CHRISTMAS was tough for Sophie Liston but she has responded to the adversity with immense courage.
It was something she had suspected after suddenly developing a couple of the symptoms in the lead up to Christmas day and a text from the HSE would confirm that unfortunately, she had contracted Covid-19.
“I got a text message saying that I had to isolate on the 23rd of December,” she informs the Echo.
“On the day of the test, I had something to eat and I knew I would be positive because I had just lost my taste and my smell that day so I guessed I was going to be positive then.”
It was always going to be a quieter festive period than normal with the country on the brink of a third lockdown but Liston was required to restrict her movements even further than most.
“I just had to stay in my room by myself over Christmas,” she adds.
“My test came back positive so then all my family had to go to be tested. My sister, my mom, and one of my brothers were positive as well but my dad and my other brother didn’t get it at all.
“My taste and smell came back after a week or two so I didn’t suffer as bad as other people who got it. I was fine after my isolation period ended, thank God!”
The 19-year-old briefly shares her experience during her break working in a shop owned by a family friend in her hometown of Newcastle West in Limerick.
With her symptoms of Coronavirus long gone and thankfully failing to have a lasting impact, the Cork City Women’s attacker was also able to begin pre-season training with her teammates as normal last month as she looks to build on a promising start to life in the Women’s National League.
More recently, Liston was introduced from the substitutes bench at half-time in City’s friendly victory against her former club Treaty United and within just a couple of minutes, she showed her quality by surging through the heart of their defence before firing the ball into the far corner.
“It was only my third time playing against them since I actually left the club.
“The first time I played them I scored two goals and I got two assists but I didn’t really celebrate, I didn’t want to rub it in their face too much,” she laughs.
“I’m still friends with them all but when you’re on the pitch you’re just focused on your own team rather than who is against you.
“I’ve been putting in the work at training and I know if I do that everything will pay off in the games.
“We are all fighting for positions at the moment because there are 22 or 23 very good players here.
“Nobody is guaranteed a spot in the starting eleven so you have to keep putting in the work and when you actually get the chance to go out onto the pitch then you have to take it.”
Last year, in her first full season, the winger helped City finish in the top four for the first time since their maiden season as well as reaching the FAI Cup Final.
And now with more experience under her belt, Liston is hoping to help fill the void left by star striker Saoirse Noonan as the Leesiders look to continue progressing in 2021.
"I feel more confident now for that experience.
I’m looking to get on the ball more now than I did last year, I kind of shied away from getting on it before whereas now I’m like ‘give me the ball'.
“I thought I did well last season. I had some bad days as well, not every game was a great game but I knew I had to keep practicing, keep putting in the effort to improve.
“Saoirse was our main goal scorer but we can’t dwell on losing her when we have other players that can step up.
“It’s the whole team now that needs to step up to the plate to try and replace her.
“My aim is to try and score more goals than last season.
“I think I’m too nice when I’m on the ball, I try to pass it off instead of going myself but I’m starting to become a bit greedier now.
“But our aim is to finish in the top four again, maybe break into the top three, and if I could help us do that I would be happy.”