John Mountney has penned the first instalment of his new blog ‘The Full Mountney’, which is in association with EA SPORTS™. In it, John speaks about settling in at a new club, the fine facilities at Oriel Park, working under Seán McCaffrey, the power of positivity, and his hopes for the season ahead.
Hello and welcome to my new blog on dundalkfc.com! Hopefully, you will enjoy reading throughout the season.
We’re six weeks into pre-season now and it’s getting very close to the first league game. I’ve settled into the club well. I’ve enjoyed it. The staff and all the lads have been great.
Compared to last season with Mervue United, it has been a step-up standard wise. I got on well with the lads at Mervue and I’m getting on well with everyone over here. I had a great time there. It was a bit like the squad here where all the players are around the same age as me, so everyone got on.
I think last season will help me a lot, having that year of senior football under my belt. I played one year of junior football in Mayo. That was physically harder than what I had played previously, and then the First Division brought me on again. It’s quite a physical league, but I’m well able to throw myself about and get involved! Hopefully, I’ll be able to push on again this season.
I’ve obviously moved to Dundalk, but it was an easy decision for me to move away from home and sign here. From when I left school at 16 to do an FAI FÁS course, I was always thinking about and hoping to go to England. But I knew now was the right time to move away from home and start getting into professional football.
I turned 19 last week. My mother came over to surprise me, which was nice. She came up and had a look at Oriel Park and she’s happy for me and where I am.
It has been easier for me to settle in with Ger Hanley and Dan Cunningham coming from Mervue too. When I came here, I knew Ger was coming, which was great, knowing someone from last year’s squad. I’m living with Ger and he’s very professional. On days off, he is like myself; he likes to come in and do extra work to push ourselves more.
I think, technically, Ger is an excellent goalkeeper. A lot of people talk about his height but ‘keepers that are 6ft3 or 6ft4 won’t have the technical ability that Ger has. Mentally, he is very strong too. Dan is a very good left-back, or left-winger. He is very attacking and beats players for fun. I think the two of them are going to do well this year.
The club is very well-run. The facilities are second to none. We have the gym over at the Youth Development Centre and the indoor pitches. It’s great on the days you have off because you can go in and do your own technical work and go into the gym. It’s a great setup.
I was surprised when I first saw the centre. I remember Seán telling me about the facilities there. Having been over at some English clubs, I’ve seen some indoor facilities, and I’ve been at some clubs that haven’t even got that. It’s great to have it. I think the gym is going to help me massively. Last year, I did my own gym work. Obviously, I wasn’t living in Galway so I had to travel to the gym 2-3 times a week, so having it on your doorstep is great.
I’ve enjoyed working under Seán a lot. I’ve obviously been involved in the international setup a couple of times under him. I only really worked with him on one trip so it’s great to get to work with him a lot more. He has a great knowledge of the game and hopefully he’ll be able to bring me on as a player. It’s great working with him almost every day, and Darius and John too. They’re great coaches.
It’s my first time working with Darius and I’ve found him great. I went away on one home-based trip with John to England before. He talks to you and lets you know what you’re doing well or what you’re doing badly. Even at training, all the speed work and technical side he is very good at. He’s also good to talk to if you’re having any problems. To have the three of them – Seán, Darius and John – is really good. I’m sure they’ll help me a lot along the way.
You can learn so much from Seán. Every time he talks to you, you’re taking in what he says because you know it’s going to be useful. Seán likes his team-talks; they’re long but they’re very good. You’re tuned in from start to finish because they’re that good. He tries to bring the most out of you in the dressing room. I know once the season starts, the team-talks are going to be very intense and he’ll have us well motivated before games.
Seán has a degree in psychology and I’d be big into that myself. It’s such a big part of the game. There are so many players that have so much talent but the mental side of it they lack. That’s one thing I want to do myself this year – nothing can be negative, everything has to be positive.
A lot of people are saying it’s a very young squad but I think we’re going to have a very good side once we settle down and gel together. Obviously, in pre-season, we were chopping and changing players so Seán could have a look at what to go with. Once the season starts and we get a settled 11, I think it will work very well. The mood in the dressing-room is very good and all the boys are looking forward to the season.
We start the season against Monaghan on Friday. At Mervue, we actually had a very good record against Monaghan. We beat them twice last season. I don’t mind playing there. I did okay myself and as a team we did well last year, so I’m confident of going there and getting three points.
Hopefully, we can have a good season. I’ve set the goals for the team high. Hopefully, we can gel together quickly and play some football, and challenge in the top half of the table. Personally, I have so much I want to improve on over the year, which I’m sure I will.
C’mon De Town,
We are now taking questions for both John and Stephen McDonnell, who will share blog duties each week throughout the season. If you want to ask the lads a question or send them a message, e-mail email@example.com and they will answer it in their next blog!
Photographs thanks to David Caldwell.