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Head Coach Greg Yelverton will target at least a place in the quarter final stages for the Ireland men’s side at the World University Games in Italy next July.

The draws for the Men’s and Women’s Football Competitions  took place in Naples the host city and the Ireland Men’s team have been placed in Pool A along with South Korea and Uruguay. 

Only 12 nations will make up the men’s football tournament in Naples a reduction of four from the previous 16 at the 2017 tournament held in Chinese Taipei.

Ireland finished in 13th place overall at the last games, while Uruguay took the bronze medal in third place and the Koreans also finished ahead of Ireland in 11th place.

Yelverton having been involved with both Irish men’s and women’s teams at two previous World University Games understands the challenge the draw has handed to his side.

“Both Uruguay and South Korea will be difficult opponents, who have a good tradition in this competition. I watched the Koreans a couple of times in Taipei and they impressed me.

“They were a fit attacking side who although they failed to make the last eight they did score 20 goals in six games and only lost 2-1 to Argentina in their group.

“While the Uruguay squad were mostly 24-27 year old’s, much older that our lads, and very strong experienced operators who went on to finish third overall” said Yelverton.

The experienced Yelverton is also into his second two year term as head coach to the Colleges and Universities International side and they registered a decisive 5-0 win over the Defence Forces last month in their first outing of the year.

However the squad will face a major test when they take on the French Universities in Bordeaux on Tuesday May 21 and Yelverton reckons this game will be a good pointer as to where he is ahead of naming his 20 man squad for Naples.

“We managed to defeat the French for the first time after several meeting last year in Longford but they are always a very strong side particularly on their home soil and also play at the level of the sides we can expect to meet in Naples which will be great test for our lads.

“ I need to see players who I intend bringing in for this game perform against opposition of a similar quality to what we can expect to come up against in Naples before I name the squad

“Most of the players we have identified as possibles for Naples are regulars in League of Ireland or with Intermediate Level sides so we are constantly monitoring their progress.

“I am also engaged in on going contact with club managers about the availability of players during the time of the World Games” explained Yelverton.

Meanwhile Republic of Ireland Women’s under 19 head coach Dave Connell will take charge of the Ireland Women’s team in Naples as Colin Bell has be unable to continue as Head Coach due to his commitments with the Women’s Senior International team.

Connell’s side have been handed a difficult draw as their opponents in Pool C feature the gold medal winners in 2017 Brazil and South Korea who finished sixth in Taipei.

The Naples football competitions kick off on July 2 with the opening ceremony for the games taking place on July 3 in Stadio San Paolo.

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Eamon Scott


Eamon Scott


Eamon Scott