The first installment of finding out who we will face in this summer’s Europa Conference League first round took place at Uefa HQ on Monday, with possible trips to Slovenia, Montenegro, the Faroe Islands, Malta or Gibraltar on the horizon.
All the clubs competing in the first round draw have been divided into six groups. This means five seeded teams have been paired with five unseeded teams, allowing the field of possible opponents to be narrowed ahead of the draw itself.
This takes takes place at 12noon (BST) in Nyon, Switzerland and below we take a look at the five possible teams Tiernan Lynch’s side could take on over two legs.
The Slovenian side are the highest rank opponents Larne could face in the draw. They are currently managed by former Real Madrid and Barcelona player Robert Prosinecki and have qualified for the competition having finished third in the Slovenian PrvaLiga
Olimpija play at the Stozice Stadium, a 16,000 capacity ground used by the Slovenian national team.
Among their noteable players are Bosnia-Herzegovina winger Almedin Ziljkic and captain Timi Max Elsnik, who has been capped by Slovenia.
FK Buducnost Podgorica
A trip to the Montenegro could also await the Inver Reds. Just like Olimpija, Buducnost also play their home games where national side also take to the field. The Podgorica City Stadium is a 12,000 seater stadium in the capital city.
FK Budućnost is the Montenegrin club who can boast matches in European football competitions, and they won the Montenegrin top tier in the 2020/21 season. A club with a rich history and no doubt stern possible opponents for Larne.
The most northerly of all the possible opponents come in the form of B36, from the Faroe Islands. The ‘White Tigers’ are a semi-professional side who also have plenty of experience of European competition having played more than 50 games in continental competition in total.
They are also no strangers to NIFL Premiership clubs, having faced Crusaders and Linfield in the last decade. Their last foray into Europe, in 2020 saw them earn a run in the Europa League which was only ended by CSKA Sofia in the third round.
United are based in the small harbour town of Gzira, central Malta. The Maroons’ European pedigree is relatively recent. Having played SK Bran in 1973, they had to wait until 2018 for their next taste of football on the continent.
Despite this, they are remembered for knocking Hajduk Split out of the Europa League three years ago, coming from three goals down on a aggregate to win on the away goals rule. They finished fourth in last season’s Maltese Premier League.
St Joseph’s, from Gibraltar, are the country’s oldest existing football club. They have reached this summer’s competition having finished third in the Gibraltar National League. They also took on Rangers in a Europa League qualifying tie back in 2019.
The club have also just appointed a new manager, in the form of former player Abraham Paz. St Joseph’s carry the lowest ranking of the possible opponents for the Invermen.
Our secretary Neil Clark and General Manager Niall Curneen will be attending the draw, along with representatives from other Danske Bank Premiership clubs.
Supporters are reminded that until dates are confirmed, all ties can be reversed or moved away from the traditional Thursday slot. Therefore, booking travel is strongly advised against, until both legs are confirmed.
The club will communicate any possible charter travel options as soon as we know the options for this.