Shelbourne flew out to Slovenia on Tuesday ahead of their UEFA Women’s Champions League qualifier against ZNK Pomurje Beltinci.

The game is effectively a semi-final: if Shels beat the Slovenian champions on Thursday, they will face either Valur from Iceland or Armenian side Hayasa on Sunday for a place in the second round.

Should Noel King’s team gets through the second round, they will then enter the 16-team group format.

The game will take place at the 4,500-capacity Fazanerija Stadium in northeastern Slovenia, where St Patrick's Athletic recently played NS Mura in their Europa Conference League qualifier.

Champions League football is the reward for Shels’ remarkable Women’s National League title win last November. A 3-2 win over Wexford Youths, coupled with Peamount United’s shock 5-2 defeat against Galway, handed King's charges the title.

Last month, the Dublin club announced the signing of American World Cup winner Heather O'Reilly, who admitted the prospect of Champions League football was one of the main reasons behind her surprise decision to come out of retirement and head to Ireland.

The 37-year-old played for several different teams in the National Women's Soccer League in the States and had a season-long stint with Arsenal in the WSL.

"When I was contemplating what clubs would be interesting to me and what clubs I felt I could make an immediate impact on, I thought about Shelbourne," she said after signing.

"They're the champions of Ireland, they had a very successful season last year in order to win the league, but they are still very much a club and a league that needs a lot of growth.

"I feel that I could bring some eyeballs onto this league, bring some eyeballs onto this team and grow the game a little bit whilst living out this dream of mine to play Champions League football.

"A lot of people will look at this, raise some eyebrows and think that this is an interesting career move, but I'm chasing my dream. I had this unchecked box and I’m looking to go do it, and for good reasons. I’m thrilled about it, the club is thrilled about it, and I think it’s one of those situations where it’s just a win-win all around."

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