Shelbourne FC were eliminated from European competition at the first hurdle for the third time in succession as NK Olimpija Ljubljana reached the first round of the UEFA Cup after a 3-2 win at Tolka Park.
Coach Suad Beširovic's team had the upper hand going into the game courtesy of a 1-0 first-leg victory in Slovenia, and they strengthened their grip on the tie in the ninth minute, when former Portsmouth FC playmaker Mladen Rudonja cut a swathe through the Shelbourne defence and created a chance which striker Nedim Jusufbeaovic steered calmly past goalkeeper Steve Williams.
But Shelbourne struck back and drew level in the 15th minute. Winger Richie Baker, a former Republic of Ireland Under-18 and Under-21 international, sped down the wing and delivered a cross which deceived the Olimpija defence and allowed Ollie Cahill to head in.
Just before the interval Olimpija went 2-1 up, Fausto Budicin putting Anton Zlogar in position to finish from close range. And the Slovenians collected their third of the night in the 56th minute when Marko Kmetic caught Shelbourne defender Kevin Doherty in possession, and shot past the exposed Williams.
Jason Byrne could have pulled one back with a free-kick on 71 minutes after Wesley Hoolahan had been fouled by Budicin, but Olimpija goalkeeper Borut Mavric saved the effort, and the night of misery for the Dublin club was compounded when their captain, Owen Heary, was carried off on a stretcher with ankle damage. Byrne did score in injury time, following a cross from Cahill, but Olimpija were already on their way to the next round.