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Tom Elmes' first international job confirmed after emotional Wexford Youths farewell

Elmes takes charge of the Ireland Women’s U16s, while Colin O’Brien takes over the Men’s U18s.

Tom Elmes (right) with Wexford Youths coach Sean Doyle on Saturday.
Tom Elmes (right) with Wexford Youths coach Sean Doyle on Saturday.
Image: Brian Reilly-Troy/INPHO

TOP WOMEN’S NATIONAL League [WNL] boss Tom Elmes has been confirmed as the new Republic of Ireland Women’s U-16 head coach.

Having enjoyed stunning success with Wexford Youths since taking the reins in 2018, Elmes now takes his first steps into international management. 

The former Wexford player departs his role at Ferrycarrig Park, bringing the curtain down on a memorable chapter with a dramatic 2-2 comeback draw with league leaders and reigning champions Peamount United on Saturday.

It was an emotional Wexford farewell, Elmes having won the the league, FAI Women’s Cup and Shield treble in his very first season there. The Slaneysiders retained the cup in 2019, while he oversaw two Uefa Women’s Champions League campaigns.

“Although I see it as a good step on the pathway for myself, it’s still a really difficult move to make,” the Birmingham native told the club at the weekend.

“You grow so close to the girls and everyone talks about us being a family, it’s so true, the way we are with each other. I’ll be a big supporter of theirs going forward and I’m always there for them. It’s a bittersweet feeling, really.”

In a tearful presentation, captain Kylie Murphy told Elmes:

“D’you know what meant the most is that you actually came in when no one else would. I remember that first conversation with you, I’ll be honest, I actually begged you because no one wanted us! You took a chance. And genuinely, we’ll never forget you for that.

“You’re a huge part of Wexford Youths, you’re a huge part of us and every one of us, we’ll never forget you for what you’ve done. From myself and the girls, and the club altogether, thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.”

A key figure on the IT Carlow Sports Course, Elmes is currently part of the FAI’s 2020/22 UEFA Pro Licence class but will now go full-time with the FAI as part of this role.

“I’m delighted to be stepping into the Women’s Under-16s Head Coach role, it’s a new challenge for me that I can’t wait to get started with,” he told the FAI today.

“I would like to thank everyone at Wexford Youths for all their support over the years, I’m so fortunate to have worked with such a fantastic group of players. 

“I’d also like to thank everyone in IT Carlow, during my time there I received a tremendous amount of support and it was a fantastic environment to work in.

“For now, it’s straight in to the deep end with an Assessment Day on Wednesday in the AUL Complex before we host a couple of friendly games in early July.”

Meanwhile, Ireland Men’s Under-17 Head Coach O’Brien will take over the Men’s Under-18 team.

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O’Brien has been in charge of the Under-17s since August 2016, enjoying tremendous success as they participated in three Uefa European Championships — reaching the quarter-finals in 2018.

The Corkman has played a big role in the development of several current men’s senior players, now plying their trade under Stephen Kenny: Gavin Bazunu, Lee O’Connor, Dara O’Shea, Jason Knight, Jayson Molumby, Adam Idah and Troy Parrott to name a few.

A Uefa Pro Licence holder since 2015, O’Brien – who enjoyed a successful playing career in the League of Ireland, most notably with Cork City – will continue in his current role for the 2021/22 season alongside taking over the Under-18s with immediate effect.

“I’m excited to take on a new challenge with the Ireland Men’s Under-18 team, who will play a pivotal role in the development of our players at international level,” he said.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Under-17s, where three successive Uefa European Championships helped several players gain vital experience at a competitive level, which has held to them as they continue to progress in their careers.

“There is one more campaign to go with the Under-17s and we will host an Assessment Day later this month for the Under-17s. But the work with the Under-18s starts now and I’m very much looking forward to the months ahead.”

About the author:

Emma Duffy

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