University College Dublin will embark upon their latest European adventure when they entertain Dudelange in the Europa League.
UCD, who play in the Airtricity League first division after being relegated from the Premier Division at the end of the 2014 season, were handed a place in the competition when the Republic of Ireland was granted an extra berth for its third place in UEFA’s Fair Play League.
The Belfield club, which took on Everton in the 1984-85 European Cup Winners’ Cup and Bulgarian outfit PFC Velbazhd Kyustendil in the InterToto Cup in 2000, finished behind champions Dundalk and St Patrick’s Athletic – who had already qualified for Europe – in the Irish Fair Play League.
Their reward was a first qualifying round tie against the Luxembourg club, who will head for Dublin for the first leg on Thursday evening.
Premier Division Cork City are also in action as they welcome Icelandic side KR Reykjavik to Turner’s Cross.
City come into the game in form, having maintained their pursuit of leaders Dundalk with a 2-0 win at 10-man Derry City on Friday night.
Rivals St Pat’s head for Latvia and a clash with Skonto in Riga on the back of a comfortable 3-0 league victory over Longford Town.
Northern Ireland’s representatives in the competition also get under way with last season’s Danske Bank Premiership runners-up Linfield starting with a home tie against NSI Runavik from the Faroe Islands.
Third-placed Glenavon and cup-winners Glentoran also begin on home soil against Belarus side Shakhtyor Soligorsk and MSK Zilina of Slovakia.