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Bolger: City Lev nothing to chance.

Byline: PAUL O'HEHIR

Cork City v Levadia (2-0) Turners Cross, 7.45pm

GREG BOLGER believes Cork City are capable of making significant inroads in Europe - but knows it will be a slog.

The Rebels should book their place in the Europa League second qualifying round tonight when they host Levadia Tallinn.

Goals from Garry Buckley and Steve Beattie secured a valuable 2-0 victory in Estonia and Cork will bank [euro]440,000 if they progress.

Before the first-leg, John Caulfield, inset, said Irish teams reaching group stages like Dundalk last year will be the exception, not the norm.

And while Bolger is up for the fight, he appreciates the difficulty of going all the way from the opening round.

Only six teams from a total of 576 clubs have done it since the Europa League replaced the old Uefa Cup.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Qabala did it last season, Rosenborg and Qabala the year before while Fulham (2011/12), Twente (2012/13) and Tromson (2013/14) also achieved it.

Bolger told Mirror Sport: "Doing it over four rounds is hard physically and mentally but it won't be for the want of trying.

"You have to play eight games to get to the groups. Dundalk got there in six last year after going out of the Champions League.

"It was fantastic for them but if it happens again, I think it'll be that route rather than a team going all the way through the Europa.

"I hope I'm wrong but it could be years before an Irish team does it again. Obviously we'd love to do it.

"Last year we got a good draw.

Linfield were out of season, then we did well to beat Hacken and we asked some tough questions of Genk (eventual quarter-finalists).

"But the quality of opposition goes up so much when you're hitting that level, so it's not easy getting to the groups but we're not looking past tonight."

AEK Larnaca of Cyprus await the winners as they lead Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar 5-0 after their first-leg.

Bolger said: "We did well in Estonia and have a good lead but can't afford to be complacent.

"We want to win this game, we don't want to settle for a draw.

"Levadia have to go for it but we're at home and there'll be a big crowd in, so we want to finish the job."

CAPTION(S):

UP FOR FIGHT Cork's Greg Bolger

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 6, 2017
Words:405
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