07 October 2013
Fran Gavin was speaking at the launch of the new UMBRO Colleges and Universities Football League season at FAI HQ Abbotstown.
For photos from the launch click here
Fran Gavin, FAI Competitions Director and Grassroots Manager is a firm advocate that where possible education and football should go hand in hand. Gavin was speaking at the launch of the new Umbro Colleges and Universities Football League season at Abbotstown.
"I have always believed that education and football together must produce a more rounded player and I feel that the Umbro Colleges and Universities League helps greatly to achieve this' explained Gavin.
"The league is also unique in that apart from the Setanta Sports Cup it is the only all island league competition currently taking place and more and more Airtricity and Irish League squads now feature players who are also continuing their studies at colleges and universities and make time to play in this league midweek."
Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Paul Corry and defender Jake Carroll now with Huddersfield Town are good examples of two players who recently represented UCD and NUI Maynooth in the league before graduating and moving cross channel.
The league which kicks off this week is now heading into its eight season and is controlled by a joint committee of Colleges FAI and Irish Universities Football Union officials, the two bodies who organise Third Level Football, and administered from Abbotstown by Gerard Dunne FAI National Coordinator for Schools, Third Level and Women's Football with continued sponsorship from Umbro.
The league has grown steadily in that time and now caters for nearly 80 teams in four divisions.
A major restructuring of the competition took place in the close season with a view to raising the standard higher by playing the best sides against the best on a more regular basis.This has produced an exciting revamped Premier Division of 12 teams split into two sections containing the sides that have consistently performed best over the past three seasons.
All the previous Premier League winners UCD (3), IT Carlow (2), University of Limerick (1) and current champions DIT are included in the new format which promises to produce keen competition and high class football.
This week's Premier Division Fixtures:
Tuesday 8th October
Premier North: Letterkenny IT vs Dublin IT (2pm, Letterkenny IT)
Premier South: IT Carlow vs Athlone IT (12:30, IT Carlow All Weather), Waterford IT vs Cork IT (2pm, RSC Waterford), University of Limerick vs University College Cork (4pm, UL)
Wednesday 9th October
Premier North: University College Dublin vs University of Ulster Jordanstown (2pm Belfield)