Shelbourne Belfast-bound after drawing tough Champions League group

Fri, Jun 23 2017

Shelbourne's Noelle Murray, now of Glasgow City, celebrates with captain Pearl Slattery and Leanne Kiernan during the Women's National League Cup final win over UCD last May. Credit: Tom Beary


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Shelbourne will make the short trip north to Belfast to begin their UEFA Women's Champions League campaign after they were drawn in a tough qualifying group.


Linfield will host a tough group consisting of the Women's National League champions, Finnish titleholders PK-35 Vantaa and Medik Konin of Poland.


The Polish champions will not be entirely unknown to Shels as they were Wexford Youths' opponents at the same stage in 2015, beating the then-Irish champs 6-0 in the city of Konin.


The ties will be played in one block between August 22nd and 28th and, should Shelbourne be successful, they'll be entered into the draw for the knockout stages on September 1st.


Ten groups were drawn in all and the winner of each will be entered into the round of 32 alongside the runner-up with the best record against the sides first and third in their group.


21 sides, including current holders Lyon and Women's Super League sides Manchester City and Chelsea, have been given a bye to the round of 32.


City, who count Ireland internationals Megan Campbell and Marie Hourihan among their ranks, reached the semi-finals of last year's competition before narrowly losing to the eventual winners.