03 June 2009
Report from Evening Herald Monday 1st June. Ireland team manager Kieran Harding finally gets the opportunity to assess the strength of his charges ahead of next month's World University Games in Belgrade when he takes on Gerry Smith's Republic of Ireland Amateurs bound for Croatia and the UEFA Regions Cup Finals in a representative friendly match on Sunday next at the AUL Complex 2.00.
Harding had been facing major difficulties in putting together his squad for the bi-annual games which begin on June 30.
With the tournament set to take place right in the middle of the League of Ireland season the Ireland boss has found many senior clubs unable to release players on their books who are studying at third level institutions and would be eligible for selection.
"It's disappointing that because of commitments to their clubs several players will have to miss out on the opportunity to take part in this wonderful tournament," said Harding.
Another factor which is believed to have caused difficulties is that each player selected to travel to Belgrade will be required to cover some of the cost of the trip either personally or with help from his university or college.
Ireland who finished a disappointing 13th out of 15 teams in the previous World Games in Bangkok two years ago face a difficult task to improve on that showing after been grouped with Italy, South Korea and Uruguay in the preliminary stages which kick off on June 30.