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Here's how much the 4 League of Ireland clubs earned from Europe this season

The journey was short and sweet compared to 2016, but relatively lucrative nevertheless.

Y4Tp3iuQ Stephen O'Donnell (Dundalk), Sean Maguire (Cork), Barry McNamee (Derry), Graham Burke (Shamrock Rovers). Source: INPHO

UNLIKE LAST YEAR, there’ll be no memorable European runs to savour for any of the SSE Airtricity League clubs in 2017.

After Derry City fell at the first hurdle a fortnight ago, the respective campaigns for Dundalk, Cork City and Shamrock Rovers all ended in the past 48 hours.

The fortunes of League of Ireland sides in Europe this season have once again illustrated the importance of a favourable draw, while also adding further perspective to the remarkable achievements of Dundalk, and to a lesser extent Cork City, in 2016.

Although none of the four teams managed to make it beyond the second qualifying round of either the Champions League or the Europa League this year, their involvement earned them a cumulative total of just under €1.7 million.

Even when travel and other costs are factored in, it’s significant money in the context of what’s on offer for domestic success.

Dundalk — €580,000

Stephen Kenny after the game Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny applauds supporters following Tuesday's extra-time defeat to Rosenborg. Source: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

For the third year in a row, Dundalk entered the Champions League in the second qualifying round. In spite of their heroics in 2016, however, the complexities of the coefficient ranking system meant they were again unseeded, while Icelandic champions FH Hafnarfjarðar — who Dundalk defeated at the same stage last year — were among the seeded teams.

Stephen Kenny’s side were handed a difficult draw against Norwegian champions Rosenborg. Nevertheless, they managed to go ahead in both legs before being pegged back for a couple of 1-1 draws. The Lilywhites ultimately suffered a heartbreaking defeat in extra-time in Trondheim on Wednesday night. As an aside, FH Hafnarfjarðar progressed to the third round after overcoming Vikingur of the Faroe Islands.

Thanks to their exploits in Europe last season, Dundalk recently reported a €3.3 million profit in the year to the end of November 2016. Winning a third consecutive Premier Division title last October brought €110,00 to Oriel Park.

Cork City — €440,000

Florian scores a goal Florian Taulemesse scores for AEK Larnaca in last night's second leg against Cork City. Source: Sakis Savvides/INPHO

The current Premier Division leaders made it as far as the third qualifying round of the Europa League last season after overcoming Swedish Cup winners BK Hacken — a run which earned them €660,000.

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They eliminated Estonian outfit Levadia Tallinn in this season’s first round but were prevented from going any further by AEK Laranca of Cyprus, who were 2-0 winners on aggregate.

John Caulfield’s side were awarded €55,000 for finishing second in the top flight in 2016.

Shamrock Rovers — €440,000

Brandon Miele and Lukas Pauschek Shamrock Rovers' Brandon Miele under pressure from Lukas Pauschek of Mlada Boleslav. Source: Radek Petrasek/INPHO

The Hoops were the only SSE Airtricity League club to go one better in 2017, having lost to Finnish club Rovaniemen Palloseura in last season’s Europa League first qualifying round.

A 2-0 aggregate victory against Stjarnan of Iceland set up a tie with Mlada Boleslav in the second round, but the Czech side ultimately proved to be too strong for Stephen Bradley’s men by winning 5-2 over two legs.

For finishing fourth in the Premier Division in 2016, Rovers received €25,000.

Derry City — €215,000

Kenny Shiels with Jess Thorup Derry City manager Kenny Shiels with FC Midtjylland boss Jess Thorup before their second leg in Sligo. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Candystripes were back in Europe this season for the first time since 2014 but they were unable to make it beyond the Europa League’s first qualifying round. Kenny Shiels’ side were handed a particularly difficult draw by being paired with Danish outfit FC Midtjylland, who went on to win 10-2 on aggregate.

A caveat for Derry is that part of their €215,000 cheque would have been set aside for the rental of The Showgrounds in Sligo, which hosted the home leg while the Brandywell is undergoing redevelopment. The club also subsequently took a hit on gate receipts, with the game attracting an attendance of just 467.

Their third-place finish in the Premier Division last season was worth €35,000.

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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