On The Spot – Tom Mohan
With 2012 coming to an end and 2013 just over the horizon, some of our international managers took time out from the Christmas festivities to answer a few questions we posed to them. Today we talk to Tom Mohan, manager of the Republic of Ireland U17 team.
1: What was the highlight of 2012 for you and your team?
The obvious highlight was qualifying from a difficult group in Macedonia. To see the joy on the faces of all the players and staff after our victory over Romania in the final group game was most memorable. Even though we were three points ahead of Romania going into the last game, we knew if they beat us we were most likely going to be knocked out as Sweden only needed a draw against Macedonia to qualify. The sense of relief and atisfaction was huge as everyone involved, players and staff alike put in a massive effort to qualify. As it was my first tournament as manager I was fortunate to have gained a lot of experience as a coach at this level under Sean Mc Caffrey and John Morling and I found the experience I gained was invaluable throughout the
2: What was the biggest disappointment in 2012 for you and your team?
Not having Conor Dimaio, Alex O'Hanlon and Danny Crowley for the qualifiers was a worry. Sweden scoring a late equaliser was also very disappointing (Nearly had to tie Mick Neville to the bench after that goal!)
3: What are your hopes for 2013 for you and your team(s)?
First of all I hope that all our Players are healthy, fit and available for selection. With the quality of players we have, and their desire to be successful, I would be very hopeful that we will qualify for the U17 finals in Slovakia.
4: Which of your players impressed you most during 2012?
I don't like to single out individuals as every single player played their part and we had so many outstanding performances during the qualifiers. But it was a remarkable achievement for Noe Baba to have played a major role for both the U17s and U19s within a 2-3 week period and to also qualify to the Elite phase with both squads. I would also like to commend the attitude of our squad players who showed great maturity and attitude throughout the qualifiers and though they were disappointed not to be playing regularly they continued to train hard and be professional and they made a major contribution when called upon.
5: What player on your team should we watch out for in 2013?
Too many to mention one.
6: What's your New Year resolution?
To be on the alert when travelling and never leave passports, boarding passes or wallets in an unzipped pocket, as we have a certain member of our staff who has predatory instincts for such things when travelling. We
know who you are!
7: What's the last book you read?
John Hartson's Please Don't Go. A roller coaster of a story. A great character to come through what he did. An inspiring book full of honesty.
8: Who's the best and why – Ronaldo or Messi?
Messi without a doubt. Messi is the complete team player and a brilliant example to young players with his hard work ethic, technical ability, quantity and quality of goals, honesty (no diving or rolling around), attitude,
temperament and humility. The list of compliments is endless. His consistent high levels of performance are unbelievable, considering the attention he gets from opponents and the demands and pressure to perform every time he steps onto a pitch. Always plays with a smile on his face and never seems to miss a game. We should treasure every moment we get the chance to see him play as we may have to wait a long time to see his like again.