Champions League Qualifier Preview: Vikingur -v- Shamrock Rovers

Shamrock Rovers begin their European campaign on Tuesday night when they face Icelandic champions Vikingur in Reykjavik (kick-off is at 7.45pm Irish Time).

The Hoops travelled to Iceland on Monday and know that a victory over two-legs will seal a date with Sparta Prague in the second qualifying round.

The game will be aired on LOI TV at a cost of €10.


But Rovers have it all to do against Vikingur. The Hoops were soundly defeated by Vikingur’s top-flight rivals Breidablik last season 3-1 on aggregate.

And Vikingur are six points clear of Breidablik at the top of their league this season with 33 points on the board from 14 outings. 

But boss Arnar Gunnlaugsson watched Shamrock Rovers defeat Dundalk 1-0 last weekend and he is expecting a tough test against the Hoops.

“We have watched a lot of games and we know them very well,” he told Icelandic publication Futbolti last week. 

“This is the Champions League. We had six days to prepare and gather energy. We will go forward and show up for that game.”

Víkingur player Ari Sigurpálsson added: “I think it will be a difficult game. People are saying that they are stronger than last year.

“It will be a tough game. We want to win this round because it makes the road to the group stage easier.”


Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley is hoping that his side can right the wrongs of their two-legged defeat to Breidablik in the Champions League last season. 

The Hoops were well beaten by the then Icelandic champions last season, losing home and away. 

But Rovers do have Trevor Clarke and Neil Farrugia available - unlike last year - with Darragh Burns also in line to feature. 

Jack Byrne is also fit after missing out on much of the start of the season through injury. 

“They’re a good team, there’s no doubt about that,” Bradley told his club’s website. “You can see they are a well-coached team. 

“They are very good in the attacking third of the pitch, have some really good players, their movement is good in that attacking third. It has the makings of a really good tie. 

“I do believe if we’re fully focussed and bring our identity to the game over the two legs, I believe we have enough to go through. 

“It’s going to be an even tie, with two good teams going up against each other.”

Referee: Sigurd Kringstad (Norway).



Vikingur 2-1 Shamrock Rovers 



Injured: N/A.

Doubtful: N/A.

Suspended: N/A.


Shamrock Rovers 

Injured: Rory Gaffney, Lee Grace, Graham Burke, Aaron McEneff.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.