Belfast Telegraph

Addis gets his dream match as Sky Blues handed Faroe fixture

 

Big match: Jonny Addis with fiancée Olivia
Big match: Jonny Addis with fiancée Olivia

By Graham Luney

Ballymena United defender Jonny Addis hopes he will have the opportunity to help the Sky Blues on the continent this summer but the romance of European competition will have to wait.

David Jeffrey's side face a trip to the Faroe Islands after yesterday's Europa League Preliminary Round draw pitted them against NSI Runavik.

It's certainly a winnable tie for last season's Danske Bank Premiership runners-up but Addis, who once played for Glentoran in Slovakia, has an even bigger match on his mind.

The 26-year-old marries his fiancée Olivia the day before European football returns to the Showgrounds for the first time in 15 years when the first leg kicks off on June 27.

"The Preliminary Round brings the date of the games forward but hopefully we can get through a round and I can play in the next round," said Addis.

"Olivia and I get married on June 26 and on the day of the game we fly out of Dublin to Dubai.

"There's a more realistic chance of us winning the game and the boys will be positive.

"It will be a competitive game and both teams will believe they can win it.

"We started training last Tuesday and I feel the boys, including the management team, sense we have a chance of getting through a round. We will give it a real go."

Runavik, who currently sit second in their domestic league, will host the second leg on Thursday, July 4.

The Northern Ireland Football League is set to lose one of its three Europa League places because Northern Ireland's Uefa coefficient has sunk so low - it's now 53rd out of 55 teams with only Andorra and San Marino below them in the table.

Associations ranked below 50th in the country coefficients table will be allocated two spots for the 2020/21 season so the battle is on to regain a Europa League spot.

The summer football debate has been reignited though opinion remains divided on the issue.

"The play-offs will probably disappear and it's disappointing to lose that money," added Addis.

"A lot of top teams have benefited from European football.

"There's now more pressure on teams to finish as high as possible in the league.

"As a teacher, I take my holidays around this time.

"I can understand the desire to change the season but from a selfish perspective it doesn't suit me with my job.

"I'm against it for that reason but I can see why the league is considering going down that route. I can see it happening."

Premiership play-off winners Cliftonville will face Welsh Premier League side Barry Town United in the preliminary round.

The first leg will be played at Leckwith Stadium in Cardiff on Thursday, June 27 ahead of the Reds hosting the rematch at Solitude on Thursday, July 4.

Barry, who finished third in last season's JD Premier Division and are competing in Europe for the first time since a 2003 Champions League qualifier with Vardar of Macedonia, will use the multi-sports venue which sits adjacent to Cardiff City Stadium.

Progrès (LUX) v Cardiff MU (WAL)

La Fiorita (SMR) v Engordany (AND)

Sant Julià (AND) v Europa (GIB)

Ballymena (NIR) v NSÍ (FRO)

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

Tre Fiori (SMR) v KÍ Klaksvík (FRO)

Barry Town (WAL) v Cliftonville (NIR)

Ties to be played June 27/July 4

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