Molloy taking 'nothing for granted' with Welsh rivals
ON PAPER, it's the handiest European draw possible for Derry City, a winnable tie without the burden of a difficult trip for the away leg.
But as Derry City prepare to take on Welsh side Aberystwyth Town in the Europa League at the Brandywell tonight, Euro veteran Barry Molloy (pictured, below) knows all too well that games are never won on paper.
The Derry native captains the Candystripes in what will be his 15th appearance in Europe for the club, and Molloy can draw on past experiences such as that thrilling win over Gothenburg in 2006 and a clash with a pre-Zlatan Ibrahimovic Paris St-Germain - in his four Euro campaigns with City Molloy has managed to get through at least one round on two occasions.
But he also knows that Irish clubs have been burned in the past when they expected to get through against so-called minnows.
In two of their recent battles with Welsh sides, Irish teams have lost ties which they had presumed they'd win (Bohemians in 2010, Longford Town in 2005) while Longford also endured a Euro defeat by opposition from Liechtenstein whom they had hoped to beat.
So the Derry captain has discounted the theory that his side can expect to get past Aberystwyth and into a meeting with Belarus side Shakhter Soligursk in the second round.
"You can take nothing for granted in Europe as the Europa League is a very hard, competitive competition to play in," says Molloy. "The Welsh Premier Division is a strong league now and they will have a lot of players with experience, so we can expect two tough games.
"I know some of the boys who played for Bohemians when they played a Welsh side four years ago. They were expected to beat TNS and get into the next round, especially after Bohs won the first leg.
"But they had a disaster away, lost heavily and went out of Europe.
"I think complacency was a factor for them and we can't let that affect our preparations.
"But home advantage could be on our side, we have the first leg at home so if we can go over to Wales with a good result and a clean sheet we have a good chance," added Molloy.
Now aged 30 and established as a senior player with the captain's armband under Derry boss Peter Hutton (pictured, above), Molloy was only making his way in the game when he had his Euro debut in 2006.
"Europe has been a great experience, but some of the trips we have had were tough, it was really tiring to get to places like Armenia and Bulgaria," he says.
"But in general the results have been good in Europe and hopefully we can carry that on and get into the next round."