CORK City manager Rónán Collins has backed his players to rise to the occasion when they take on Peamount United in the Women’s FAI Cup Final in Tallaght Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
City return to the Cup decider (which will be shown live on RTÉ 2, kick-off 3.15pm) for the first time since 2017 when a stunning finish from Clare Shine saw them claim the silverware for the first time in their history with a 1-0 win against UCD Waves.
They face a tough challenge against a Peamount side that recently retained the Women’s National League title having won 11 of their 12 fixtures, including two 3-0 triumphs against the Leesiders.
The Dublin club has been beaten by Wexford Youths in the last two finals, and Collins is hoping it won’t be a case of third time lucky.
“We want the silverware, but we want to put on a show and to perform and play like we know we can,” he told the Echo.
“That’s our target every week, to show what we can do. We know we are quite a good footballing team with lots of threats and assets, that’s what we want to bring this weekend.
“Peamount have a lot of bad memories of FAI Cup finals and that could creep up on them. That can get the most of you as well that you feel is there a hoodoo or a monkey on your back.
“The pressure is on them but even if we were in their situation, it’s another game of football. You put your performance targets out and you go and reach them. If you can do that consistently enough things will go your way.
“I can’t say that we have ever brought it up that we are the underdogs. We just play the match I suppose, it’s all about what we can do.
“In both games, we played against them this year we have learned things that have worked for us against Peamount.
“The big thing for me on the day is we go out and show what we can do, that’s really what we want to do. That is our target.
“The girls have really great quality, they have worked very hard and we want them to take this opportunity and grab it by the scruff of the neck.
“The big thing I have seen from the girls this year is that consistency of performances has increased week on week on week.
“If you can get those preparation points in order, then you have everything ready to go out and put in that type of performance where they can show what they can do.
“The feeling I’m getting is that is what we are going to see.”
The days leading up to the final has seen City’s young squad participate in the usual media days and photoshoots associated which such a big occasion.
Collins insisted that we wants his players to enjoy the experience and use it to ensure they can enjoy much more success in the future.
“The girls are excited, you can see the mood is quite positive but it has been like that for a while,” he added.
“There were obviously different things associated with the week leading up to the final.
“We told the girls there will be interviews, photoshoots, and whatnot and to really go and enjoy it but it’s still a training week like any other week so to make sure they are concentrated on the football when they are down for football.
“All of this is experience. You have got to relish all these opportunities and the more the girls get used to that the more they will just keep performing as they always do because it will become a second habit to just go out and enjoy it. Sure isn’t that why they’re playing and doing this?
“It’s going to help them in the future. I remember when I was younger and coaching in a final the manager said to me that these don’t always come around.
“So if you want these to come around again you have got to keep working hard because if you take your foot off the pedal, you will miss out on those opportunities and they won’t come back.
“We are very lucky to have this opportunity but we are very well aware that we have more work to do and we need to keep pushing on so we can get more great weeks like this.
“And this weekend, we are going to really love it, really, really love it.”