Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni, FAI CEO John Delaney and FAI Technical Director Packie Bonner were all on hand at the University of Limerick last week to officially launch this season's Umbro Colleges and Universities Football League (CUFL).
The FAI also announced the appointment of six new third level football facilitators, a new website dedicated to third level football plus nine third level scholarships for women.
John Delaney explained that these initiatives are part of the third level football development plan that was launched in February. He paid tribute to the seven institutions that have co-funded the new facilitators and the Irish Institute of Sport for assisting with the women's unit scholarships.
Gerard Dunne FAI National Coordinator for Schools Colleges and Universities stated: "this is a very exciting time for third level football with the CUFL now being administered by the FAI Domestic Department Manager Paul Brady in conjunction with the Colleges FAI and the Irish Universities Football Union," he said. "The scholarships link with the Institute of Sport will give our female players more information and back up to allow them play football while continuing their education," he explained.
Dunne continued: "I would like to thank the seven institutions which I have been working closely with for the last few months for supporting the facilitators and hopefully this link will allow more students opportunities to play football."
The new website www.thirdlevelfootball.ie will allow students and teams to keep up to date with all that is happening in third level football.
The newly appointed football facilitors include: Athlone Institute of Technology- Maz Sweeney: Cork Institute of Technology and Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa (shared)-- Barbara O'Connell: Dublin Institute of Technology- John O'Carroll: NUI Maynooth- Barry Prenderville: University College Cork- Greg Yelverton: University of Limerick- Stephen Griffin
Tasks such as increasing participation among students, male and female, providing more opportunities for students from ethnic minorities and students with a disability to play football will form the core of their work.
As part of their remit futsal will be encouraged and assistance provided to the football teams within the institutions. The facilitators will provide education courses for students who wish to become coaches, referees or volunteers in football. The FAI would like to acknowledge the foresight of the institutions heads of sport for providing the co-funding for this initiative.
FAI Womens Unit Manager Susan Ronan in announcing scholarships for the new season stated "We are now in the third year of our FAI Girls Scholarship Programme and we're delighted to have nine current Senior and U19 players signed up to this initiative'.
Ronan continued 'This year we have developed our programme even further by going into partnership with the Irish Institute of Sport.This opportunity for a mutually-beneficial partnership provides obvious similarities in the approach to create programmes that retain, develop and enable players to manage education and sport"
This year's scholarship recipients are; Zoe Doherty,DCU;Catriona McGilp and Louise Quinn,UCD; Niamh Mulcahy,UL; Grace Murray, Dundalk IT; Aine Marie O'Gorman and Stephanie Roche, Sallynoggin College and Amanda Parkes, Colaiste Stiofan Naofa.
Premier Div North: Queens Univ 3(M Prenter 2 pens,T Tumbulty)UU Jordanstown 1(A Teggart);Letterkenny v UU Coleraine off.
Premier Div South:IT Tralee 2(D Sayers pen,K Hartnett)UCC 1(B Kirby);Univ of Limerick 13 (M Deedy 4,C Manjor 3,C O'Shea 2,A Quill 2,B Daly pen, P Walsh pen)Cork IT 1 (L Foran).
Premier Div East A:DIT 3 (O Sheckeriev,M O'Connor,K Cawley)DCU 2 (M Hughes 2);Colaiste Ide 1 (D Travers)Dublin Univ 1 (C Lawlor)
Premier Div East B:College of Surgeons 2 (F Reilly 2) IT Tallaght 4 (E Doyle 3, D Carroll);UCD 4 (M Whelan 2 pens, G Matthews, P Bourke)NUI Maynooth 2 (A Faulkner, A Mulvanny)
Premier Div West:NUI Galway 2 (J Minogue,M Crehan)Athlone IT 2(B Cauldwell,R Moran).
Division One South A:Waterford IT 'B' 0 IT Carlow 'B'
Division One South B:Garda College 4 Limerick IT 1,Templemore;Univ of Limerick 'B' v Mary Immaculate (postp until Nov 12).
Division Two North: Cavan Institute 1 Drogheda Institute 8;IT Dundalk 3 St Patricks College Drumcondra 0.
Division Two South: St John's Central 1 Tipperary Institute 1.
Division Two Dublin North: Griffith College 2 Mater Dei Institute 1.
Division Two Dublin South: Dun Laoghaire AIDT 4 Dun Laoghaire College of FE 3.