Less than a week-and-a-half has passed since the curtain came down on Cliftonville’s season but, having secured automatic European qualification for the first time since 2014, it’s only natural that supporters’ minds are already wandering to next month’s Europa Conference League first qualifying round draw.
For some, the occasion will represent a first opportunity to follow the Reds on the continent, while others are looking forward to renewing a familar routine of planes, trains and automobiles to get behind their team. All of them, though, have one simple question on their minds – where could the draw take us?
Anyone who has been maintaining a daily check of our dedicated European Guide, which reflects all the latest confirmed developments in Leagues and Cup competitions across the UEFA spectrum, will have seen some significant updates in recent days as Cliftonville’s list of potential first qualifying round opponents narrows.
Those of you not overly enamoured with the various permutations at play and who would prefer a more straightforward explanation may, however, find some of the answers you need below.
What countries do Cliftonville’s list of confirmed potential opponents come from?
Albania, Armenia, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Georgia, Gibraltar, Iceland, Kosovo, Latvia, Moldova, Montenegro and North Macedonia.
What countries could still be added to that list?
Lithuania and Wales
What countries will Cliftonville definitely not face opposition from?
Ireland and Malta
Could Cliftonville be drawn against a team we have faced in Europe before?
No. Cliftonville have never faced the same opposition in two different European campaigns and the list of confirmed and potential entrants means this statistic will be extended into the first qualifying round of next season’s Europa Conference League.
Could Cliftonville face opposition from a country we have previously visited on European duty?
Yes. In the past, the Reds have tackled teams from Latvia, Moldova and Wales – nations who could be represented in the first qualifying round by Liepaja, Riga (both Latvia), Milsami, Petrocub (both Moldova) and Bala Town (Wales).