"It was unbelievable, just ecstatic," said Saint Patrick's Athletic FC's Christy Fagan after he scored the extra-time goal that set the Dublin side up for a UEFA Europa League third qualifying round meeting with Hannover 96.
With both of St Pat's games against Bosnia and Herzegovina's NK Široki Brijeg ending 1-1 after 90 minutes, it took extra time to separate the sides, with former Manchester United FC trainee Fagan hitting his fourth goal in five European club competition games to settle the tie on 105 minutes. "I just remember the ball in the air," he said. "Conor Kenna got his head to the ball brilliantly. I had the chance to get the ball and to have a good finish. It was unbelievable, just ecstatic."
Captain Kenna added: "It was a very tough game. We started very well, but we stopped playing a bit and they came out a lot more, but at the end we made it. Tonight we played well as a team. We have young lads with talent.
It will be a very tough game against Hannover. They will be top quality and the German league is very good, there are strong teams in there. We will test ourselves against top players and a top team."
St Pat's form in Europe has been decent, considering that they have been going through a relatively barren spell at home; they have not won the domestic cup since 1961 and the last of their seven league titles came in 1999. Europe, however, brings the best out of them. Midfielder Greg Bolger said: "Against Hannover we will represent the Irish league as best as we can and we will see – you never know. This is the opportunity to compare yourself to top players. We will do our best."
Hannover will come to Dublin on 2 August to take on St Pat's at Tallaght Stadium, home of last season's UEFA Europa League group stage contenders Shamrock Rovers FC. The action will then switch to the Hannover Stadion. St Pat's 19-year-old winger Chris Forrester cannot wait. "I have never played in such a big stadium. It will be a great experience. It will be a tough test for us."
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