FINISHING second in the league in Marty Quinn's first season meant Coleraine were back in the UEFA Cup for the 2000/01 season. The draw for the qualifing round saw Coleraine paired with the first Scandinavian opponents in their European history, Swedish side Örgryte IS, a club most famous in this country as one Sammy McIlroy briefly played for during the 1980's.
Scandinavian opponents are not ideal for Irish League sides as in addition to the advantage of full time training, they are also in the middle of their domestic season when the Europeran games start, compared to an Irish League side still in pre-season. Örgryte had an experienced team, including future English Premiership players Marcus Allback and Johan Elmander and a number of internationals and within eight minutes of the start of the first leg at The Showgrounds, had taken the lead.
Despite the early setback, Coleraine kept battling and threw themselves a lifeline just before the hour mark as debutant Ryan McLaughlin levelled the scores. But this wasn't enough to earn a draw as ten minutes from the end, the visitors struck again, ensuring they would take a lead leg in Gothenburg.
Two weeks later, in the impressive Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg, the sides met again for the second leg, with it looking like a case of damage limitation for Coleraine. But although the rearguard was breached on the 45 minute mark, there was to be no walkover for the Swedes as Coleraine held out to record a very credible 3-1 aggregate loss.
UEFA Cup Qualifying Round 2000/01
First Leg - 10.08.2000
Coleraine 1-2 Örgryte IS
Team: McKeown, Clanachan, Smyth, Gaston, Devine, McLaughlin, Loughery (Picking), McCoosh, Tolan (Kerr), McAllister, Gray (Keegan).
Unused Subs: McAuley, Dallas, McCann, Anderson
Second Leg - 24.08.2000
Örgryte IS 1-0 Coleraine
Team: McKeown, Picking, Smyth, Devine, Stewart, McCoosh, McAllister, Gray, Keegan (McAuley), McLaughlin, Tolan.
Unused Subs: Gaston, Kerr, McCann, Clanachan.
Örgryte IS win 3-1 on aggregate