Danny Crowley faces into a second season as Colleges FAI National team manager aiming to preserve his impressive unbeaten record. The Colaiste Ide coach who took over the Colleges role from the long serving Cork man Liam Murphy last year then went on to steer his charges to fine wins in both of their representative games.
A compresentative 3-0 victory over the Irish Defence Forces in Dublin was followed up by a long awaited win over the Irish Universities with Kevin Cornwall grabbing the only goal at Banbridge.
Crowley together with his coaches Paddy Gleeson and Jim Conroy have been busy in the pre Christmas period holding several trials in an effort to assemble the strongest possible squad for the upcoming series of games.
While the annual matches against the Defence Forces and the Irish Universities are pencilled in for late March or early April the Colleges boss has plans to take his squad abroad for a short tour sometime later.
No strangers to competing against foreign opposition having visited Italy and the United States in recent seasons the possibility another development tour to either Holland or the UK for the Colleges FAI squad now looks very much on the cards.
'We have been actively persuing the possibility of playing a number of games ideally against University or College sides in either Holland or the UK but failing that we may opt to take on some UK Academy teams ' said Crowley.
The latest Colleges squad contains only four players who figured in last seasons games with three others included on Crowley's standby list.
Centre back Conor McMahon, midfielders Kevin Grehan and Paul Doohan plus Stephen Roche up front again make the squad while Gareth Harkin, Nicky Byrne and Dean Zambra are named on the standby list.
Crowley hopes to line up some friendlies against League of Ireland sides in the build up to his representative games with Athlone Town at Lissywollen as possible opponents later in the month.
Colleges FAI National Team Squad
Goalkeepers: Conor Hurley (Colaiste Ide), Kevin Burns (Waterford IT).
Defenders: Tom King (GMIT Galway), Conor McMahon (DIT), Alan McCann (Colaiste Ide), Kevin McArdle (Dundalk IT), Victor Ekanem (IT Tallaght), Danny Ledwith (IT Carlow).
Midfielders: Sean Fitzgerald, Eoin Kavanagh (both DIT), Liam Collins, David O'Keefe (both Colaiste Stiofain Naofa), Shane Morrissey, Paul Carey (both Waterford IT), Kevin Grehan (GMIT Galway), Paul Doohan (Letterkenny IT).
Forwards: Stephen Roche (DIT), Liam Lynch (Athlone IT), Thomas Elms (IT Carlow), Alan Lynch (Sallynoggin College).
Stand By Squad: Gareth Harkin, Oisin McMenamin (both Letterkenny IT), Shane Keeley, Alan McGrath (both Colaiste Ide), Conor Ruppon (Belfast Metropolitan College), Martin Fitzgerald (Tipperary Institute), Nicky Byrne (Sallynoggin College), Mark Cronin (Cork College of Commerce), Dean Zambra (DIT).
Manager:Danny Crowley (Colaiste Ide). Coaches: Paddy Gleeson (Col Stiofain Naofa), Jim Conroy (Col Ide).
HARDING CUP DRAW
University of Limerick, beaten finalists last year, are set to face local rivals Mary Immaculate College in the Irish Universities Harding Cup quarter-finals at NUI Galway early next month.
UL were edged out in last seasons final on their home ground by the University of Ulster Jordanstown after extra having captured the trophy the previous year in Coleraine.
The draw for the opening cup competition of the Irish Universities calendar, which is confined to first year students only, has produced several mouthwatering ties.
Holders Jordanstown will begin their bid to hang on to the trophy by taking on UCC while hosts NUI Galway and UCD are again drawn together with the Belfield side keen to reverse last seasons surprise opening round 1-0 defeat by the Westerners.
The games are scheduled to go ahead in the NUI Galway Sportsground at Dangan from February 4 to 6 and it is hoped to arrange the decider for Terryland Park on Sunday, February 7.
Harding Cup Draw
Thursday, February 4
First Round: NUI Maynooth v Dublin University; DCU v UU Coleraine.
Friday, February 5
Quarter-finals: (A) NUI Maynooth or Dublin University v DCU or UU Coleraine; (B) University of Limerick v Mary Immaculate College; (C) NUI Galway v UCD; (D) UU Jordanstown v UCC.
Saturday, February 6
Semi Finals: A v B; C v D
Sunday, February 7
Final: A or B v C or D
Games scheduled for NUI Galway Sportsground, Dangan with the final at Terryland Park (subject to confirmation).
WEDnesday JANuary 20 (2.0)
Colleges FAI B Teams Cup: First Round
NCI 'B' v Athlone IT 'B', Irishtown Stadium all-weather.