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Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 16 April, 2014

The Magnificent Seven: performances from League of Ireland clubs in Europe

Shamrock Rovers lost last night bringing an anti-climactic end to their Europa League campaign. However, here’s something that’ll cheer you up.

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 the Shels eventually being outclassed in the second leg (see below).

YouTube credit: barbarian981

Cork 1-1 Bayern Munich (1991)

Cork took the lead in this famous encounter through a player – David 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.

YouTube credit: scottyccfc

Partizan 1-2 Shamrock Rovers (2011)

Even though it was only a few months ago, we couldn’t resist including what will perhaps go down as Shamrock Rovers’ finest moment. 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.

YouTube credit: zoranstojanovic

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 a remarkable achievement.

YouTube credit: KingSnooker

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.

YouTube credit: AthloneTownTV

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.

YouTube credit: deano1984

Aberdeen 1-2 Bohemians (2000)

Another notable scalp which 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.

YouTube credit: BOHSTV

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