Ryan Byrne/INPHO Ben Mohamed (right) facing Mark Hughes of his former club Longford.
# Interview
'One of the reasons I signed was to be involved in the derby' - Bohs new star winger Ben Mohamed
The 21-year-old talks about moving to the north Dublin club, studying at Trinity College and his aspirations to earn international caps ahead of tonight’s clash with Shamrock Rovers.

BOHEMIANS HEAD INTO tonight’s Dublin derby with the hope that a new hero can light it up.

The Dalymount Park faithful are sure to offer the Hoops as frosty a welcome as ever when they make the short trip across the Liffey for their first SSE Airtricity League Premier Division meeting of 2016.

Neither club has performed to the standards they have set for themselves in the opening six weeks of the season, so both managers Keith Long and Pat Fenlon will be banking on a favourable result to kick-start their challenge for one of the top spots.

After a demoralisng 3-0 defeat away to Derry City, fifth-placed Rovers are two points better off than their latest opponents with seven games played, but the Gypsies have strung back-to-back wins together against Longford Town and Bray Wanderers in recent weeks.

Instrumental in earning those victories was winger Ayman Ben Mohamed, who is likely to be given his first taste of one of the biggest rivalries in Irish football this evening.

“I can’t wait for the derby,” Ben Mohamed told The42 this week. “One of the main reasons I signed for Bohs was to be involved in it.

“As a player, these are the sort of games you want to play in — packed stadiums full of atmosphere. Hopefully we can get a positive result and make the fans happy.”

A close-season arrival from Longford Town, the 21-year-old jumped at the chance to link up with Long again having played under him as a schoolboy at St Joseph’s Boys.

“It was (an easy decision),” he says. “No disrespect to Longford, but Bohemians is a bigger club with a bigger fanbase.

I know Keith from my Joey’s days as I had him as a coach there. He told me I’d be a big player for the team and that he thought I would improve by coming to the club.”

Ben Mohamed endured a “stop-start” pre-season as he struggled with a back problem and found himself on the bench for the league curtain-raiser away to Cork City.

“The injury was a factor in it but I expected that I’d have to bide my time to break into the side, that’s just a normal thing when you move to a new club,” he explains.

However, he soon forced his way into the starting line-up after a couple of cameo appearances and, since shining in the 3-3 draw with Wexford Youths, he hasn’t looked back — producing a number of excellent performances and scoring in both of his last two games.

“I wanted to take the opportunity that was given to me,” the level-headed youngster says. ”I felt I did that against Wexford with an assist and I’ve been lucky enough to get a couple of goals since then.

“The fans have really helped me since I’ve come in. They’ve shown me a lot of support and I’d like to repay that with consistency and hopefully we get a good result on Friday.”

Bohs supporters have even come up with a chant to the tune of Human League’s 80s classic ‘Don’t You Want Me’ to show their appreciation for his exploits on the pitch.

Ayman Ben Mohammed Donall Farmer / INPHO Ben Mohamed has had a bright start to life at Bohs. Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

The son of a Tunisian father and an Irish mother, Ben Mohamed was born in London before moving to Dublin as a child.

Balancing the commitments associated with top level football and academic studies is something he has done since breaking into UCD’s first team as a teenager while preparing for his Leaving Certificate.

He is currently two years into a degree in Business and Politics at Trinity College but admits that carving out a career in the game remains the number one priority.

“At the moment I’m just balancing my education but if push came to shove I’d prefer to follow a career in football,” he adds.

I’ve been working hard my whole life to achieve something in the game and I’m really ambitious when it comes to that so I’d like to fulfill my potential. We’ll see where that takes me.

“If nothing comes out of football, at least I’ll have something to fall back on.”

A year ago, Noel King called the Ben Mohamed up to a home-based Ireland U21 squad for a training game against the Amateur international side.

Others from the panel such as Shamrock Rovers attacker Brandon Miele and Cork City’s Kevin O’Connor have gone on to make their international debuts at that level and he is keen to do the same.

“Last season I was involved with Ireland’s U21s,” he recalls. “It was a great experience and I’d love to get capped for the U21s.”

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