Monday 27 January 2020

Mick embracing magic moments

Dublin manager declares that skills in the women’s game are a match for the men’s

WISE WORDS: Dublin manager Mick Bohan talks to the team before the All-Ireland final against Galway. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
WISE WORDS: Dublin manager Mick Bohan talks to the team before the All-Ireland final against Galway. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

The rain kept falling in Phil Lynott's Old Town. A fiver for an umbrella at Pearse Street train station.

Up past the National Art Gallery. Its walls adorned by portraits of Henry Shefflin, Ronnie Delany and Gaybo.

Up onto Ely Place, the home of Wilson Hartnell. The most elegant of buildings. Stone staircase, ornate ceilings. They don't build houses like this anymore.

A throw-back to the era of Upstairs, Downstairs. When Hudson ran the midfield.

The knights of the pen sat at the round table. The age of the quill long since gone.

Mick Bohan up top. A tray of mobile phones recording his words.

It was the morning the Special One had been anointed at Tottenham Hotspur. Mick has proven a bit special himself - guiding the Dublin lady footballers to the three-in-a-row.

Mick comes from a city that produced one of the best of them all - Kevin Heffernan. The man who inspired the children of the revolution.

One of them Jim Gavin. Mick worked with Jim. His admiration rising through the roof of this palatial property.

Mick hails the way the maestro goes about his work. Building a team that will be talked about for many generations to come.

Playing the game in the right way. Enhancing the great arena they call sport.

Mick grew up loving sport. In Clontarf. St Anne's Park, the playground of his childhood. The tales of Christy O'Connor.

Sport became his job. A PE teacher for almost thirty years.

Mick came into town to chat about the 20x20 campaign. "The line our group latched onto was the can't see, can't be slogan," he reflected.

And he plucked a magical moment from his bag of tricks - Eoin Mulligan's goal against his beloved Dubs.

"When I was with the Dublin development squads, we'd showed them that goal. Because they are the memorable moments you want to see in a game.

"And wouldn't it be lovely if the moments we were showing were from female athletes."

Like Stephanie Roche's goal-of-the-century. For Peamount United against Wexford Youths.

It was uploaded onto Youtube. And Stephanie's goal was runner-up in the FIFA Puskas Awards. She was the only female nominated.

Mick would love to see more artistry like that light up screens. But he's worried that enough girls won't get the platform to show their ability.

"Teenage girls are opting out of sport. Those numbers are growing. I think parents have a big role to play. If their expectations for their boys and girls in sport are different, then that is what they are going to get."

Mick is an AIG 20x20 ambassador. And he feels that women have just as much skill as the men.

Yet, on bread and butter Sundays, there are fewer people in the theatre to applaud them.

Now Mick is calling on all women and girls to make a video showcasing their skill and post it online using #CantSeeCantBe.

To become a Stephanie Roche One Moment in Time.

Mick has worked with both men and women. "Men's and women's sports are different, but there is no distinction when it comes to either skill or effort.

"Female sport is just as compelling, and I would encourage everyone to get behind women's sport in whatever way they can.

"It is time for people to stop comparing and start appreciating sport for what it is."

Just like back in St Anne's Park, where the children's field of dreams wore a coat of many colours.

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