THE new year may be approaching, the season may be over, and pre-season training may be weeks away, but the hard work continues for Eva Mangan.
The talented 17-year-old has enjoyed an impressive debut campaign with Cork City in the Women’s National League, but she is refusing to rest on her laurels. She is targetting further improvements in the new year. She was forced to take a break from a recent training session as she was given some significant, personal news.
“I found out when I was at the gym. I started getting texts saying ‘congrats’ and ‘well done’ and I wasn’t sure what it was for.
“I left it for a few minutes and my mom sent me a screenshot of the Twitter piece and I was so delighted with it,” Mangan said.
She had been informed that she had won not just one, but two major individual awards.
By an overwhelming majority, the attacking midfielder was voted by her teammates as the Cork City players’ player of the year and she would also claim the supporters’ player of the year award.
“I was in shock, really. It was a very proud moment for me and it is an honour to win the awards,” she said.
“At the start of the season, if you were to tell me I would have won both the players’ player of the year and the supporters’ player of the year, I think I would have laughed! I didn’t even think I’d be in the starting 11, as I felt I was too young. I only turned 17 in September.
“So, to see how far I’ve come since the season started, I’m very proud and I’m delighted for the chance I was given from Paul (Farrell) and Rónán (Collins) to get into the team.
“But I wouldn’t have won any of the awards without my team and they are a huge credit to me winning them.
“Still, being young, I was shocked I won. I think there were a lot of stand-out players in the team this year, so to win it is a privilege.
“To know that the team voted for me and knowing that they thought I had a good season for my first one was just overwhelming.
“To win the supporters’ player of the season was a privilege as well. To know that anyone in the club could have voted for me and to then win it was an amazing feeling and something that I’m still shocked at.”
Mangan was clear in her response as to which award means more to her.
“I think the players’ player of the season edges it a bit for me because I think that when the players are voting, it’s just a little bit more special to get that award.
“As I said, to know they think highly of me as a player and for them to think that I have put in my shift for the team this year was a lovely touch to win it and I’m honoured to have won them both.”
It caps a memorable few weeks for Mangan, as she recently played a starring role in City’s 3-1 win over Treaty United, in front of a record-breaking crowd at Turner’s Cross.
It was a great end to a tough season for the club and the youngster is working hard to help them improve in 2022, while she also targets success at international level.
“To play in front of the 1,007 fans was absolutely class,” Mangan said.
“I remember even the build-up that week, knowing that we were pushing for a good crowd at the game was exciting.
“I remember doing the warm-up, there were loads on their way in and then, when we walked through the tunnel… to hear the roar of the supporters was a goosebumps feeling really.
“I even heard a drum playing at one point. The first goal was scored by Becky (Cassin) and it was like the stadium erupted.
“It was brilliant and to beat Treaty United at home for that game; it was the cherry on the top.
“It was a moment I’ll remember for a long, long time. At the end, to see all the kids looking for pictures and autographs… I felt like a celebrity!
“Next year, I’m hoping to keep my place in the Cork City team. It will be hard, though, with all the talent coming up and also the talent that is in the team currently.
“As a team, I’m hoping we aim for a higher position in the league table and improve as much as we can from this season.
“As an individual, I’m hoping to just get better each week as a player and reach my full ability.
“I need to keep working hard, on and off the pitch. I’m also hoping to keep my place in the Republic of Ireland U19 team for the next stage of the European Championship qualifiers in March.
“We got our group recently, where we are alongside France, Greece, and the Czech Republic, so I can’t wait for the new season already.
“Even though this season was very long, I can’t wait to get back onto the pitch with the team.”