WEXFORD YOUTHS players were prominent as Team Ireland got their World University campaign off to a good start in Gwangju, South Korea on Thursday when the men and women took on Uruguay and Chinese Taipei respectively.
Just 19 minutes of the women's game had elapsed when Claire O'Riordan scored a cracking goal to give her side the lead. The Limerick native, who is studying in I.T. Carlow, was one of the Youths' stalwarts in their march to the national women's league title.
Chinese Taipei managed to equalise though and upped their efforts even more in the first ten minutes of the second-half when Youths defenders Ciara Rossiter and Jessica Gleeson repeatedly cleared their lines. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.
The men's match against Uruguay in the Gochang Public Stadium was a more cagey, defensive affair which ended in a scoreless draw.
That bit of guile that would have unlocked the South Americans' defence was unfortunately absent although Youths duo Eric Molloy and Jonny Bonner, both students in I.T. Carlow, did have their moments.
Uruguay had the best chance when they hit the crossbar, but apart from that one chance the Irish defence was well marshalled by their team captain from Wexford, Dylan Mernagh, who studies in University of Limerick and is playing in the Airtricity League with Waterford United. He was ably assisted by another Youths stalwart, Stephen Last, who is also among the I.T. Carlow contingent.
The men had a crucial 1-0 win over China on Sunday in a very physical, fast match, and Mernagh led by example with some fantastic first touches and passing. The winning goal was a Wexford Youths production as Jonny Bonner's corner saw Eric Molloy get a connection with his head to guide it over the line.
The next match is today (Tuesday) when they take on Russia who beat China 3-2, so it's all to play for!
On a sadder note, another Youths stalwart, Andy Mulligan, had to cut short his stay in South Korea following the death of his father, Paddy.
In a show of support, his team-mates posted a photograph on social media holding Andy's number seven Ireland jersey aloft.
A minute's silence was also observed before Wexford Youths' derby win over Waterford United in Ferrycarrig Park on Friday.
Turning to the swimming pool, Gráinne Murphy just missed out on a place in the 1,500m final when she finished ninth overall in the heats in her first competitive race since 2012.
Murphy touched in a time of 16:47.46. The 22-year-old from Ballinaboola will race again in the 400m freestyle heats today (Tuesday).
She was happy with her first swim and is feeling upbeat about the events to come.