Stand back – this is going to hurt if you’re too close to me –
DUNDALK FC FROM IRELAND ARE ONE WIN AWAY FROM THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGES
What an achievement by the Lilywhites this week as they over turned a 1-0 first leg deficit to beat Bate Borisov 3-0 on Tuesday at Tallaght stadium.
They couldn’t play at their own ground, Oriel Park, because it didn’t meet UEFA standards for this phase of the competition.
Tuesday’s performance was surreal, and so was the atmosphere.
Tallaght was filled with not only Dundalk fans, but fans of other League of Ireland clubs who wanted to experience European football at a club level.
Irishmen and women were out in droves to show the world that Ireland are backing not only Dundalk, but also Cork City, who, competing in the Europa League, overturned a 1-0 deficit to Dutch side Genk at Turners Cross If Dundalk can do it, then who knows – maybe Cork can pull it off to.
As it stands, Dundalk are now guaranteed European football up until Christmas, and the League of Ireland is guaranteed some international exposure up until then.
Someone quipped last night on Twitter that Dundalk now will earn more this year than FAI boss John Delaney.
While this made me smile, it’s a sad fact – it take European competition for one club to make more than the FAI head?
But I’m not going to get in to that again.
While the win over Bate Borisov – the club which eliminated them last season – was a total team effort, Dundalk will count their blessings.
They have an on-fire David McMillan on their books, who’s scoring for fun at this stage. This season, he has been exceptional, scoring some very important goals in both domestic and continental competition.
With some meaningless international friendlies played this month for Ireland, he at least deserves a call up to the national team, even if he doesn’t get any playing time.
Now, it all rides on the next tie – if Dundalk can get an easy game in the next round of the competition and they can progress to the group stages of the Champions League, the club can do themselves and our league proud. After all, 2016 is the Year of the Underdog.