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Coaches' Insight | Ireland U15 Head Coach Jason Donohue

In the first of a series of interviews with Republic of Ireland underage coaches Ireland Under-15 Head Coach Jason Donohue gives his insight into the game.
13th Apr 2020

Name: Jason Donohue

Role: Republic of Ireland Under-15 Head Coach

Started the role: 2016

Coaching history
St. Patrick’s Athletic Assistant Coach
FAI Development Officer / Player Development Coach
Republic of Ireland U16, U17, U19 Video Analyst and coach
Republic of Ireland U16 ‘B’ Team Head Coach
Republic of Ireland U17 Assistant Coach

What is the one key attribute you need as a coach?
I would say leadership. You have to make sure the team you have or the ‘team around the team’ are all working to one common goal which is to improve every aspect of your squad.

What is your favourite thing about the job?
Seeing players blossom into better people but also better football players. It’s a long-term strategy we have but it’s great seeing players graduate through the ranks and staying humble all the time.

Any pre-match rituals?
On a match day when I’m in the shower I always listen to my Luke Kelly and The Dubliners ballads.

It’s a playlist of five live songs: ‘The Auld Triangle’, ‘Dublin in the Rare Old Times’, ‘Scorn Not His Simplicity’, ‘Dirty Old Town’ and ‘Whiskey in a Jar’.

What one message would you give to a player to keep with them throughout their career? 
Develop resilience. The amount of set-backs you’re going to have to come through to be successful as a football player can determine you as a person. Whether you’re going on a pitch and have a fear of losing or have no self-belief.

Whether you have been on trial and sent home and told you’re not good enough or even go three goals down in a match and play within yourself. Resilience is important for handling these set-backs.

Which coach/manager – from any sport – have you taken your greatest inspiration from?
Former Dublin Football manager Jim Gavin. I would be a firm believer in leaders of men or those who create an environment for people to learn. Jim is a highly intelligent man and a leader but it’s the way the he leads that’s key for me. What Jim Gavin has achieved and how he has achieved is the way I like to work

Favourite match you coached and why?
Am I allowed to pick three?

One would be St Pat’s win over Derry City in the FAI Cup Final in 2014 when I was Assistant Coach to Liam Buckley.

Then a 3-0 win over Hungary in Pinatar, Spain last year for my Under-15s team. We replicated the scenario of competitive group stages and told the players beforehand only a 3-0 win would see us progress. We met that score-line with a goal in the final minute.

Also from last year we were 2-0 up at half-time against England in St George’s Park. Myself and the coaching staff walked into the dressing room at half-time to see the players around the tactics board preparing their strategy for the second half. It was amazing to see our players take on that leadership.

What team or match from any era do you wish you could have coached?
There can only be one! Italia ’90, Ireland versus Romania, last 16 of a World Cup. What Irish person wouldn’t want to be there or be involved?

Under 15 Boys