CORK City Women’s manager Rónán Collins has backed his side to be even stronger next season as they look to bounce back from Saturday’s disappointing FAI Cup final defeat.
City secured an impressive fourth-place finish in the Women’s National League but they were humbled by a talented Peamount United side, who claimed the double, in Saturday’s final but Collins is convinced his young squad will learn from this going forward.
“This season has been a stepping stone,” he insisted.
“They’re a really good team, we know that. At the start of the year, we were looking at them as the team to beat and as the standard-bearer.
“They set a standard today alright but in the first half we showed what we can do against them and we need to build on that.
“What an experience for the year but this week, in particular, has been great, the girls have really taken a lot from it and it is really going to stand to them but what is important is that we have got to push on from here.
“It hurts now but there is a hell of a lot we can take from it, it has been a terrific season but we’re not happy with just that, we want to build on it.
“It still shows the amount of work we have to do but we have time now to take a break, get the heads down, and then go and solve those issues next year.”
Despite being level at the break, the Leesiders shipped six second-half goals - four of those coming in the final 15 minutes - and Collins admits his side needs to learn from that.
“It’s a tough game to have thoughts on right now,” he added.
“I did think we were really good in the first half, I thought we settled well, and we were on top of them when they were playing out a bit.
“We can be really happy with the first half but it’s a game of two halves, you have got to do it for two halves.
“We let that early goal at the beginning of the second half affect us but we are young so that is the next learning curve for us how we react in those situations.
“One thing we knew going into today is that we had to go and play. We did that in the first half but when you have maybe a moment like that, two quick moments like that actually it puts a lot of pressure on people in certain positions to go and play as well.
“But we need to drive on with that bravery moving forward.”