UCD striker Yousef ‘Yoyo’ Mahdy is ready to grasp his chance to shine if and when the opportunity arises.
The 19 year-old has had a great start to the season for the club’s U-19 side, whilst also featuring on the bench for the first-team for the opening game of the season against Cabinteely. He also recently played in the club’s EA Sports Cup tie against Dundalk.
Mahdy’s a full-forward but has been playing in the number 10 role this season for the U-19’s and has also played on the wing.
We spoke to Yoyo and asked him about how he got to this stage. He said, “I signed for Mervue U-19’s when they had a League of Ireland team 3 years ago, and I was living in limerick at the time. The lads at Limerick felt I wasn’t ready for the step up so I felt moving to Mervue was the right choice, as it was a chance to play at U-19 level while still a 16 year old.”
“I thought that move benefited me greatly, as I bagged a few goals for them, and it earned me a move to limerick where I stayed for 2 seasons.”
“The first season with Limerick we got to the league final and lost to Cork. In the second one we won the shield which was a positive at the end of a somewhat disappointing season.”
“I think that playing for both Mervue and Limerick has helped me in my development, and I owe a lot to both Brian Laffey (Mervue manager) and Tommy Barrett (Limerick manager) because they gave me the opportunities to express myself.”
Speaking about playing for UCD U-19’s he said, “I think we have a very strong side. I feel every position on the pitch is highly contested because we have some great players on our team, and it showed when we beat Shelbourne 5-1 in the cup after rotating the team.”
“That game was really important to us because we drew three games on the bounce, so it was important for us to get a win at home. I thought we played excellent, especially considering there was some rotation in the squad, but everybody that came in really played well and it shows the depth we have in our squad.”
“On a personal note it was good to get a goal after three games without scoring but what’s more important is that we got a comprehensive victory and that we’re in the next round.”
“So far it’s been a very good season and we hope that we can go all the way and win it outright. The next stage of course is to try break into the first team and I think that’s the aim of every U-19’s player at UCD.”
“Because of how young our first team squad is, everyone feels like they’ll get their chance, and many of us have already gotten a taste of first team football thanks to Collie (O’Neill).”
Maciej (Tarnogrodzki), the club’s U-19 manager, is also a great manager who loves football, and he tries to make us play good attacking football which is similar to the way Collie likes to play too so it’s a great system that we have here at UCD.
He’s delighted that the move to the students has worked out well, “I’m playing with a great bunch of lads and they’ve helped me settle really well. Going to college in UCD is really convenient, because I study and play football at the same place, so it was a no brainer making the move to UCD.”
“I’ve been up training with the first team a few times and made a few appearances for them, so that’s another positive to take out and I know if I keep working hard that my chance will come.”
He made an appearance in the clubs EA Sports Cup defeat to Dundalk on penalties. Playing against Dundalk was a great experience, to play against the champions. You could feel the step up but I thought we did well against them.”
Mahdy was unfortunate to miss his spot-kick in the shoot-out, but he hasn’t let it affect him, which shows a great attitude, “On the penalty miss, it’s never nice to miss a penalty. However there’s nothing that can be done about it now. The lads were encouraging about it and that really helped. I was disappointed but it’ll only encourage me to work harder now and try to make up for it.”
Collie O’Neill said after that game, “I do feel for Yoyo, it’s never nice to be the one to miss the penalty in the shoot-out, but he’s young and has a very bright future ahead of him, so I’m sure he’ll get over it.”