Cork have been dealt a difficult draw with the news they will face Polish side Legia Warsaw in the first round of the Champions League qualifiers with the first leg due to take place at Turner’s Cross.
Malmo, Ludogrets Razgrad, Rosenberg and Helsinki were other potential for Cork City today in the draw but they have arguably the toughest of tests against the Polish side. Legia have a good record against Irish sides they knocked St Patrick’s Athletic out of the competition in 2014 and Dundalk in 2016 so they know how to win against Irish sides. However, all will not be lost if John Caulfield’s side are not successful in beating the Polish giants it will mean they will receive a bye to the third round of the Europa League.
This would mean Cork City would just be two rounds away from the Europa League stages and would face less disruption to their league of Ireland fixtures. It will also have good financial rewards for the club. Cork are already guaranteed 800,000 euro for their European efforts, with UEFA having increased the funding further since last year.The first leg tie will take place on July 10/11th with the second leg a week late.
Celtic are also looking to qualify for the Champions League group stages, they will face Armenian opposition in their first round game. They play Alashkert. Northern Ireland Premier League side the Crusaders against Ludogrets Razgrad in what will be a difficult task for them.
The reward for Celtic if they win their first round game will be a game with Rosenberg from Norway or Icelandic side Valur who face each other in an all Nordic battle. Indeed Celtic faced Rosenberg last season and it took a James Forrest goal to swing the tie in the Scottish side’s favour.