Cork intent on hosting potential Rangers tie at Turner’s Cross
Dundalk could face Qarabaq in Champions League
Cork City’s Turner’s Cross home has a capacity of around 7,000. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho
Cork City hope to be in a position over the next day or so to confirm that any home leg of a Europa League qualifier against Rangers would go ahead at Turners Cross after the competition’s second round draw threw up the possibility of the two sides meeting in a few weeks’ time.
Rangers have not met Irish opponents in a Uefa competition since 1998 when they beat Shelbourne 7-3 on aggregate but with the Dublin club’s home leg having been moved to Tranmere’s Prenton Park on that occasion, it is 1984 since they played in Ireland.
Back then, Bohemians beat them 3-2 at Dalymount but lost 4-3 overall with the game in Glasgow ending in a 2-0 victory for the hosts.
Both Cork and Rangers must get through first round games for the prospective meeting to become a reality on this occasion and the Scots are not yet even sure at this stage who they will have to beat.
But the tie would be an attractive one from City’s perspective and, assuming Uefa don’t raise any objections over the next 24 hours, preliminary plans will be put in place for an August 1st home leg.
“They usually raise any issues they have the day after the draw,” said Cork City’s Operations Manager Eanna Buckley from Nyon.
“We will speak to them, to the FAI and to Rangers but Turner’s Cross is our home and unless somebody tells us otherwise we will work on the basis that the game is going ahead there.”
Under normal circumstances, the stadium holds 7,000 but Buckley suggests that that might be significantly reduced by segregation, safety and other factors.
Either way, demand would almost be certain to heavily outstrip supply but a moving the game to a larger venue in the city is not viewed as being a realistic prospect. The expectation would be that Rangers would receive just about 400 tickets. A multiple of that number would be expected to make the journey to Ibrox for the first leg.
The game would also, meanwhile, provide a modest financial boost in terms of TV revenue – clubs are free to sell the rights to their home games at this stage of the European competition – and talks with broadcasters will take place over the coming days but the sum involved is not expected to be huge, low five figures perhaps.
Even the possibility of getting to play the Scottish side will add something to the allure of City’s first round tie with Progres Niederkorn. For Dundalk, in the Champions League, Wednesday’s draw provided at least as great an incentive to reach the second round although for slightly different reasons.
Vinny Perth’s side have been set on course to play Qarabag of Azerbaijan in the second round if they progress, a daunting enough task given the trip required to Baku and the fact that Qarabag have reached the group stages of one or other European club competition in each of the past five years.
If they fail to get that far, however, Dundalk’s fallback Europa League games will be against either BATE Borisov or Polish champions Piast Gliwice, two of the clubs Perth had originally been keen to avoid.
Second round draws:
Dundalk/Riga (Latvia) v Partizani (Albania)/Qarabag (Azerbaijan)
IFK Norrköping (Sweden)/Saint Patrick’s Athletic v Dinamo Minsk (Belarussia)/Liepaja (Latvia); Prishtina (Kosovo)/St Joseph’s (Gibraltar)/Rangers (Scotland) v Cork City/Progrès Niederkorn (Luxembourg)/Cardiff Met (Wales); Brann (Norway)/Shamrock Rovers v Kauno Ž algiris (Lithuania)/Apollon Limassol (Cyprus).