“Every player dreams of playing in Europe”, he says, “and especially against a big club like Malmo. Last night at training was the first time we had seen each other since the draw and obviously we were surprised to be playing against a big team like that. They’re the hardest team we could have got but what can you do? You just have to work hard.”
“I remember at the press conference prior to the game in Dublin their coach was asked what he thought about Drogheda and his answer was, ‘they’re certainly not like a British Isles team’, which I thought was a smashing compliment to get because a lot of people wouldn’t really give the team the credit they deserved for the way they played. ‘They’re different’, he said, and we were. We played some very, very good football.
And again in the second leg in Dalymount, we were outstanding. A goal down [and] not having scored away from home, doesn’t leave you any margins for error [but] we played well and in the second half we managed to get a goal from Eamon Zayed. It went to extra time, and I have to say we were by far the better side on the night. It was an extraordinary penalty shootout, so many penalties before they managed to win (23).
We continue our dip into the history books and a summer that saw the faithful embark on the 2007 tour of Europe that started in San Marino…
In the second part of the Drogs European History, we pick up the story in 2006 when, as reigning FAI Cup champions, Drogheda United qualified for the UEFA Cup competition. On the 13th July Paul Doolin marched his men into Finland.
The Drogs were drawn against Finnish side HJK Helsinki in the first Qualifying round of the UEFA Cup and the team travelled to Finland for the first leg.