Writes Ciaran Dineen
Eva Mangan of Carrigaline Community School and Ballygarvan was recently called up to the Irish Girls U15 Football Team, playing against Northern Ireland at a game in Armagh which finished 0-0 earlier this month. That contest sets herself and the rest of the Irish team up for the Bob Docherty Cup tournament, which takes places in Salou, Spain next month.
Eva, a second-year student in CCS, is the only player from Cork to have made the squad for the upcoming tournament, and the excitement is now beginning to hit home. Although this was huge news for the 14 year-old, she kept it between herself and her family, with classmates only finding out a few weeks later. “She would be quite modest and humble like that”, Niall (Eva’s father) tells The Carrigdhoun, “but everyone at home is just so pleased and thrilled for her, we really are delighted.”
It will be the first time that the 14 year-old will have ever taken to the sky in an aeroplane, and this is making her friends more envious than anything else. “Yeah they’re so jealous”, Eva says laughingly, “they can’t believe that I’m able to go to Spain. I’m both nervous and excited because it’s the first time I’m going to be on a plane, and I’m by myself, but I can’t wait to just go now”, she continues.
The ‘Ballygarvaner’ is taking it all in her stride for the time being, who has represented Munster at various ages levels to this point, but at this stage in her development things are perhaps starting to get more serious. The game against Northern Ireland at the beginning of the month was the first time Eva had ever played in a competitive game for her country. “I’ve played friendlies before but this was a more serious match. I was really nervous but once the game started and I got stuck into it I was fine”, the CCS student explains.
Part of the training camp now also involves watching hours of footage from previous games and analysing the performance. Training with the Irish team is definitely a step-up for Mangan, but she is already grabbing the attention of the Ireland U16 management setup, who may include Eva in their squad in the coming weeks.
The U15s team faceoff against their elders in a one-off game this coming weekend at the official FAI headquarters in Dublin. Eva is hoping to impress during the match in order to boost her chances of being selected. This would be a fantastic achievement for Mangan given her young age, but if the midfielder is picked it will highlight her incredible footballing ability.
On the pitch Eva likes to have the ball at her feet whenever she can and describes herself as an attacking midfielder, playing either in a number 8 or 10 position. She has been influential for her club Carrigaline United ever since she joined as a youngster, scoring and assisting goals for fun.
The club are really proud to see ‘one of their own’ making the international grade and Eva was presented with a special jumper at a ceremony earlier this month to mark the occasion. “They were really delighted for me when they heard the news and have been so supportive of me”.
At times Irish training may seem like a doddle for Eva, given that she is currently trained in Carrigaline by none other than her own father. “He is so much harder on me”, Eva complains, as her father opposite laughs and proclaims his innocence. “He’s always shouting from the side-line and giving out to me during matches”, she says with a wry smile.
Any tough treatment that she may experience from her coach-turn-dad is taken with a pinch of salt and Eva admits that the encouragement she receives from her family is fantastic. “They are really supportive”, Eva says with a smile. “It’s really nice to be able to go up in the car to Dublin with them and my brothers and sisters.”
Eva takes flight on the 21st April, where herself and the Ireland team will take on neighbouring countries over a three-day period. It should be an incredible experience for the 2nd year student and everyone wishes her well here at The Carrigdhoun.
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