“Being honest, I was hoping to get someone out of season but they’re in season like ourselves and are currently fifth in their league,” says Caulfield.
“It’s a difficult draw and a tricky draw but I think it will be a close tie and gives us a chance to progress. And with Cork being back in Europe after seven years, there’s a lot of excitement and anticipation about the games.”
KR, who were drawn away in the first leg, had proposed reversing the fixtures, a suggestion to which City were amenable. However, it’s understood that Uefa want the games to go ahead as planned, meaning the first leg will be in Turner’s Cross on Thursday July 2 with the second leg taking place in the Icelandic capital on July 9.
Caulfield accepts that managing the additional burden of European games on top of the domestic schedule is a test.
“It’s a challenge,” he says. “We have Derry up on Friday and it’s a huge game for us but all the talk now is about next week in Europe. The one thing I’d be hoping is that we have a lot of lads who have played in Europe — the likes of Mark McNulty, Alan Bennett, Colin Healy, Billy Dennehy, Liam Miller — and that their experience will show.
“But at the same time it is a concern. Obviously, we had already moved the Drogheda match forward and that will help us. And we also have a match against Pats (in Turner’s Cross on July 3) that both clubs have agreed to look at. So there’s a possibility that that game might be moved. If you could keep it week to week, there’s a chance of keeping your domestic form, whereas it becomes difficult playing Thursday-Sunday-Thursday. That is intense.
“But when you look at the overall picture — we want to be in Europe and it’s fantastic for us as an Irish club. The amount of money involved is significant too. So it’s all positive from that point of view.”
Vikingur of Iceland or Rosenborg of Norway will lie in wait in the Second Qualifying Round for the winners of Cork City-KR tie.
In the Champions League, Dundalk got no luck drawing BATE Borisov, who have qualified for the group stages of either the Champions League or Europa League five of the last seven seasons. But Lilywhites boss Stephen Kenny sees the rise of the Belarus club as an example to the Airtricity League.
“Of all the teams we could have got, BATE Borisov had the highest coefficient,” he points out. “They have a lot of pedigree but, if anything, their very existence as a club and their success is the reason we can win. That’s how I see it. They’re a terrific example to us.
“I went out there with Bohemians (in 2003) and lost the first leg 1-0 and won the home leg 3-0. They weren’t the biggest club in the world by any stretch of the imagination, so it shows what can be achieved. They are an example to us in Ireland of what a club can do.”
St Patrick’s Athletic were drawn against Latvia’s Skonto Riga, Shamrock Rovers will face FC Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg, and UCD, who qualified through the Fair Play competition, will be at home to F91 Dudelange of Luxembourg.
In the Second Qualifying Round, the winners of the St Pat’s tie will face either Debrecen of Hungary or Sutjeske of Montenegro and the winners of the Shamrock Rovers tie meet FC Sheriff of Moldova or Odds Ballkubbs of Norway, while Europa of Gibraltar or Slovan Bratislava from Slovakia will await UCD, if the Students progress. West Ham face FC Lusitans of Andorra.
Lincoln Red Imps v Santa Coloma; Pyunik v Folgore/Falciano; Crusaders v Levadia Tallinn; B36 Torshavn v The New Saints FC. Ties played 30 Jun/1 July and 7/8 July
Hibernians v Maccabi Tel-Aviv; Apoel Nicosia v Vardar; FK Karabakh v Rudar Pljevlja; FK Sarajevo v Lech Poznan; Maribor v Astana; BATE v; HJK Helsinki v FK Ventspils; FC Midtjylland v Lincoln Red Imps/Santa Coloma; Molde v Pyunik/Folgore/Falciano; Malmo FF v FK Zalgiris; Vilnius Celtic v Stjarnan; Trencin v Steaua Bucharest; Partizan Belgrade v Dila Gori; Ludogorets v Milsami CS; Fola Esch v Dinamo Zagreb; Skenderbeu v Crusaders/Lev Tallinn; B36 Torshavn/TNS v Videoton.
Tie to be played 14/15 and 21/22 July
v KR Reykjavík, Vikingur v Rosenborg; SJK v FH Hafnarfjordur; Runavik v Linfield; Brondby v Juvenes/Dogana; Skonto Riga v ; Lahti v IF Elfsborg; FK Atlantas v Beroe; Debrecen v Sutjeska; Ordabasy v Beitar Jerusalem; Balzan Youths v Zeleznicar; Sillamae Kalev v Hajduk Split; Spartaks Jurmala v Buducnost; Podgorica Jelgava v Litex Lovetch; Lusitanos v West Ham; Saxan v Apollon Limassol; Shirak v Zrinjski Mostar; VPS Vaasa v AIK Mladost; Podgorica v Neftchi; Vikingur Reykjavik v Koper; Sheriff v Odd FK; Kukesi v Torpedo Zhodino; Alashkert FC v St Johnstone; Newtown v Valletta; Dinamo Tbilisi v Gabala; Renova v Dacia Chisinau; Olimpic Sarajevo v Spartak Trnava; Glenavon v Shakhtyor FC 03; Differdange v Bala Town; Shkendija Tetovo v Aberdeen; Progres Niederkorn v ; v F91; Red Star Belgrade v Kairat Almaty; Aktobe v Nomme Kalju; Domzale v Cukaricki Belgrade; Go Ahead Eagles v Ferencvaros; MTK Budapest v Vojvodina; Flora Tallinn v Rabotnicki Kometal; Dinamo Batumi v Omonia Nicosia; Trakai v HB Torshavn; Glentoran v MSK; Sant Julia v Randers; FC Kruoja v Jagiellonia; Bialystok Laci v Inter Baku; Partizani Tirana v Stromsgodset; CM Celje v Slask Wroclaw; La Fiorita v FC Vaduz; Birkirkara v Ulisses Yerevan; Airbus UK v Lokomotiva Zagreb; Botosani v Spartaki Tskhinvali; College Europa v Slovan Bratislava. Ties to be played July 2 and 9.