Republic of Ireland u-19 coach Tom Mohan has solid links with Meath
Last year Tom Mohan guided the Republic of Ireland to the Semi-Final of the semi-final of the UEFA European under-19 Championships.
That feat, as well as a stunning unbeaten qualifying campaign, saw Ireland reach 10th in the UEFA rankings.
Tom has a strong link with the early underage structure in Meath initially as a player with Monaghan club Oriel Celtic where he was coached by the late Sean McCaffrey.
Oriel Celtic played in the Meath & District Schoolboys' League during the time before the formation of the NECSL.
It's an interesting link and made all the more unusual due to the fact that the current FAI Director of Communiocations Cathal Dervan was one of the founder members of the Meath Schoolboys League at a historic meeting in Navan in 1983.
Tom Mohan played at representative level on what was actually a Meath u-18 representative team before the NECSL was formed in 1991.
In this Coaches' Insight interview, provided courtesy of FAI.ie, Tom talks about being prepared for coaching as a player by former Republic of Ireland under-age manager Sean McCaffery,
Republic of Ireland Under-19 Head Coach since 2016.
* Football, GAA and multi-sports coaching in schools and clubs
* FAI Development Officer
* League and Regional Emerging Talent Coach
* Republic of Ireland Home Based Emerging Talent u-17 coach
* Republic of Ireland u-16 coach
* Republic of Ireland u-17 coach
* Republic of Ireland u-17 head coach
ONE KEY ATTRIBUTE YOU NEED AS A COACH?
Knowledge of the game and knowledge of your players is key.
No two players are the same and you need to know how to deal with the person as an individual and understand how they can learn most effectively to get the best from them.
YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE JOB ?
Working with highly talented players, which is a testament to all the coaches who have worked with these players prior to coming into u-19.
Additionally, working with highly skilled staff and providing people with the opportunity to represent their country – it’s a great honour.
ANY PRE-MATCH RITUALS?
I like time to myself in the changing room while the players are doing their pre-match warm up.
It allows me time to reflect and prepare. It’s important for me to do this.
ONE MESSAGE YOU WOULD GIVE TO A PLAYER TO KEEP WITH THEM?
To honestly assess your own performances and be open to learning more about the game.
You’ve got to be honest with your own self-reflection and your coaches’ feedback.
Reinforce the positives from what you do well and work relentlessly on your Improvement goals.
COACH/MANAGER YOU HAVE TAKEN GREATEST INSPIRATION FROM ?
Former Ireland under-age manager Sean McCaffery.
I was very fortunate to have worked with him both as a young player and as a coach.
While I was a young player at Oriel Celtic in Monaghan his training sessions were so enjoyable and delivered in such a manner that he was not only preparing us to be better players, but also future coaches due to the level of detail being explained at the time.
I was also very fortunate to coach under Sean with the u-17s and experienced this level of detail even more so at International level and especially when qualifying for the U17 Finals in 2008 from an elite group that included Germany and Portugal.
Sean brought Oriel Celtic to tournaments in Norway, Belgium, Holland and Sweden in the early 1990s and was doing video analysis 30 years ago.
He would bring us into a meeting room to go back through a video of our previous game and do a Q&A with the players throughout the video, before we headed out onto the pitch for training sessions relevant to the analysed game.
I’m very fortunate to have gained so much from his knowledge and inspiration.
FAVOURITE MATCH YOU COACHED AND WHY?
It’s toss-up between two.
The first is a 2-1 win over Netherlands in Longford in 2018 to top the qualifying group.
The group of players took the information from the training ground and team meetings into the game from start to finish.
It was a testament to their attitude, ability and intelligence to display such a high level of performance against a top-class Dutch side.
The second is the 2-1 win over Czech Republic in our last group game to qualify for the semi-finals of the European Championships in 2019.
I was especially impressed with the second half as the stakes were so high and we were up against a much older and physically stronger side in extremely hot conditions.
For us to get a grip of the game when under pressure and bounce back so quickly to score the winning goal immediately after conceding an equaliser showed great character, ability and maturity from such a young group of Players.
WHAT TEAM OR MATCH FROM ANY ERA DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE COACHED?
The Irish team of the late 80s and early 90s under Jack Charlton.
The lasting imprint that team left on Irish football was amazing.
Of any game from that period I wish I could have been involved in, it would be Euro ’88 and the win over England in Stuttgart.
Any player who was wearing a green jersey around that time was looked up to as a hero.
It can’t be understated the belief and hope that Irish team instilled in the whole country.