“IT'S great to be back on the pitch for a match again,” said a delighted Rónán Collins.
Last Monday, Cork City’s women played their first game after months stuck in lockdown followed by a couple of weeks of intense pre-season training.
The squad had played games against each other recently but in their bid to step up preparations ahead of the new Women’s National League campaign - set to begin on August 9 - City took on Cork Schoolboys League side Rockmount in Bishopstown.
The Whitechurch club’s U15s held their own across the four periods of 20 minutes but inspired by Republic of Ireland senior international Eabha O’Mahony, City emerged 4-1 victors.
“We had been doing a lot of individual training during the lockdown and just touching base with the players daily, they were all staying in contact on zoom but it wasn’t the same," continued the City manager.
“Getting back together as a group for training and now for matches has brought a great vibe and buzz between the players because they have missed each other.
“But now is when the real action with games starts again and that’s why we put in the training during the lockdown to be ready for this.
“It’s good to start getting minutes back into the player’s legs, we played some inter-squad games but it was great to play against different opponents who pose different sorts of problems.
“In Cork, there are loads of good quality teams around to play and we always find getting to play against a boys side is great opposition for us.
“It’s a good experience for them also so it was a good challenge and we are happy with how it went.
“We won the game but it was about getting minutes in the legs, it was about getting the performance and for individuals to get opportunities to show what they have done during the break and that they have pushed on.
“We can see a lot of the players put a lot of good work in and it is really going to stand to their game.” This was also the first game where both squads had to adhere to the new health and safety protocols and Collins was also pleased with how it went in that aspect.
"With regards to the players, we kept it the same as training. They arrived togged out - we let Rockmount know they were to do the same - we had them go through the same procedures on entry with regards to questionnaires, temperature checks, and social distancing, etc.
“We are lucky Rockmount’s coach works with the club at U17 level so both sets of players were well used to the procedures in place and that made it much easier.”