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Dundalk drawn against Latvian title-holders for Champions League opener

Elsewhere, Celtic have been handed a tie against FK Sarajevo, the champions of Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Dundalk's Sean Hoare celebrates with Dan Kelly after his recent winning goal against St Patrick's Athletic.
Dundalk's Sean Hoare celebrates with Dan Kelly after his recent winning goal against St Patrick's Athletic.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

SSE AIRTRICITY LEAGUE Premier Division champions Dundalk will begin their 2019-20 Uefa Champions League campaign by taking on Riga FC.

The draw for the first qualifying round was made this afternoon in Switzerland, with the Lilywhites — who were among the seeded teams — due to have home advantage for the first leg of their meeting with the Latvian champions.

Only founded in 2014, Riga FC are competing in the Champions League for the first time after winning their maiden Latvian title in 2018.

Last season they were eliminated via away goals in the first qualifying round of the Europa League by CSKA Sofia from Bulgaria, after their tie ended 1-1 on aggregate.

Meanwhile, Scottish champions Celtic have been paired with FK Sarajevo, the champions of Bosnia & Herzegovina, for their first qualifying round tie. Celtic were also drawn at home in their first leg.

Specific dates and times have yet to be confirmed, but the first legs will take place on 9 or 10 July, with the second legs to follow on 16 or 17 July.

Should Dundalk and Celtic overcome their respective opponents, they’ll advance to the second qualifying round, for which the draw will be held tomorrow at 11am. 

If they fail to advance beyond the first qualifying round in the Champions League, they’ll have the consolation of a place in the second qualifying round of the Europa League. That draw is also scheduled for tomorrow.

Cork City, Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic will discover their opponents in the Europa League’s first qualifying round later this afternoon.

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Paul Dollery

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