For just the third time, a League of Ireland side will be involved in the group stage of a major European competition.

For Dundalk, this season marks the second time the club has made it to this lucrative juncture of the Europa League, four years on from their memorable maiden participation under current Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny's guidance.

Interim head coach Filippo Giovagnoli is at the helm this time however as Dundalk launch their group stage campaign against Norway's Molde at Tallaght Stadium, with future ties against the mighty Arsenal and Austria's Rapid Vienna still to come in Group B.

Kick-off will be at 5.55pm.


Thursday looks set to begin cold and dry with sunny spells developing in the morning. Staying mainly dry for the afternoon but with a partial build-up of cloud.

By evening a few patches of light rain are possible as cloud increases from the west. Top temperatures of 10 to 12 degrees in moderate west or southwest breezes.


There will be a live blog on RTÉ.ie and the RTÉ News app, with updates on RTÉ 2fm's Game On. Live television coverage is available on Virgin Media 2. 

Filippo Giovagnoli


Speaking after Monday's win at Derry City where he had made seven changes to the starting team, Giovagnoli highlighted the "ridiculously complicated" and hectic nature of Dundalk's schedule.

"We have important matches every three days and if we don't rotate like that, we're going to have injuries," he said.

The Italian will undoubtedly play his strongest available side against Molde, with rotation then likely when they resume League of Ireland action on Sunday at Waterford.

A glamour trip to Arsenal follows next Thursday before more LOI duties away at St Patrick's Athletic on 1 November, before games against Rapid Vienna and Sligo Rovers in the seven days after that. Busy to say the least.

Gary Rogers and Brian Gartland were among those rested at Derry, while Patrick Hoban and Chris Shields were among those brought on as subs so they are likely to slot straight back into the team to face Molde.

Dane Massey remains absent however as he continues his recovery from a hip injury.


This is not Molde's first rodeo when it comes to facing League of Ireland sides in Europe. 

Back in the 2013–14 season, they beat Sligo Rovers over two legs in the Champions League second qualifying round when current Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was their head coach.

That was one of two spells in charge at Molde for the Norway striking great, either side of a tenure at Cardiff City and before he was released to take charge of former club United.

Solskjaer at the The Showgrounds in Sligo in July 2013

He led Molde to consecutive league titles in 2011 and 2012 during his first spell as well as the Norwegian cup.

The club which is based on Norway's northwestern shoreline, not far from Ålesund where former Republic of Ireland and current Treaty United captain Marie Curtin spent a season in 2012. 

Molde have featured in the group stages of European competition sporadically. As far back as the 1999–00, they played in the Champions League group stages where eventual champions Real Madrid, Porto and Olympiacos were the opposition.

More recently, they have played in the Europa League group stages in 2012–13 and 2015–16, reaching the knockout stages on the latter occasion where competition powerhouses Sevilla ended their campaign after a memorable run that saw them top a group featuring continental giants Celtic, Ajax and Fenerbahce.  

They are currently second in the Norwegian top flight, which like the League of Ireland, is a summer league, although like many competitions, its start was delayed considerably due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(l-r) Gergo Lovrencsics of Ferencvarosi TC wins the ball from Magnus Wolff Eikrem in September's Champions League qualifiers


Manager Erling Moe, who succeeded Solskjaer, has played a 4-2-3-1 almost exclusively this season. The side is captained by Magnus Wolf Eikrem, a name familiar to Manchester United fans, given his spell at the club as a youth and reserve player.

The 30-year-old was once a regular cap for Norway and tends to play in the number 10 position for Molde.

Their top scorer is Norwegian striker Ohi Omoijuanfo who has weighed in with seven in the league and two more in the Europa League qualifiers. After a domestic drought dating back to early August, he found the net against league leaders Bodo/Glimt at the weekend.