Shamrock Rovers' Europa League opponents Shkupi have released an extraordinary statement condemning the "evil" decision to prevent them from flying into Dublin, with the North Macedonian side instead heading to Shannon Airport ahead of their Tallaght Stadium showdown tonight.

Last month, Rovers had to depart from Shannon for their Champions League qualification tie against Hibernians of Malta because Dublin Airport was unable to facilitate their charter flight.

Stephen Bradley told RTÉ Sport that it did not make sense that Ludogorets were then able to fly into Dublin Airport the following week.

St Patrick's Athletic had to fly out from Knock for their Europa Conference League first-leg clash with CSKA Sofia yesterday, again due to being unable to secure a departure spot from Dublin.

RTÉ Sport understands Pat's officials were irked at being forced to journey to Mayo rather than leave from their home city.

Likewise, the Slovenian side who Pat's beat in the first round had to land in Mayo rather than Dublin.

On Thursday, Shkupi posted a statement on their club website complaining about their own detour to the west of Ireland ahead of the Europa League third qualifying round first leg.

They have urged the North Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to intervene and ensure the squad is allowed to fly home from Dublin after tonight's match.

"Our team is being interfered with by making small plays in such an unbecoming manner," the statement read.

"Despite our budget, we were trying to keep our players comfortable by hiring a charter plane and paying thousands of euros to ensure that our players could make it to the Europa League in good health, but the Irish government did not listen to UEFA, despite the intervention of UEFA, landed us 300km away from Dublin [the actual distance is 209km] and gave our team an undeserved treatment on this journey.

"Likewise, after the match, he will send it back 300km and fly it from there. Unfortunately, this has not been done to any other team except the North Macedonia team, our loneliness has emerged again as we progressed on the European road.

"I beg your North Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that we should at least arrange for tonight's return to Dublin."

In a pointed message, the North Macedonian champions have said they will use the inconvenience as a motivational tool.

They added: "We would like to say to the Irish that they should know well that we have a very characterful team.

"The reward of being a team is to respond as a team to the evil done to you in the same way. Today our team will show you what a character it is, like lions on the field.

"It will show that there is no team that will not bow down to such cheap games. Such cheap games should not have a place in football. They should not go unpunished.

"You only landed FC Shkupi at the airport, but you landed PFC Ludogorets in Dublin. Could you treat us the same if any Italian, Spanish, German or English team showed up? We hope that our government will respond to this situation."

RTÉ Sport understands Shamrock Rovers could not fly from Dublin due to an ongoing shortage of ground staff at the airport, but it is understood ACL, the independent slot coordinator at Dublin Airport, did not receive any charter requests for flights originating from North Macedonia.

Watch CSKA Sofia v St Patrick's Athletic live on the RTÉ News channel on Thursday at 5.55pm, with a live blog on and the RTÉ News app, including updates on Viking FC v Sligo Rovers and then Shamrock Rovers v Shkupi at 8pm