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Shamrock Rovers' Alan Mannus wins prestigious soccer writers' Goalkeeper award

He finished ahead of Sligo’s Ed McGinty and Drogheda’s David Odumoso.

Alan Mannus.
Alan Mannus.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

SHAMROCK ROVERS’ ALAN Mannus has been voted the SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers Association of Ireland Goalkeeper of the Year for 2020. 

Mannus finished ahead of Sligo Rovers’ Ed McGinty and Drogheda United’s David Odumoso in a vote among members of the Irish football media. 

The Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper kept 13 clean sheets in 18 league games, as Rovers won the league title without losing a game. He played every minute of Rovers’ season, and made the crucial save in his side’s epic 13-12 penalty shootout win over Ilves of Finland in the Europa League qualifiers. 

Mannus last won the award 10 years ago. 

“Well, I’m a lot older now!” reflected Mannus. “I was fortunate to win it back then. And I remember saying the standard of goalkeeping was very high in the league and I still think that now. There are  number of very good goalkeepers in the league, it’s very strong in that aspect and in terms of developing good young goalkeepers. 

“I remember ten years ago when I joined Shamrock Rovers and started in this league, I remember thinking the standard here gave a level to which could aspire. There was a different bar to be reached compared to what I had been used to.

“And obviously I went away a few years ago and came back again but the standard of goalkeepers has remained so high. When you see some of the performances this year, for example Mark McGinley at Finn Harps. Some of his saves were unbelievable, as were his performances.

And then obviously Gary Rogers as well, he’s been a top class goalkeeper in this country for the last ten years. I just want to wish him all the best with his retirement. I don’t think you’ll see another Gary Rogers, he has really set the standard over the last ten or fifteen years. He’s been incredible in terms of achievements and performances. We won’t see the likes of him again.” 

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Rogers won this award in 2019, though Mannus has no thoughts of following him into retirement just yet. 

“I’m 38 and I still think I can go for another two years, five years, ten years, I don’t know!  

“I am enjoying my football. It’s one of the times I’ve most enjoyed playing, with the style we try to play with, the possession game. It’s different for me, playing with this style for the last two years, it’s something I’m still learning and trying to get better at. And as a team we are still trying to improve. But it’s certainly one of the most enjoyable times I have had on the pitch in terms of playing the way we do.

“I’ll go another year and see how it goes. I’m really enjoying it, I still feel really good and the club have been really good in looking after me now.” 

Source: SSE Airtricity/YouTube

  

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Gavin Cooney

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