Shamrock Rovers penalty shootout hero Joey O'Brien said a lack of respect from European opposition is the fuel that's driving the Hoops to defy the odds this year.

O'Brien scored two penalties - the second of which won the tie - in a epic test of nerve with Finnish outfit Ilves on Thursday night as the Hoops squeezed into the second round of Europa League qualifying.

They had to get through extra-time with ten men after Liam Scales picked up two yellow cards but Stephen Bradley's men showed real guts to get through a tough, tight battle. 

Former Bolton and West Ham defender O'Brien was immense all night, and when it came to the shootout he stood tall - scoring two kicks in a game of roulette that saw a total of 26 penos taken.

"We were just talking about it there - one of the lads said, 'I've never been in a situation like that'," O'Brien told RTÉ Sport's Tony O'Donoghue.

"I've actually been in a couple of them, peno shootouts in European rounds. But I've never been in one that's gone back around.

"When we got to seven, eight, I started thinking, 'I might be going back up here!'. The nerves started building up again.

"I don't know if it helped that there was no fans or... it was one of them. You just have to pick your spot. You hope the keeper goes the wrong way and you find the back of the net. Thankfully for me it happened twice."

O'Brien conceded a penalty ten minutes in for a handball but he strongly contested that decision. In fact the Dubliner was critical of Slovakian ref Michal Ocenas' performance overall.

"I'm not too sure they were two yellow cards [for Scales] to be honest," he said. 

"A lot of decisions went against us. The peno, it's an awful decision. It hit me clean in the face. We showed great character to stay in the game. We had to dig in in extra-time and luckily we done that."

With Derry City and Bohs knocked out, Shamrock Rivers and Dundalk are waving the flag for Ireland in the Europa League now. O'Brien is determined to upset a few more sides as they aim to keep the momentum going.

"We talked about it in the dressing-room. You don't get the respect off these teams when you're playing them. We wanted to go out and make sure we came through it.

"Financially it's great for the football club. It's been a tough year for every industry, but its been a tough year for us as a football club. Hopefully it's a few quid for the club to sustain other things."