Athlone's Robbie stars in €1.2m Champions League success for Dundalk

Thursday, 21st July, 2016 11:48am

Athlone's Robbie stars in €1.2m Champions League success for Dundalk

Robbie Benson in action for Athlone Town. Pic: Ann Hennessy

Athlone native Robbie Benson has played a key role in helping Dundalk win a Champions League tie worth €1.2m to the club.

The local man was introduced at half time in the second leg of Dundalk's Champions League Second Qualifying round clash away to Iceland's FH Hafnarfjordur yesterday (Wednesday) evening.

Dundalk were losing 1-0 on the night, and 2-1 on aggregate, when Benson was brought off the bench as a replacement for John Mountney.

He had an immediate impact on proceedings, linking the play intelligently as Dundalk upped their game.

The Irish side was awarded a penalty which was missed by Ronan Finn in the 50th minute, but despite this setback their heads never dropped and Benson was involved in the build-up to the tie's equalising goal from David McMillan in the 52nd minute.

Ten minutes later, Dundalk were in front as the in-form McMillan finished off an excellent team move.

The Icelandic side made it 2-2 on the night with 13 minutes remaining but, despite some tense moments late in the game, Dundalk held on to advance on away goals as the tie ended 3-3 on aggregate.

Stephen Kenny's side now face Champions League group stage regulars BATE Borisov in the third qualifying round, and the the first leg will be played in Belarus next Tuesday.

Even if they don't advance against BATE, the Louth side are now guaranteed another fixure in the Europa League qualification stages.

Robbie Benson's journey in football began locally with the St Francis club. He started his League of Ireland career with Athlone Town before going on to become a key member of the UCD team in recent years. He was signed by Dundalk late last year.

This tweet gives a flavour of the reaction on social media to Robbie's performance during last night's fixture:

 

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