Football/Soccer

Tom Mohan appointed manager of Republic of Ireland U19 team

The new Republic of Ireland U19 head coach Tom Mohan hails from Roslea, county Fermanagh
Andy Watters

TOM MOHAN has been appointed manager of the Republic of Ireland U19 team.

The Roslea native, who played his football for Derry City and Finn Harps, will begin his new role in May after four years with the Republic’s U17 squad. Mohan takes over from Paul Doolin, who departs after six successful years, which included a semi-final finish at the European Championships in 2011.

“It is a great honour to manage your country at any level,” said Mohan, whose immediate task will be to prepare his panel for the 2018 Uefa European U19 Championship.

“But this is a step up for me to the U19s and it is a challenge that I am looking forward to. I hope my experience with the U17s, firstly assisting Sean McCaffrey and then John Morling, before becoming manager, will stand to me as I know how much of a challenge this position will be with the competition around Europe improving year-on-year.

“This is an exciting time for Irish football, with the introduction of the SSE Airtricity League at U19 and U17 level, which allows us to further develop our structures and produce the best players that we can for Republic of Ireland teams. Paul [Doolin] did exceptionally well with the U19s before me and he has left big shoes to fill, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“I would like to thank the FAI, all of the coaches, particularly Sean McCaffrey, John Morling and Mick Neville, for their help through the years and look ahead to many more to come.”

In 2015, Mohan led the Republic’s U17 side to the European Championships in Bulgaria. However, Ireland could only take one point - from a scoreless draw against Holland in their opening game - out of a tough group that also included England and Italy.

Qualifying for the elite stage of the European U19 Championship begins in October and the Republic have been drawn in Group Five, with Germany, hosts Albania and Gibraltar. The top two in each of the 13 groups and the third-placed team with the best record against the leading pair will join top seeds Spain in the elite round in the spring of next year. The seven group winners from that stage progress to the finals tournament the following summer, joining hosts Georgia.

Mohan - who is on the current Uefa Pro Licence coaching course run by the FAI - will have worked with a lot of the players at U17 level and FAI high performance director Ruud Dokter welcomed his appointment.

The Fermanagh man will start his new role on a full-time basis next month, while the process of finding his successor for the U17 team will begin “in due course”: “I am very happy with the appointment. Tom has proven to be the preferred candidate for the role,” said Dokter.

“He has been with the U17s for nine years and has become an expert in underage international football. Amongst others, continuity and consistency is very important to progress our young talented players and Tom brings both of those qualities with his experience.”

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