Under 21 star Hoban is hoping to make mark
IT'S FITTING that an Ireland manager, who may need some divine intervention on his side to stay in contention for Euro 2016, has turned up at a place Vicarage Road to check out some potential recruits.
And Watford defender Tommie Hoban hopes that international and Premier League football can both come his way as he aims to build on the solid progress shown in the Hornets side.
O'Neill and Roy Keane have both been to Vicarage Road, mainly to check on Hoban, and the pair were also on hand in Waterford to watch Hoban play for the Irish U21s in their win over Andorra last week.
Central defence is not one of the main areas of concern for O'Neill but he is keen to have options in that position and Hoban, a veteran of just under 50 Championship games with the club, is one of those hoping to force his way in.
"It's good to know that the senior team manager knows who I am. I feel very proud to know that they have come to Watford, hopefully to see me play," says Hoban, proud of his Irish links.
"My mum was born in Dublin but both of my dad's parents were from Ireland as well so the Irish connection is very strong.
"I am keen to do my best for the U21s and impress and hope that the senior call-up can come along," added the defender, aware that progress with his club will help his claims, with Watford well-placed to get promoted..
"We are having a good season at Watford this year. I have been playing quite a bit of late and I hope I can stay in the side for the run-in," he says.
"It's going to be a big month for us now and hopefully the next time I come in to play for Ireland at the start of next season, the club will be in the Premier League.
"We're in with a shout for automatic promotion, we could make the playoffs and we could even miss out, you have a lot of teams in contention there."
Now in his fourth season in the first team, the 21-year-old has stayed involved with the Hornets despite turmoil (seven managers since his made his debut).
"It's been a tough time at the club, with so many new managers.
"When a new manager comes in, he tends to go for the more experienced players but I have managed to stay in contention.
"I have got my chance and I am determined to take every chance I get," added the defender.