Football: Welsh minnows tackle Europe

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND's elite in the European club competitions next season will be joined by two Welsh semi-professional teams: Barry Town, the Welsh Cup winners, and Bangor City, who won the Konica League of Wales last week.

Both have qualified for Europe at the expense of Cardiff clubs. Last weekend, at the Arms Park, Barry shocked Cardiff City with a 2-1 triumph in the Allbright Bitter Welsh Cup final to secure their ticket to the Cup-Winners' Cup. Two days later, Bangor won 2-0 at Porthmadog, watched by a crowd of 2,300, to pip Inter Cardiff, tenants at Ninian Park, by two points for the League of Wales title.

For Bangor, next season will bring a third European adventure. They have twice appeared in the Cup-Winners' Cup: most recently in 1986, when they lost home and away to Atletico Madrid after beating the Norwegians, Fredrikstad, on away goals in the first round.

If the away-goals rule had existed in 1962, Bangor would have beaten Napoli. After a 2-0 win in north Wales and a 3-1 loss in Italy, however, Bangor lost a play-off at Highbury. Next term, Bangor will become the first Welsh club to appear in two European tournaments. Unlike Cwmbran Town last summer, though, they will not be playing in the European Cup, as Uefa's redrawing of the rules means that Bangor will be one of many champion clubs consigned to the Uefa Cup.

Bangor are just delighted to be back in Europe. 'It proves we did the right thing in coming back into Welsh football when clubs like Colwyn Bay and Caernarfon went into exile,' their secretary, Alun Griffiths, said.

For Barry, whose only previous Welsh Cup win was in 1955, it will be a first European campaign. However, if the Abacus League champions can hang on to players such as Alan Curtis, Terry Boyle and Keith Bertschin - plus their player-manager, Andy Beattie, who has competed in Europe for Merthyr Tydfil - they will field by no means the least experienced team in the Cup-Winners' Cup.