Like winning the World Cup for Dundalk.

That’s how the club’s Public Announcer Michael Duffy described Thursday night’s 3-1 victory over KÍ Klaksvik at the Aviva Stadium.

That result has clinched Europa League group stage football for Dundalk for a second time and Duffy was one of those smiling from ear to ear at the full time whistle.

‘It was just magical, absolutely magical,’ he said.

‘I think everybody had a little gut feeling that somehow we were going to turn in a marvellous performance tonight. That’s exactly what we did. The third goal was just pure sublime from Daniel Kelly but we deserved it. We rode our luck a few times with a couple of goal line clearances but that’s what European football is all about. It’s a magical experience but it’s just a pity we couldn’t have fans here to witness it.’

Duffy hailed the transformation Filippo Giovagnoli has overseen since his arrival at Oriel Park.

‘After the opening game in Europe this season we thought we were in for a disaster. Sadly then Vinny Perth got sacked but the Italian boys came in and they’ve been like a breath of fresh air. The place is buzzing. The club is buzzing and you could see out there what it meant to everybody.

‘They were celebrating as if they had won the World Cup but it is like winning the World Cup for Dundalk. It’s a massive achievement. We’re the first club ever in the League of Ireland to qualify twice for the Europa League group stages and that’s not something to be sniffed at.

‘I love Giuseppe and Filippo around the place and the Italian demeanour that they have. It’s brilliant. I picked up on a phrase before the game from Giuseppe ‘Bravo, Bravo’. He kept shouting so I added it at the end each time we got a goal and that will be the new war cry going forward ‘Bravo, Bravo’ and to the boys tonight bravo, bravo.’

Meanwhile, club ambassador Padraig McGowan described the return to the group stages as a ‘dream come true’.

He said: ‘It was an absolute privilege to be here on one of the nights we’ll remember. It was a special night and an incredible story for the new manager and his assistant. It’s fairytale stuff.

‘It’s just incredible what has happened. We trudged around the First Division for years and years and it was hard work but nights like tonight make it all worthwhile and long may it continue. It’s a dream come true,’ said Padraig.