The 2019 FISU Summer Universiad (World University Games) will take place in the Italian city of Naples, and ahead of those games the Ireland Football Teams, both men and women, have been announced. Both squads are filled with talent from the League of Ireland and from the Women’s National League.
The football competition will begin on Tuesday 2nd July as Dave Connell’s Women’s team will take on current holders Brazil in their Group C opener in Casoria. Greg Yelverton’s Men’s team will have to wait three more days when they begin their Group A campaign against South Korea, also in Casoria.
The Team Ireland delegation of 52 athletes were officially unveiled at the official launch this morning in the National Sports Campus by Student Sport Ireland President Carmel Lynch, Head of Delegation Peter Stafford, Deputy Head of Delegation Niamh O’Callaghan, Sport Ireland High Performance Director Paul McDermott and Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Italy Mr. Donato Scioscioli.
Each team will travel with a squad of twenty players to the tournament. The Women’s squad which finished 10th at the 2017 Universiade in Chinese Taipei contains six survivors for this year’s competition, including Cork City captain Ciara McNamara who lifted the FAI Women’s Senior Cup just weeks after returning from the Far East. Connell has also added experience from the Senior International team with Aislinn Meaney and Niamh Farrelly selected along with a number of current U19 internationals.
Speaking at the prospect of locking horns with the current world champions, Connell said “It is a terrific opportunity for our players to test themselves against the best of the world. We have an abundance of underage international experience and some have already broken into the Senior team. We’re under no illusions that we will face two proven teams at this level in the group stage however our aim to qualify from the group remains the same.
Greg Yelverton’s Men’s side contains three of the 2017 squad for this year’s tournament with IT Carlow’s Alan O’Sullivan set to lead the line. O’Sullivan scored 5 goals in Taipei, narrowly missing top goalscorer honours by a single goal to Russia’s Ivan Sergeyev, currently plying his trade with FC Torpedo Moscow in the Russian Football National League. Yelverton has named eighteen of his twenty-man squad with assessments on injuries set to determine the final makeup of the squad. Although finishing 13th in Taipei, Yelverton’s squad had an impressive record of 2 wins, a draw and 2 defeats with the draw coming against Silver Medallists France and one of the defeats coming to Bronze Medallists, Mexico.
Speaking ahead of his second tournament in charge of the Men’s team, the Cork native said “The Universiade presents a unique challenge for all athletes participating to compete against their academic peers across the globe. Representing your country is the biggest honour you can achieve as an athlete. My staff and I have constantly emphasised this message to the players in our preparations. The Universiade is an incredible challenge, both mentally and physically, for Third Level players to compete against countries across the world and the experience they will get from the tournament will have influence on their developing careers as footballers.”
Both teams will complete their preparations for the tournament with training camps in the University of Limerick before departing for Italy on Saturday 29th June.
Team Ireland Men’s Squad
Goalkeepers: David Coffey (UCC), Gavin Sheridan (UCD)
Defenders: Gordon Walker (UCC), John Kavanagh (UCC), Joseph Manley (TU Dublin), Maurice Nugent (NUI Galway) Robert Slevin (UCC), Ronan Young (Queen’s University)
Midfielders: Anthony McAlavey (IT Carlow), Cillian Duffy (Maynooth University), David Hurley (UCC), Dean Kelly (IT Carlow), Michael Scott (TU Dublin), Pierce Phillips (UCC) Sean McSweeney (UL), Shane Daly-Butz (UCC)
Attackers: Alan O’Sullivan (IT Carlow), Simon Falvey (UCC)
Team Ireland Men’s Staff
Greg Yelverton (Head Coach), Luke Hardy (Assistant Coach), David Bourke (Goalkeeper Coach), Paul Walsh (Equipment Officer), Johnny Loughrey (Physiotherapist)
Team Ireland Women’s Squad
Goalkeepers: Amanda McQuillan (IT Carlow), Naoisha McAloon (TU Dublin)
Defenders: Chloe Mustaki (UCD), Ciara McNamara (UCC), Jessica Gargan (Quinnipiac University), Lauren Dwyer (IT Carlow), Lynn Craven (DCU), Sadhbh Doyle (NUI Galway), Shauna Fox (NUI Galway)
Midfielders: Ailbhe Clancy (DCU) Aislinn Meaney (NUI Galway), Eleanor Ryan-Doyle (TU Dublin), Gemma McGuinness (Ulster University), Megan Smyth-Lynch (IT Carlow), Niamh Farrelly (DCU), Tiegan Ruddy (Central Connecticut State University), Zoe McGlynn (Letterkenny IT)
Attackers: Amber Barrett (DCU), Elle Rose O’Flaherty (NUI Galway), Lauren Kelly (Maynooth University)
Team Ireland Women’s Staff
David Connell (Head Coach), David Bell (Assistant Coach), Keith O’Halloran (Coach), Barbara Bermingham (Equipment Officer) Kathryn Fahy (Physiotherapist)
2019 FISU Summer Universiade Men’s Football – Group A Fixtures
2019 FISU Summer Universiade Women’s Football – Group C Fixtures