IT’S just after 11 am on a Saturday morning, just before Christmas, when Lauren Walsh is free to take the call for this interview.
This conversation was originally set to take place a couple of hours earlier but Walsh and one of her fellow Cork City defenders had important 'pre' pre-season work to attend to first.
“Yeah we were just doing a bit there in the gym this morning and my legs are dead,” admits Walsh.
“I went with my friend and my teammate Dan (Danielle Burke). I’m sure they’ll still be sore tomorrow but it will be worth it in the end.”
The hard work the 20-year-old has put in behind the scenes has already reaped dividends though as she was recently named the Cork City Women’s Senior Player of the Year for 2022.
“It was an honour to get that award,” she continues.
“It was a public vote, it was a public award so I got the most votes and anyone could vote. It was online, it was on Twitter so people just went on and picked and I was delighted to win it.”
Speaking to the Echo recently, manager Danny Murphy hailed the former Wilton United star’s attitude and tenacity which made her a worthy winner of this award.
Similar to what she has done with numerous opposition attackers throughout the campaign, Walsh had to hold off the challenge of a talented rival to land the trophy.
Eva Mangan would still claim the Young Player of the Year award but after insisting she didn’t play a part in swinging the public vote in her direction, Walsh did admit her family may have done so.
“No, I didn’t vote for myself now,” she laughs. “But I would say a lot of my family made me win this award. I actually didn’t even vote at all which was very bad.
“It was that night then when we were in Soho that I found out I won. All the men’s side and all the women’s side were there and then they just called me and Eva to go up to get our awards for Young Player of the Year and Player of the Year.
“She’s 18 so then I was guessing that she got the Young Player of the Year award. But then she also won the Player of the Year award last year so I was thinking this could go any way.
“We had no idea about it until we went up and got our awards. I actually didn’t get my own award in the end because they forgot it!
“Something went on with them anyway so I ended up holding David Harrington’s award but that was ok.
“There was a bit of competition for the award this year to be fair.
“I feel like this year it was really competitive so it was keeping everyone on their toes. Towards the start of the season, I wasn’t really getting game time but then Danny came in and he gave me a chance.
“You can have a laugh with him but he can be very serious at times as well and that is needed because it pushes us on.
“If your manager is just going to be nice to you you’re not really going to improve on anything so it is good that he has that discipline side as well.
“Obviously I’m improving under him and in every game but I still have a lot to learn and I feel I can really push on again next season.”
The hard work to ensure she keeps progressing has already begun and there are sure to be more gym sessions to come over the Christmas period.
But the real hard work will begin on the 14th of January when the squad collectively returns for pre-season training determined to ensure they improve on their second-from-bottom finish last term.
“Last season wasn’t great for us but I feel like towards the end of the season we really were improving as a team.
“This will be an interesting season for us, Danny will really push us on and I really hope we end up better than we did last season. I hope we can be in the top four or five.
“There’s a bit of pressure on me now going into next season I’d say. But I just want to keep on improving myself, getting stronger and just improving my game, playing well and being consistent in every game,” concludes Walsh.