13 April 2017
Colleges and Universities Head Coach Greg Yelverton is expecting a stern test for his side as they travel to Edinburgh next Wednesday to play the Scottish Universities. The international friendly is an important exercise for Yelverton in preparation for the World University Games in August in Taipei.
Last year, the team recorded a 3-0 success over the Scots in Home Farm with goals from Jason Lyons, Georgie Poynton and Robert Coughlan but Cork native Yelverton senses that his side will have to deal with a more composed Scottish challenge when the sides clash in Scotland's elite performance centre, Oriam. Yelverton was a spectator on Tuesday when Scotland defeated the Welsh Universities in the Home Nations tournament.
"It was a different Scotland side than what travelled to Dublin last year. While a lot of the players are still there they have added some mature students to the squad, you can see the preparation they have had for the Home Nations. They are a lot more organised and have been together as a group for the last month. We will certainly have to be at our best if we want to return home with a win under our belts," said Yelverton.
Another factor that the Students in Green will have to contend with is playing on the indoor surface in the Oriam facility. "It will be the first time our lads will play a competitive game in an indoor arena so getting used to the surface and atmosphere will be a challenge. We hear it is a fantastic facility so we are looking forward to playing there," remarked Yelverton.
There are seven changes to the squad that faced the Defence Forces last month in the 2-0 success, with the inclusion of proven goalscorers in Limerick FC's Garbhan Coughlan and the duo of Jason Lyons and Joe Doyle who have been scoring regularly in the SSE Airtricity League First Division.
When asked about what he expected to see from the fresh faces in the squad Yelverton stated, "it is a good opportunity for the lads to travel away and play at this level together it is an exciting squad and it's our aim now to try build a good team spirit and culture within the squad. All eighteen players are there on merit, and I know they are looking forward to wearing the green jersey and representing their country. We have been monitoring them closely for their clubs and have received positive feedback from their coaches on their progress."
It will be the first time ever that the players will receive official international caps for representing their country at Colleges and Universities level, and with the addition of the International Player of the Year award, it certainly provides a great incentive for the players.
"First and foremost, we are expecting a good performance from the entire squad next week. It is a fantastic achievement for them to be recognised but they must show that they are deserving of this recognition. If they can reach the standards we expect of them next Wednesday then I am confident that we will be successful," said Yelverton.
Colleges and Universities Squad to play Scotland Universities
Goalkeepers: Joseph Coll (GMIT Galway), Cathal O'Hanlon (UCC)
Defenders: Eoghan Dempsey (IT Carlow), Mark Slater (Maynooth University), Sean O'Mahony (UCC), Gavin Kearney (DCU), Sean McLoughlin (UCC), Ben McAuliffe (UCC)
Midfielders: Shane Dunne (IT Carlow), John McKeown (Maynooth University), Conor Barry (NUI Galway), Daire O'Connor (UCD), Gareth McDonagh (IT Carlow), Shane Daly-Butz (UCC), Jason McClelland (UCD)
Attackers: Garbhan Coughlan (University of Limerick), Jason Lyons (Athlone IT), Joe Doyle (Dublin IT)
Irish Colleges and Universities v Scotland Universities
Wednesday 19th April 2017