The next seven days could all but secure European football for Shamrock Rovers in 2018.Sun, Sep 24 2017
Cork City's Europa League campaign continues on Thursday with a second round first leg at Turner's Cross on Wednesday evening. We ask...
Who are AEK Larnaca?
AEK Larnaca are one of a relatively small number of clubs in European competition that Cork City can claim a longer lineage than, the club have only been formed in 1994.
That came about as the result of a merger between two existing clubs, EPA Larnaca and Pezoporikos Larnaca, who had both experienced financial problems.
Up to the merger, EPA and Pezoporikos had won five titles between them (EPA edging it with three) and they've failed to win the title since then, but they have finished second the past three seasons.
Their one and only major trophy win to date is the Cypriot Cup in 2003-04, which they won after defeating AEL Limassol 2-1 in the final thanks to a last-minute Makis Papaioannou goal.
Due to their domestic travails through the 90s and early 00s, AEK had few opportunities to make an impact in Europe, however they more than made up for that in 2011-12.
In their first season back in Europe for almost a decade the club made it all the way to the group stages, coincidentally beating Mlada Boleslav and Rosenborg – opponents of Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk this year, on the way.
The Cypriots came unstuck at the group stages, however, as they picked up just four points and finished bottom of a group containing Schalke 04, Steaua Bucharest and Maccabi Haifa.
AEK have never met League of Ireland opposition, however they did play Cliftonville at this stage of the competition last year.
The Cypriots won 2-0 at home and 3-2 at Solitude to earn a comfortable 5-2 aggregate victory and a third round tie with Spartak Moscow before bowing out to Slovan Liberec in the play-off round.
AEK finished second in the Cypriot League in 2016-17, behind APOEL, as they have for the past three seasons.
Who will League of Ireland fans recognise?
Some may recognise former Manchester City and Lazio defender Javier Garrido, although they'll struggle to pick him out as he's injured for the home leg.