Aviva Stadium to host Dundalk's Champions League play-off fixture

Dundalk will find out their opponents on Friday after the draw

Aviva Stadium

Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson 

Dundalk will play their home Champions Legaue play-off game at the Aviva Stadium, the Football Association of Ireland confirmed this evening.

The stadium, which holds 51,700 patrons, will be used as a substitute for their home ground, Oriel Park. Dundalk's home pitch was not used for their tie with BATE Borisov as the artificial surface did not meet UEFA standards for that stage of the competition.

Tallaght Stadium was instead used, but it is expected that support for the team playing their landmark tie will exceed capacity at Shamrock Rovers home ground and thus the Aviva Stadium will instead be used.

The stadium, which hosts Ireland's home national rugby and soccer games, will be made available to Dundalk instead.

Dundalk won the FAI Cup last year at the Aviva Stadium. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne  

"The flexibility that the FAI have showed around League fixtures amongst the four clubs involved in Europe has helped the players recover adequately and that is important strategically when trying to reach your optimum level," said Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny.

"Ger Dunne and his video analysis team, who have worked closely with our assistant manager, Vinny Perth, have helped us to prepare for our two previous opponents BATE Borisov and FH.

"We're delighted that our next game will be at the Aviva Stadium. The players want to play on the biggest stage and in the national stadium. What we dream of in this League to play in the Aviva Stadium and to have it full - that does not happen very often. 

"We experienced playing there with the FAI Cup Final last year so it is great to get to play in the Aviva Stadium again. We are very appreciative of the FAI's help in that regard."

The FAI say that they "will provide the SSE Airtricity League club with administrational and operational assistance, in the running of the game, to cater for the club's every need, at no financial benefit to the FAI".

The first leg will be played on either August 16 or 17 and the second leg on August 23 or 24.

FAI Director of Competitions, Fran Gavin, added:"The FAI remains committed to working with the SSE Airtricity League clubs towards a new pathway and the recent announcement of supplying funding for strategic business planning is one part of that.

"Assisting SSE Airtricity League clubs is a priority for the Association, by ways of example, whether that is in helping Bohemians with the redevelopment of Dalymount Park, Cork City and the Glanmire Centre of Excellence, or Wexford Youths and the securing of Ferrycarrig Park for Irish domestic football."