krakow from Poland.

Stoke will play Dinamo Kiev, Besiktas and Hapoel Tel Aviv in Group E. Birmingham City are in Group H with Bruges, Braga and Maribor.

If Celtic are successful in replacing Sion, who are alleged to have breached a transfer ban, they would be in Group I with Atletico Madrid, Udinese and Rennes.

Belfast Telegraph


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