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UCD set to face Molde FK in UEFA Youth League

SSE Airtricity U19 Champions UCD AFC will face Molde FK of Norway in the first-round of the UEFA Youth League.

The Students have qualified for the UEFA Youth League through the Domestic Champions path after they won the SSE Airtricity U19 League last season through a 4-1 win over Galway United in the final.

UCD will face Molde FK at the UCD Bowl in the first leg before travelling to Norway with dates and kick-off times to be confirmed. The second round draw was also confirmed with the winner of the tie set to face Zimbru Chișinău of Moldova or KF Vllaznla of Albania.

UCD reached for the Enda McGuill Cup final after a 3-0 win over Sligo Rovers in the semi-final and they’re set to face Dundalk and manager Maciej Tarnogrodzki is delighted to see his team in the elite European youth competition.

Tarnogrodzki said: “It’s great to know who the opposition is now so we can begin to do our homework on them.

“There were going to be no easy teams in the draw and we know Scandinavian teams will always be tough to play against. It is a great moment in the club’s history to be in the competition and we want to make sure we take full advantage of it.

“It’s a great reward for the players who’ve done so well over recent years and they’re going to get a great experience in European competition now.”

UCD follow in the footsteps of Cork City who became the first Irish team to compete in the UEFA Youth League last season, beating HJK Helsinki before being knocked out by Italian giants AS Roma.

Tarnogrodzki believes Cork’s run in the competition will give UCD confidence as they also look to select the best squad for the competition.

He added: “We’re confident. We saw how well Cork did last season in the competition and I said to the players that it shows we can compete at this level. We’ve reached another national cup final this season and I’ve seen plenty of positives from the players so far.

“It is going to be difficult to pick the squad as we can only pick three players who were born in 1998 and the rest of the players will be from 1999 and younger.

“All the players are eager to take part in the competition but we’ve also got to consider the first-team players as well. It is a discussion we will have as coaching staff as we need to select the squad which gives us the best chance of progressing.”

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