Tom Mohan will lead the Ireland Under 19 squad to Armenia this week in a bid to challenge for the European Championship.

The Aghadrumsee man will lead Ireland’s best young players against the cream of Europe’s teenage talent, and despite being drawn in a tough group he is hopeful they can progress to the knockout stages.

“It’s the old saying in football about taking it one game at a time, but obviously you want to get out of the group and go to the latter stages of the tournament,” admitted Tom.

“There is no doubt we have done really well this season and we want to keep building on our momentum. When you go to the finals it is never going to be easy. Any team that has got to the final is going to be a high quality opponent. They have gone through two qualifying rounds and qualified through the league phase, so it shows that they don’t just have good ability but they have good character as well.”

The group stages have pitted Ireland against France and the Czech Republic, but their tournament will open with Monday’s match against a strong Norway side.

“Norway topped their group and beat Germany and Croatia out in Croatia,” revealed Tom.

“Norwegian underage football is very strong at the moment. Their Under 20s were at the World Cup and they qualified from last year’s Under 19s. A lot of them are playing first team football, so we know how difficult a task it is going to be, but we have a good group of lads who have done really well this season and we are looking forward to the challenge.”

Tom has been a busy man in the lead up to the tournament. While the role of an International manager does not have the day to day on-field action of a league boss, Tom has still been busy making preparations for the Armenia based tournament.

“It is relentless the amount of work that needs to be done,” he said.

“You are linking in with clubs and doing your preparation. You are meeting with your staff and going through their roles. You are getting your itinerary sorted, putting together sessions and linking in with players and clubs. You’re linking in with the team operation executive on travel and everything that is involved with that.

“Obviously the heat is going to play a massive part as it will be from mid-30s to low 40s so the medical team have to be ready to play a massive role in that.”

The team flew out of Dublin on Tuesday and trained at the ground of Queens Park Rangers in London, before flying to Armenia on Wednesday.

The squad is a mixture of players from clubs in England and Ireland, and Tom reckons this tournament is a great opportunity for the teenagers to impress both the fans and any watching scouts.

“Obviously for individuals this tournament could be a great week for their development,” said Tom.

“If they can put big performances in against big teams that is where the confidence comes from to kick on to bigger things. The players are at different development stages in their careers so it is very hard to pinpoint any one individual, but they are all very good players in their own right. Also from the support point of view we have great support and so many well-wishers, and we want to do our best for the country, and make the most of this opportunity.”

Despite his recent hectic schedule Tom took some time out last month to take a training sessions with Scott Robinson’s Fermanagh Super Cup team, and he was impressed with the efforts of the local players.

“We had a great session with them,” he said.

“They have great quality players. The boys did really well last year and they will be looking to improve upon that again, and there is no reason why they can’t. I was very impressed with them. They are good lads with a good attitude and I wish both teams all the best in the Super Cup.”