25 July 2010
Institute of Technology Carlow men and University College Cork women represented Ireland at the European Universities Futsal Championship last week in Zagreb, Croatia.
Both colleges had won their third level futsal cups in Ireland this year and were Ireland's first representatives in the competition. IT Carlow were missing some key players that assisted them win the Irish Cup due to other football commitments and when the draw was made they were pitted against holders University of Malaga. UCC were entering the unknown as this was the first womens competition.
Both sides brought top futsal referees Gerry Behan and Dermot Broughton. Behan and Broughton were used in all the mens bigger games which was a great experience and showed that futsal in Ireland is being refereed to the highest level.
The format for the competition was groups of four with the top two from each group moving to knock out phase and the bottom two from each group moving to the play off placings.
Both colleges quickly realised the level was far greater than what was required for national success and with six games in seven days this competition was going to be extremely competitive. For IT Carlow a narrow and frustrating loss to Macedonia was followed with a lesson in futsal by two times champions Malaga, and then University of Nis Serbia.
However the Carlow players and coaches were adapting quickly and in a great game against Munster of Germany they narrowly missed out. Two wins from their final two games against University of Saint Gallen Switzerland and Netanya Academic College, Israel saw the Carlow boys finish on a high and in 13th place. Top scorer for IT Carlow was Ben Ryan with seven goals. Head Coach Paul O'Reilly said after the championships "we have improved gradually as the tournament went on and probably had our best performance in our last game, overall I'm really happy with the tournament and delighted with the squads performance."
UCC were well beaten in their first game by University of Sports Science Norway and then lost unluckily to University of Rijeka from Croatia who had the tournaments top scorer with 17 goals in inspired form scoring six against the Cork girls. In they final group game they were beaten by a quality counter attacking side Kocaeli University from Turkey. In the play off games UCC were desperately unlucky against hosts University of Zagreb after leading 2-0 with three minutes to go they conceded three goals to miss out on a possible fifth place. In their final game, missing three key players to injury they were again 2-0 up but lost 4-3 in a thrilling game. UCC's Eimear Knightly was top scorer with five goals just edging ahead of Linda Douglas' four on the last day. Head Coach Greg Yelverton said after the championships "the girls worked so hard all week and were very unlucky not to get fifth place, however its probably a fair reflection of our futsal inexperience that we finished 8th from nine teams, but the girls have enjoyed their week here in Croatia and hopefully we can represent Ireland at next years finals in Finland."
IT Carlow 2-4 South-East European University Tetovo, Macedonia
IT Carlow 1-17 University of Malaga, Spain
IT Carlow 4-6 University of Nis, Serbia
IT Carlow 2-3 WG Munster, Germany
IT Carlow 6-2 University of Saint Gallen - Switzerland
IT Carlow 4-2 Netanya Academic College - Israel
UCC 2-10 Norway School of Sport Sciences
UCC 3-6 University of Rijeka - Croatia
UCC 0-5 Kocaeli University - Turkey
UCC 2-3 University of Zagreb - Croatia
UCC 3-4 Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan - Poland
IT Carlow: Nicholaus Kantounias, Elmes, Patrick Carey, Ben Ryan, Darren Kavanagh Craig Wall, Craig Sargent, Robert Farrell, Gary Sweeney, Bobby Tier, Alan Last, Shaun Pugh. Head Coach: Paul O'Reilly, Assistant Coach: Luke Hardy.
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University College Cork: Megan Morris, Gillian Cahill, Caitriona Nagle, Michelle Hourihan, Patricia Hickey, Linda Douglas (Capt), Aisling Brennan, Eimear Knightly, Alison Roche, Eimear Feerick. Head Coach Greg Yelverton, Assistant Coach Tomas Earl