Thursday 22 March 2018

Mahon keen to stress home values as race to fill U-21 post gets under way

Neil Ahern

ST PATRICK'S Athletic boss Pete Mahon believes the vacant Ireland U-21 job should be given to a home-based manager, but remains pessimistic because he thinks "the old (English) accent gets them half-way in the door".

The Airtricity League veteran has one Irish U-21 player in his Saints squad in Ian Bermingham, while numerous other domestic-based players have frequented Don Givens' squads down the years.

And Mahon has called for the FAI to consider the possibility of a domestic manager to replace former Ireland striker Givens, who stood down yesterday.

"Maybe it's time that we gave somebody from here a chance. You'd have nothing to lose because if you look at the results over the last number of campaigns, we haven't exactly set the world alight," said the former UCD manager.

"I think it would give the whole league here a boost, though I don't think it will happen. I think they'll go for somebody across the water again.

"That is disappointing, really. I think the old accent gets them half-way in the door. I don't think they are any more knowledgeable than people working here.


"They may be working at a higher level. But football is the same the world over.

"You either know how to organise a team and get them to play or you don't."

But whether it is as manager or not, Mahon insists that there should be at least some involvement in the set-up from an Airtricity League point of view.

"There are a lot of Ireland U-21 players playing here. As we've seen over the last few years, a few of them have gone away and done well.

"I spoke about Seamus Coleman. That was a brilliant move for him, going to a club like Everton.

"He's done really well. There are a few more Seamus Colemans in this league here if they are given the opportunity."

Meanwhile, left-back Bermingham, who has three U-21 caps, has dismissed the notion that there was a poor atmosphere within Givens' squad recently.

"The atmosphere was decent enough; I wouldn't say there was any bad blood but he fell out with a lot of players too.

"There were very good players there and I never had any falling out with him.

"The times I met him he was OK, but obviously he didn't get the results so it was imminent that he had to go."

Irish Independent

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