Goalkeepers Ross Glendinning, Sean O'Neill, Jonny Tuffey and Peter Burke at a photoshoot for uhlsport (Picture: Gary Hancock)

PREMIERSHIP CLUBS READY FOR EUROPA LEAGUE OPENERS

The season kicks off this week for several of our teams who are representing the Danske Bank Premiership in the UEFA Europa League.

Linfield are the only side playing their first leg at home on Thursday as they welcome the League of Ireland's Cork City to Windsor Park.  Cork are in fine form losing just one of their 16 games so far in their League of Ireland campaign, however The Blues, who qualified for Europe by finishing last season as runners-up, will be looking to get a result to take to into next week's return leg.  

Glenavon qualified for the Europa League by winning the Irish Cup just seven weeks ago and they face a tough trip to Iceland to play KR Reykjavik who are also in the middle of their own domestic season.  KR, who parted with their manager last week, currently lie in 9th place in their 12-team league and have lost five of their last six games.

Cliftonville are Luxembourg-bound with FC Differdange awaiting.  The Reds won their place in Europe thanks to a thrilling 3-2 play-off win against Glentoran and will be aiming for more of the same in the first leg in Luxembourg. Differdange ended their domestic season in third place just five weeks ago.

Crusaders begin their UEFA Champions League campaign on 13 July at home to FC Copenhagan.

Match Details - Thursday 30 June

UEFA Europa League  - Qualifying Round One

FC Differdange  v  Cliftonville (6pm)

Linfield  v  Cork City (745pm)

KR Reykjavik  v  Glenavon  (815pm)

Tags:  Cliftonville  Crusaders  Glenavon  Linfield