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Friday 08 Jul 2016
Reds through after mixed night for NI clubs in Europe

There was a mixed bag of results last night as Northern Ireland's three Europa League representatives - Cliftonville, Glenavon and Linfield - took to the field in the second leg of their First Qualifying Round ties.

Of the trio, only Cliftonville progressed to the next round after a 2-0 defeat of FC Differdange 03 at Solitude.

The Reds were well poised after securing a 1-1 draw in Luxembourg last week and strengthened their chances of progressing after going in front as early as the second minute when Davy McDaid got on the end of a Jay Donnelly flick to fire past 'keeper Julien Weber.

That was how it stayed until a quarter-of-an-hour from the end when Donnelly himself found the net at the back post after connecting with a Chris Curran cross to win the tie 3-1 on aggregate.

Gerard Lyttle's side now face Cypriot opponents AEK Larnaca next week in the Second Qualifying Round, First Leg at Solitude (14th July, 7:45pm) with the return seven days later.

Linfield travelled to Cork City trailing by a single goal from the first leg but couldn't avoid exiting the competition despite drawing 1-1 at Turner's Cross.

The Leesiders had gone in front on the night early in the second half after Sean Maguire converted from the spot following a foul by Matthew Clarke.

But the Blues responded within two minutes thanks to a Mark Stafford finish which saw him head home a Ross Gaynor cross.

Unfortunately it wasn't enough for David Healy's side with only a late Jamie Mulgrew effort coming close to being the second goal they needed to progress.

And it was a night to forget for Glenavon following a 6-0 defeat to Icelandic side KR Reykjavik at Mourneview Park (8-1 on aggregate).

Gary Hamilton's side had hoped to secure a narrow victory after grabbing a vital away goal in the first leg but those hopes quickly evaporated after midfielder Kennie Chopart scored twice in the opening half-an-hour to put the visitors very much in the driving seat.

Further goals followed in the second half through Hólmbert Fridjonsson, Morten Beck, Óskar Hauksson and Denis Fazlagic as KR swept to a crushing win.