College & Universities squad named for France game
Alain Flavigny’s French side travel to face the Irish Third Level side having been beaten 1-0 by Japan in the Universiade Final in Chinese Taipei last August. Both sides faced each other in Xinzhuang Stadium, New Taipei City in the opening game of Pool A in a 0-0 draw.
Last year's match in Taipei was the second between Ireland and France in 2017. They had already faced each other earlier that summer in the Stade de la Colombière, Épinal with France winning 3-2 despite Ireland leading 2-1 at half-time through goals from Cork City’s Sean McLoughlin and now-New Zealand based Garbhan Coughlan.
Greg Yelverton’s Irish side remain unbeaten in 2018 with victories over Scotland (1-0) and the Irish Defence Forces (5-0) on their record. The Cork native makes seven changes to his squad that dismantled the Defence Forces in April.
NUI Galway and Galway United defender Maurice Nugent misses out through injury with the likes of Ross Taheny and Alan O’Sullivan both unavailable. There are first call-ups for Conor Keeley, Darragh Gibbons, and Jack O’Keeffe whilst SSE Airtricity League First Division top scorer Georgie Kelly is included in the squad for the first time since the clash with the Defence Forces last year.
Speaking ahead of the game, Yelverton said; “We have never had it easy against France. They are a well organised side and pose plenty of threats to us. This is the type of challenge that our players should be hungry for. Scotland and the Defence Forces posed different kind of challenge which we counteracted with our game plan. We will require a lot more focus and discipline to handle France.
"However, despite all of that, France will have to fear us also. We have different types of players that will cause France problems. Georgie Kelly has proved in the last 18 months that he is growing into one of the top number nines in the SSE Airtricity League. Shane Daly-Butz was the standout for the Republic of Ireland Amateurs in their recent game also.
"We have good young talent in this squad, so hopefully they can go out and express that against France. They may be the second best team in the world right now but we certainly possess the talent to trouble them."
Colleges & Universities Squad to face France Universities
Goalkeepers: Matt Connor (Waterford IT/Waterford FC), Cathal O’Hanlon (UCC/UCC AFC)
Defenders: Shane Elworthy (IT Blanchardstown/Longford Town), Conor Kane (Maynooth University/Drogheda United), Conor Keeley (Griffith College Dublin/Cabinteely), Liam Scales (UCD/UCD AFC), Pierce Phillips (UCC/Cobh Ramblers*), Darragh Gibbons (Maynooth University/Bray Wanderers)
Midfielders: Jamie Hollywood (IT Blanchardstown/Longford Town), Shane Daly-Butz (UCC/UCC AFC), Georgie Poynton (Dundalk IT/Dundalk FC), Daire O’Connor (UCD/UCD AFC), Anthony McAlavey (IT Carlow/Cobh Ramblers), Jonny Bonner (IT Carlow/Crusaders),
Attackers: Georgie Kelly (UCD/UCD AFC), Jason McClelland (UCD/UCD AFC), Jack O’Keeffe (Dundalk IT/Dundalk FC), Carlton Ubaezuonu (Dundalk IT/Galway United*)