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Monday 18 December 2017

Dundalk get green light for Euro action

DUNDALK have been given the green light to play in European football for the first time in eight years after manager Ian Foster sorted out the paperwork which could have prevented the club from playing in the Europa League, writes Aidan Fitzmaurice.

Despite finishing fifth in the Premier Division last season, Dundalk were in line to play in the Europa League as Cork City and Derry City, who finished in the top four, were booted out of the Premier Division.

But the Oriel Park club faced losing their Euro slot as manager Foster did not have the Pro Licence coaching qualification which is mandatory for UEFA competition. However, Foster has now signed up for a course run by the English FA and that will be enough to allow him to coach the Lilywhites in Europe.

"We are very appreciative of the efforts of the FAI, and have no doubt that their recommendations and support for Ian's Pro Licence application played a major part in securing this coveted place on the English FA course," Dundalk CEO Gerry Matthews said.

However, the 19-year wait to see European football in Oriel Park may go on, as there is no guarantee that the ground will meet UEFA standards.

Dundalk's most recent home games in Europe were played in Tolka Park (2002) and United Park (1995).

HULL City hope to have their top scorer Stephen Hunt fit for their weekend clash with Arsenal.

Hunt has been out of action for 10 days with a foot injury and was unable to play in last week's friendly against Brazil, but boss Phil Brown says the player is close to a return.

"Stephen Hunt's damaged foot needs rest and fingers crossed he will have sufficient rest to play in the Arsenal game," Brown said.

IRELAND U21 winger Graham Carey hopes that a loan spell at St Mirren can help him win a new contract from Celtic.

"My main aim is to extend my Celtic deal," said Dubliner Carey, who scored for St Mirren against Rangers last weekend.

"My contract is up in the summer and hopefully if I play well then we'll have talks." "It's an important few months because not only am I trying to impress the Celtic gaffer I'm trying to impress every manager in the league."

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