Opening night heroics for Men’s Footballers

Ireland 3
South Korea 2

2019 World University Games Men’s Soccer Pool A, Stadio San Mauro, Casoria, Naples, Italy 5/7/2019 Ireland vs South Korea Ireland’s Alan O’Sullivan is fouled by Seongjun Min of South Korea ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

The Irish Men’s Football team got their World University Games Group A campaign underway in memorable fashion last night as they came out on the right side of a 3-2 against Republic of Korea in the Stadio San Mauro in Napoli last night.

Ireland were dealt and early set back as the Koreans were in front as early as the sixth minute as Jinhyun Kim fired home a cross from Kunhee Lee as the Koreans were the dominant team for long spells in the opening period.

On the 36th minute the game began to swing in Ireland’s favour as Korea had a player sent off for striking Maurice Nugent, an incident that would eventually see Nugent leave the field injured before the break.

Ireland began to press with the extra man advantage and could have been level but a volley from Anthony McAlavey was tipped onto the cross bar by Seoungjun Min and when the rebound fell to Alan O’Sullivan he saw his effort fly over the bar.

The Korean rear guard was broken soon after a Sean Trimble whipped in a ball from the right-hand side and Cillian Duffy headed home smartly.

Ireland hit the front minutes later as IT Carlow student Alan O’Sullivan was clipped in the box and a penalty was awarded. O’Sullivan who scored five goals in the 2017 World University Games dusted himself down and sent the ball low to the left corner past the keeper.

On the 79th minute Ireland were awarded a second penalty this time and once again is was O’Sullivan who was brought down, this time by the goal keeper. As the keeper went to the left again like the previous penalty O’Sullivan won the game of cat and mouse and drove the penalty down the middle as Ireland now had a two-goal advantage.

The ten men of Korea did not give up and within minutes had cut the deficit back to one goal as Ho Kim converted from the back post. Korea had one final effort, but the ball fizzed safely through the Irish box and the final whistle was blown much to the delight of the Irish players and supporters.

Anything other than defeat in Ireland final group game on Sunday against Uruguay will see Ireland qualify for the quarter finals.

2019 World University Games Men’s Soccer Pool A, Stadio San Mauro, Casoria, Naples, Italy 5/7/2019 Ireland vs South Korea Ireland team ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Ireland: David Coffey, Maurice Nugent (Sean Trimble 44’), Joe Manley, Robert Slevin, Ronan Young, Anthony McAlavey, Dean Kelly, David Hurley (Sean Quinn 72’), Shane Daly-Butz (Sean McSweeney HT), Alan O’Sullivan (Simon Falvey 88’), Cillian Duffy.