Colleges & Universities team get their caps
The team played a number of high profile international fixtures in the 2017-2018 season with 29 players making an appearance for Greg Yelverton’s side.
The side contained a mixture of SSE Airtricity League and Danske Bank Irish Premiership players along with emerging talents from the likes of the Munster Senior League. It demonstrates the continuing growth of the game within Third Level which has evolved into the Colleges and Universities Football League. The CUFL has grown from strength to strength in its thirteen seasons of existence.
The league currently contains over one hundred teams across seven tiers of Men’s and Women’s football. In 2015, following decades of competing as national representative sides as Colleges and Universities individually, both affiliates agreed, in conjunction with the FAI, upon forming a combined international team to compete at international level.
As a result of this new relationship and its success in its three years of existence to date, the FAI have continued to award international caps to all players that played for the side and be recognised at the 3 FAI International Player of the Year awards ceremony with UCC’s Sean McLoughlin the latest recipient of the award in 2016-17. McLoughlin is still studying in UCC and featured in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup Final for Cork City,
Players are becoming more aware of the opportunities on offer at Third Level with the opportunity to further their academic progression and play football at a competitive elite level with the lucrative scholarships available has enticed over one hundred players from the SSE Airtricity League to continue their education this semester.
FAI CEO John Delaney was in attendance at the event and presented the caps to each player. “It’s always a great honour for players to represent their country and receive an international cap. Third Level Football is a very important area for the Association as we continue to encourage young players to combine education and football pursuits. I want to congratulate Head Coach Greg Yelverton and his staff on his success with the team being unbeaten in 2017-18 and Greg's personal achievement of receiving his UEFA Pro Licence in August."
Yelverton has been in the role since 2015 and is gearing his side up for another tilt at the World University Games which are set to take place in Naples, Italy next July.
He has already begun his preparation for the campaign last week with the first assessments held last week in the FAI National Training Centre, Abbotstown with players involved from SSE Airtricity League clubs and both the 2018 FAI and IFA Intermediate Cup winning sides, Maynooth University Town and Queen’s University, Belfast.
Colleges and Universities 2017-2018 Squad
Goalkeepers: Matthew Connor (Waterford IT), Lee Steacy (Dublin IT), Cathal O’Hanlon (UCC)
Defenders: Maurice Nugent (NUI Galway), Ross Taheny (DCU), Sean O’Mahony (UCC), Tristan Noack-Hofmann (DCU), Conor Kane (Maynooth University), Shane Elworthy (IT Blanchardstown), Darragh Gibbons (Maynooth University), Conor Keeley (Griffith College Dublin), Liam Scales (UCD)
Midfielders: Jamie Hollywood (IT Blanchardstown), Jason McClelland (UCD), Shane Daly-Butz (UCC), Georgie Poynton (Dundalk IT), Conor Barry (NUI Galway), Jonny Bonner (IT Carlow), Anthony McAlavey (IT Carlow), Darragh Noone (Dublin IT), Adrian Delap (Letterkenny IT) Pierce Phillips (UCC), Carlton Ubaezuonu (Dundalk IT), Daniel O’Connell (Cork IT)
Forwards: Alan O’Sullivan (DCU), Daire O’Connor (UCD), Georgie Kelly (UCD), Jack O’Keefe (Dundalk IT), Shane Barnes (IT Carlow)