Manchester United have extended an invitation to Shamrock Rovers to attend next week's 50th Anniversary Service of Remembrance and Commemoration of the Munich Air Disaster.

The Hoops played the Red Devils in the European Cup that season, just a few months before eight members of the Busby Babes perished at Munich.

On 6 February 1958 Manchester United were returning from a European Cup quarter-final against Red Star Belgrade when their plane crashed, killing a total of 23 passengers.

As part of the Old Trafford club's 50th Anniversary plans, representatives of their four European Cup opponents that season, including Rovers, have been invited to Manchester.

The Hoops will be represented at United’s Service and Commemoration by two players who featured when the clubs met, Liam Hennessy and Jim 'Maxie' McCann.

'It's a great honour for Shamrock Rovers to be invited,' says Hoops’ chairman, Jonathan Roche. 'And we felt it appropriate to send over two members of the team that played United.

'Liam Hennessy is still a regular at Rovers' games, while Jim McCann became the first player to score in Europe for an Irish club when he got our opening goal at Old Trafford.

'That tie was also the first-ever played in Europe by an Irish club and we're very proud of that and the fact that Rovers' famous Coad's Colts met the great Busby Babes.'

Hennessy recalls the sense of occasion when the sides met at Dalymount Park on 25 September 1957 in front of a crowd of 46,000. 'The atmosphere was something else,' he says.

'That United team had a special aura about them, but they were lovely guys. Gentlemen. Duncan Edwards was only 21, and then there was our own Liam Whelan.

'I was marking Liam and he was very hard to contain. We lost 6-0, but that wasn't a true reflection on the game. They scored four times in the last 20 minutes.'

'We didn't play anything like we could play,' McCann recalls. 'We owed ourselves and the crowd a performance – and we did just that at Old Trafford in the second leg.'

The game on 2 October finished 3-2 to United, with McCann earning the distinction of scoring the first-ever Irish goal in European competition when he grabbed Rovers' opener.

'Liam Tuohy went down the wing and went past Roger Byrne,' he recalls. 'Then he cut the ball back and I hit it from the penalty spot. It was a special moment.

'But Paddy Coad was our best player in the second leg,' he adds. 'He did unbelievable things with the ball and he owned Old Trafford that night.'