Interview with ex UCD AFC defender and scholarship student Evan McMillan
Among the many Bohemians players with UCD connections is 25 year old centre back Evan McMillan. He played 99 senior games for the club between 2006 and 2010 as well as numerous appearances for the college teams and U21 side.
Evan played his schoolboy football with both Templeogue United and Mount Merrion (under UCD U19 Manager Al Sugg)
He began playing with UCD AFC in 2006 when he came to study Commerce on a sports scholarship but made his way into the first team squad via the Leinster Senior League team under Diarmuid McNally and Tony Sheridan.
“I started out with the LSL team for about 2/3s of a season and then moved up to U21 squad and then first team.
In 2007 he played for the Irish colleges team which travelled to Thailand and ended up top scorer for Ireland (that won’t please his brother Dave) before Captaining the UCD U21 team to their third Dr Tony O’Neill league win in four seasons.
As part of his scholarship, Evan also played for the UCD college team and won a Collingwood and a Harding Cup as well as other titles but his main memory is winning the First Division title in 2009.
“I loved my time at UCD and Martin was a big reason for that. It’s said all the time but the style of play he employs is the way I like to play the game, so I loved it.”
The 6’3 defender come striker looks back fondly on his time as a boy in blue:
“I have loads of happy memories, winning the first division as I said is probably the best one. We were not favourites and beat two very strong teams in Sporting Fingal and Shels, and also Waterford, to the title.”
UCD have been criticised recently for not having ambitions and not having many fans but Evan was quick to point on what he feels the club bring to the league:
“I kind of laugh at media people who make comments talking down UCD etc, some of the comments are ridiculous. If UCD were not in the league, would other clubs develop the likes of Ronan Finn, Ciaran Kilduff, Greg Bolger, Andy Boyle etc as well as UCD do? Regarding safety, I think they look good now, and I always expected them to stay clear of relegation.”
In 2010 Evan signed for St. Patrick’s Athletic: “I loved my time at Pats. The European run was the highlight, some amazing games and the atmosphere at the games was brilliant.”
Away from football, Evan has a Masters in Commerce and works for PwC full time and he explained the work/football balance:
“It’s tough at times, you don’t get the rest you need at times. But it’s the way of the league now really so it’s got to be done.”
So how did Evan end up at Bohemians?
“Aaron coached me at UCD and Pats so knew all about me and called me early on to join. Bohs is a massive club and suited me with work so it was an easy enough decision to join.”
A tough opening five games saw the club bottom of the table but things have picked up since then for The Gypsies.
“Yes the opening fixtures were not kind to us. But we knew we had quality in the squad and it was just a case of the younger lads gaining experience early on. Our aim now is to finish 5th and I think that would be a good achievement.”
Bohs beat arch rivals Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght earlier this month, the first time they have done so at Rovers’ new home. “That was a brilliant win for us alright and a bit of history for the club, it being the first win for Bohs in Tallaght, so it was great to see how happy it made our supporters.”
During his time at UCD, Evan’s brother Dave was also a regular in the UCD team.
“Ah yeah it was good to play with him. Pity now he is only the second best striker in the family. My best memory though was his goal against St Pats when he was just back from about three months out injured. Or when we both scored to beat Bohs in U21 final.”
If you didn’t know Evan has recently been playing up front for Bohs and scoring some goals.
I did it for 20 minutes at the end of the Shels game and got a good goal so Aaron decided to try it out. I have enjoyed it a lot and have done well I think. I am not sure how long it will continue though.”
Dave is not sure about Evan’s striking prowess: “He has still got a lot to learn, if he wants and he might be best off staying the back.”
Evan claims he would “take his long rangers, but that’s about it.”
It may be the right time to note that Evan has scored more goals than Dave this season with six to Dave’s five but Dave has played less than half the amount of games this season.
The McMillan’s could be in direct opposition tonight if Evan starts centre half and Dave plays up front and Evan is hoping for a similar result to the only time they have played directly against each other before, when Bohs won 1-0 and he got the winner.”
Dave explains what it’s like to play against his big bro: “It’s a little bit weird playing against my brother but once we are on the pitch all that goes out the window.”
Pic: Evan in action against Dave last week