Everybody out - Larne and Linfield make Europa Conference League exit

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Chris Shields, Linfield

Q Radio Sport

All the Danske Bank Premiership teams are out of Europe.

The last remaining representatives Larne and Linfield exited in the third round of the Europa Conference League qualifiers on Thursday night.

The Blues went down 2-1 in Luxembourg, 4-2 on aggregate, while Larne won at home, but it wasn't enough against Portuguese opponents.

They had a 4-1 aggregate defeat in their very first European campaign. 


Match reports:

Linfield exited the UEFA Conference League following a 2-1 defeat to Fola Esch in the Stade Josy Barthel in Luxembourg.

The Blues trailed 2-1 from the first leg last Tuesday at Windsor Park and knew they needed a positive result in order to progress to the group stage play-off round.

And based on chances created they did more than enough but a failing to find the target ultimately cost them.

Skipper Jamie Mulgrew created an early opportunity which keeper Emanuel Cabral turned around an upright while, towards the break, Niall Quinn skimmed the crossbar with the ball falling for Stephen Fallon who could only fire wide.

Moving into the second half Quinn saw a further two efforts saved in quick succession before Trai Hume looped a header just over.

Christy Manzinga then directed another header onto the woodwork, Michael Newberry's follow-up was turned away for a corner and from the set piece Sam Roscoe-Byrne's effort was blocked on the line.

But, unfortunately for Linfield, Fola broke immediately down the other end for Bruno Ramírez to open the scoring on the night after 69 minutes.

Now requiring two goals to at least force extra-time both Manzinga and Andrew Clarke had chances before, with a minute remaining, Roscoe-Byrne did find the net with a header from a Manzinga ball.

However, Fola made sure of their progression deep into stoppage time when Rodrigo Parreira converted from the spot after Hume was adjudged to have brought down Diogo Pimentel.

Fola Esch: Cabral, Diogo Pimentel, Gilson Delgado, Bensi, Frere, Boutrif, Omosanya, Ouassiero, Grisez, Klein, Mustafić subs Hym (not used), da Costa (not used), Dikaba (not used), Cristiano Pascoal (not used), Muharemović (not used), Caron (replaced Bensi 40), Rodrigo Parreira (replaced Mustafić 79), Dragović (replaced Omosanya 63), Correia (not used), Simon (not used), Almada Correia (not used), Bruno Ramírez (replaced Boutrif 63)

Linfield: Johns, Roscoe-Byrne, Newberry, Shields, Millar, Hume, M. Clarke, Fallon, Mulgrew, Chadwick, Quinn subsWilliamson (not used), Walsh (not used), Larkin (not used), Manzinga (replaced Chadwick 61), Nasseri (not used), Pepper (not used), Salam (replaced Quinn 73), A. Clarke (replaced Mulgrew 73), Palmer (not used), Carroll (not used)

Chris Shields, Linfield

Larne ended their European adventure on a high note with 1-0 victory over Portuguese side Pacos de Ferreira at Inver Park in the UEFA Conference League.

Unfortunately for Tiernan Lynch's team, last week's 4-0 reversal in Portugal was too big a deficit to overturn but their first ever foray into European football produced wins over Bala Town and AGF Aarhus in addition to the home leg defeat of their Primeira Liga opponents.

Mark Randall knocked home the only goal of the game with seven minutes remaining with a low shot across goal into the far corner from a Rohan Ferguson clearance.

Just a few minutes prior to that Randall delivered a thundering 25-yard effort against an upright while Pacos had the ball in the net around the hour but João Pedro's effort was ruled out by the officials.

Larne: Ferguson, Balmer, Watson, Herron, Randall, Hale, Mitchell, Bolger, Cosgrove, Hughes, Jarvis subs Argyrides (not used), Robinson (not used), McDaid (not used), Scott (replaced Mitchell 63), Lynch (replaced Herron 86), Lusty (replaced Hale 79)

Pacos de Ferreira: André Ferreira, Marco Baixinho, Hélder Ferreira, Ibrahim, Zé Uilton, Matchoi Djaló, Luís Bastos, Jorge Silva, Flávio Ramos, João Pedro, Eustáquio subs José Oliveira (not used), Jeimes (not used), Nuno Lima (not used), Antunes (not used), Denílson (not used), Delgado (replaced Zé Uilton 69), Luíz Carlos (not used), Lucas Silva (replaced Hélder Ferreira 70), Rui Pires (replaced Ibrahim 60), Fernando Fonseca (not used), Nuno Santos (replaced Matchoi Djaló 60), Douglas Tanque (replaced João Pedro 70)

Mark Randall, Larne goalscorer 

Also on Thursday:

Then on Friday:

The draw's been made for the second round of the BetMcLean League Cup next month when the 12 Premiership clubs enter the competition.

Coleraine will begin their defence of the trophy with a trip to Bangor.

Linfield are away to Ballyclare while Glentoran host Banbridge.

And there's a south Down derby - Newry against Warrenpoint.


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