Drogheda United FC

Interview Conducted by Paul Holland for DUFC v UCD Match Programme - 4th March 2011

Drogheda United talks to Mark O'Brien

Mark O’ Brien is a central midfielder who played with Shamrock Rovers , Bohemians and Shelbourne. He has represented Ireland at U-16, U-17, U-19 & U-21 levels. Mark’s father (Derek) lined out for Shamrock Rovers while Mark’s uncle (Ray O’ Brien) played for Man. Utd and Notts County. Another uncle (Fran O’Brien) had a distinguished football career in the USA. Mark’s younger brother, Colin, has also just signed for the Drogs from Shelbourne.

You come from a well known football family!
My dad played in the League of Ireland with Dundalk, Bohs and Shamrock Rovers. His brother, Ray, played in England with Man. Utd (managed by Tommy Doherty)and spent 10 years at Notts. County while Fran played in the USA. Fran and Ray both played for Ireland’s senior team.

You are also one of three brothers playing at a high level.
That’s right. My brother Colin has also signed for Drogheda from Shelbourne while Neil is a Junior International and plays with Belgrove in the Leinster Senior League.

Who was the biggest influence of your career?
I’d have to say my dad, Derek. He was always encouraging us from a young age as he and his brothers had all really enjoyed their careers in football. He had won an FAI Cup medal with Dundalk when he was only 17 and knew what it takes to play in the League here.

You have an impressive record at underage level for Ireland. What managers did you play under?
I played under Brian Kerr, Sean McCaffrey and Don Givens.

How has the training been going in the circumstances of changing manager so recently ?
We’ve had a busy week with training in Mosney, Hunky Dory’s Park as well as the AUL, with a friendly game against Baldoyle, all in the past week alone! We will know how fit we are tonight against UCD! It would’ve been great to have had a few more pre-season games but that said, Bobby Browne did do a great job in assembling the squad in the circumstances.

Any of the players stand out for you in training so far?
Darragh MacNamara looks very promising. He looks very sharp and has a good football brain. We have a lot of good young players but it’s the manager’s call as to who stays or maybe who is brought in!

It’s great for the club to be back playing in the Premier!
Of course! I’ve played in the two divisions and obviously there is a massive difference in standard. But also the travelling involved in the First Division would put anybody off!

I believe you work with an ex-Drogheda player
Yeah I work as a postman in Balbriggan alongside Tony Grant. “Boots “ is still a big Drogs fan and is always asking how things are going at the club. He’s still enjoying his football and back with Glenavon now.

How has the new management team of Mick Cooke and Robbie Horgan been settling in over the past few days?
I know a lot of players that have played under Mick and all of them have spoken very highly of him as a manager. He is very experienced and comes across as very fair and a straight-talker. Robbie has already built up an excellent reputation as a top class coach with Sporting Fingal and Monaghan. We know both are very well qualified for the job, even if they didn’t have much time before the season started.

Robbie Horgan will be remembered by us older fans, as an excellent keeper here with Drogheda, for almost 5 years (1988 to 1993)
He went on to have a great career with Rovers after that and was goalkeeping coach at Sporting Fingal before becoming assistant manager to Mick at Monaghan.

Away from football and your job as a postman, how do you spend your time?
I don’t have too much free time as I’m kept busy with my family, my girlfriend Amy and our two year old son, Caden.

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