Larne and Linfield in European action as tributes are paid to a Blues legend

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Larne won home and away in the first round

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Linfield and Larne are in European action tonight in the Second Qualifying Round of the new UEFA Conference League.
Both sides are at home in this evening's first leg ties, with Larne hosting Danish side AGF Aarhus (kick-off 7:30pm) while Linfield welcome Bosnian outfit Borac Banja Luka at Windsor Park, kick-off 7:45pm.
Larne go into the game on the back of a 2-0 aggregate defeat of Welsh side Bala Town in the last round, a couple of games which marked the East Antrim sides debut on the continental stage.

Aarhus finished fourth in the Danish Superliga last season and qualified for the Conference League courtesy of a play-off victory over AaB Aalborg. They kicked off the new campaign at the weekend with a 1-1 draw at home to Brondby, with Icelandic international Jón Dagur Þorsteinsson finding the net.

Linfield transferred across to the Conference League after making their Champions League exit to Zalgiris Vilnius last week, although David Healy will have his panel boosted by the availability of loan signings Billy Chadwick and Ahmed Salam.

Tonight's opposition followed a similar path, losing narrowly to FR Cluj in the Champions League despite winning their second leg tie.
Playing in the Bosnian Premier League, they too kicked off their domestic campaign at the weekend with a draw away to Željezničar.

Tommy Leishman. Pic: LFC. 

The following tribute is courtesy of the Linfield FC website:

Linfield Honorary Vice-President Billy Kennedy pays tribute to former Linfield player-manager.

"I was very sorry to learn of the passing of former Linfield player-manager Tommy Leishman. Tommy who passed away after a prolonged illness, aged 83, was one of the most inspirational players I had the pleasure of seeing in my many years following Linfield. 

He was a hard-tackling no-nonsense half-back whose influence on a game covered all aspects of play. Big Tommy was hard, but fair, and, after leading Linfield to a league Championship success in 1965-66 season, he guided the Blues to the European Cup quarter-finals, defeating Aris of Luxemburg and Valerengen of Norway, before losing by the odd goal on aggregate to CSKA Sofia from Bulgaria. That was the season Glasgow Celtic won the European Cup. 

In addition to a League winners' medal Tommy won Gold Cup and Co Antrim Shield medals and was voted Irish League 'Footballer of the Year'.

In his earlier career, Tommy spent several seasons with Liverpool under the legendary managership of Bill Shankly. He also played with Hibernian, St Mirren (where he won a Scottish Cup winners' medal) and Stranraer. 

My deepest sympathy is extended to Tommy's sorrowing family in Scotland. Tommy will forever be remembered by Bluemen of my generation, playing as a colossus in the distinctive No 6 jersey. 

Tommy had very special qualities as a footballer. 

’Fortune Favours the Brave'.

Billy Kennedy, 
Linfield Honorary Vice-President and former Linfield Vice-Chairman

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