Shelborne 0-0 Deportivo (2004)
TO GIVE YOU an idea of how impressive this result was, keep in mind that Deportivo had reached the Champions League semi-final the season before. And given the obvious differences in the two clubs’ resources, this game arguably constituted the best performance ever from an Irish club in Europe, despite Shels eventually being outclassed in the second leg.
Cork 1-1 Bayern Munich (1991)
Cork took the lead in this famous encounter through a player — Dave Barry — who had up until that point been more famous for his GAA ability, having won two All-Ireland medals with Cork. And despite Stefan Effenberg’s second-half equaliser, Cork held on for this incredible result.
Partizan 1-2 Shamrock Rovers (2011)
The most memorable game in Shamrock Rovers’ recent history, few people gave Rovers a chance against a club as reputed as Partizan Belgrade, following a 1-1 draw in the initial home leg. However, Stephen O’Donnell’s extra-time winner made it a night to savour for die-hard Rovers fans and Irish football aficionados alike.
Gretna 1-5 Derry (2006)
On the face of it, this wasn’t a hugely impressive performance — Gretna were, after all, a Scottish First Division side at the time. However, a huge amount of resources had been pumped into the club and they had only narrowly lost out on penalties in the Scottish Cup Final prior to the game. Thus, when you consider the context, Derry’s thrashing of Gretna away from home was actually a fairly remarkable achievement.
Athlone 0-0 Milan (1975)
Yes, this actually happened. AC Milan — one of the most decorated European club sides ever — were humbled by lowly Athlone. And yet the achievement could have been even more remarkable had John Minnock successfully converted a 30th-minute spot kick. But despite this setback, Athlone demonstrated admirable character and resolve to secure a famous draw.
Bohemians 3-2 Rangers (1984)
In a heated affair owing to religious tensions at the time, Bohemians came out on top despite twice going behind to a Rangers side that featured a young Ally McCoist, with Gino Lawless grabbing the winner. Unfortunately for the Irish side however, they ended up going out after losing the second leg 2-0.
Aberdeen 1-2 Bohemians (2000)
Another notable scalp that Bohemians achieved against a Scottish side, albeit more recently. On this occasion however, the Irish side advanced after two legs — progressing past Scottish opposition for the first time ever in Europe.
A version of this article was published on 16 December, 2011
What was your favourite performance from a League of Ireland side in Europe? Let us know in the comments section below.