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07 Jul 2021
A big night of European football is in store this evening as Coleraine, Glentoran and Larne all face first leg ties in the new UEFA Europa Conference League.
Glentoran kick things off at 6:45pm when they welcome Welsh opponents The New Saints to The Oval.
Previously known as TNS, they have been regular visitors to Northern Ireland over the years for European warm-up games and have faced the Glens a number of times in this capacity whilst also coming up against Cliftonville in the 2011/12 Europa League, winning 2-1 on aggregate.
They finished league runners-up last term whilst, in Europe, they got past Slovakian side MSK Ziliba before losing to B36 Torshavn from the Faroe Islands.
For Larne it is an especially momentous occasion and marks their debut on the continental stage. Tiernan Lynch's side are in Wales to face Bala Town with the game to be played at Park Hall in Oswestry (kick-off 7pm).
Bala are making their seventh foray into Europe in less than a decade and last season progressed for the first time with a 1-0 victory over Valletta in the Europa League before exiting to Standard Liege in the next round.
Managed by Colin Caton, Bala qualified by finishing third in Cymru Premier last season.
Then, at 7:30pm, Coleraine take to the field against FK Velež Mostar in the heat of Sarajevo.
Finishing third in the Bosnian Premier League last term, this will be Velež's first European appearance since 1988/89 when they defeated APOEL Nicosia and Belenenses before exiting in the third round of the UEFA Cup to Hearts.
However, the Bannsiders will no doubt approach the tie with a degree of confidence following their heroics last summer which brought victories over La Fiorita and Maribor before bowing out on penalties to Motherwell.