Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley praised the "character and togetherness" of his squad after they beat Brann to advance in the Europa League qualifiers.

It looked like it was all going to come crashing down at Tallaght when Daouda Bamba put the visitors ahead on the night, and in the tie, just before the hour mark.

But the Hoops weren't to be denied, and goals from Jack Byrne and Gary O'Neill saw them through to the second qualifying round, and a tie with Apollon Limassol of Cyprus.

Bradley told RTÉ Sport's John Kenny afterwards that his players defied the odds.

"When you play against a team that probably has ten times our budget, a big, big club, and you go and do that over two legs... I think it's a special night.

"To go behind over there, and come back. To go behind tonight, and win the game. In Europe, that doesn't happen too often.

"I think this group showed tremendous character and togetherness to do that."

Byrne's goal was crucial for the Hoops

Bamba's goal had the Tallaght faithful anxious, but an exquisite finish from Byrne, after being played through by Ronan Finn, swung the tie back in their favour.

"When you're playing a good side like that, they're always going to get chances," according to Bradley.

"We're really disappointed with the goal. It's one ball, straight down the pitch. With all their play in around the box, their runners, you're really disappointed when you give away a goal like that.

"Jack's finish, it reminded me a bit of Paul Scholes.

"In the box, no panic, just a little dink. Jack is showing so much maturity in his game now. When he came here, he was a nice player on the ball. Now he's an all round footballer."

Gary O'Neill, playing in his first European game for Rovers after his move from UCD, put the hosts ahead at Tallaght inside the last five minutes.

It led to a minor pitch invasion in front of the south stand.

The game was briefly delayed after the second Rovers goal

Bradley said it shouldn't have happened, but that he understood why it did.

"I wasn't concerned," said Bradley. "I can understand the fans. You're 1-0 behind in a European game, and you come back and score two to win it.

"I understand the excitement and the passion.

"Do we need to control it better? Probably. But there was never any issue."

Next up for Rovers is the visit of UCD on Sunday, before the first leg against Limassol on Thursday. It's a busty schedule, but Bradley says it's a welcome workload.

"If you asked any of the clubs in Europe, they'd want to play on these big nights.

"You know you have to play your league games, and we'll fully concentrate on them after UCD.

"I wouldn't have it any other way, to be honest.

"We need to understand that when I came in, and I spoke to the board, we thought it would take years to turn it around. It's been building towards a night like this.

"I think there's many more to come with this group of players, and they're building towards something special."