Shamrock Rovers chairman thrilled by Spurs Europa draw

Shamrock Rovers players celebrate their win in Belgrade
Rovers, from Ireland's Premier Division, are the most successful club in League of Ireland history

Shamrock Rovers chairman Jonathan Roche spoke of his disbelief after his side were drawn with Tottenham in the group stages of the Europa League.

The League of Ireland Premier Division champions earned the right to be in Friday's draw in Monaco after a 3-2 aggregate win over Partizan Belgrade.

Rovers are likely to earn over £800,000 from a group which will also have games against Rubin Kazan and PAOK Salonika.

"Six years ago we were relegated, then the fans took over the club," he said.

"We would have taken anybody, it's a great draw for our fans.

"Last night was a historic occasion for us and to top it off like this, it hasn't quite soaked in.

"We won the league for first time in 16 years last season and hopefully this shows people that we play a good style of football.

"It's not really about the money but it's the whole razzmatazz and the whole profile of the football club. Hopefully we can do ourselves justice."

Roche is hopeful that Rovers will be able to the Premier League giants at their Tallaght Stadium home in Dublin, which has a capacity of just under 6,000.

The club plan to hold talks over bringing the ground up to the minimum standard required by UEFA but moving their home games to the Aviva Stadium is a distinct possibility.

"I think that will be an option for all the ties," added Roche.

"We will sit down with our association (FAI) and see what the best thing is for ourselves."

Rovers will open their group campaign with a home game against the Russian side on 15 September before travelling to face Tottenham at White Hart Lane on 29 September.

The home game against Tottenham is scheduled for 15 December.

Roche paid tribute to the efforts of Rovers manager, former Northern Ireland international Michael O'Neill.

"Michael O'Neill is in the last year of his contract and hopefully we will do something on that but it has been a great experience for him too," he said.

"He was with Brechin two years ago and came home to us at the same time as our new ground and we have built on it, and it has been a magnificent time."

Rovers became the first Irish side to reach the group stages of a European competition with Thursday's famous 2-1 away win over the Serb outfit.

Substitute Stephen O'Donnell scored a penalty in extra-time to take his side through 3-2 on aggregate after last week's draw in Dublin.

Vladimir Volkov put the hosts ahead in the 35th minute but Pat Sullivan scored a stunning 58th-minute equaliser.

Shamrock Rovers' Europa League group fixtures

Rubin Kazan (home) 15 September

Tottenham (away) 29 September

PAOK Salonika (away) 20 October

PAOK Salonika (home) 3 November

Rubin Kazan (away) 30 November

Tottenham (home) 15 December

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