A NEW Women’s National League is upon us and with a new number on the back of her Cork City jersey, Christina Dring is ready.
Saoirse Noonan’s departure means there’s a vacancy for a goalscorer and with Dring likely to move from the wing to spearhead the attack, the new number nine is ready to step up.
“I definitely want to score more goals than I did last year,” Dring tells The Echo.
“There’s more expectation when you are playing as the striker to score goals, so I aim to score more. Playing that bit further forward will give me opportunities to get more goals than last year.
“Losing a player like Saoirse is always going to have an effect on your team, but going into this season, we need to focus on the players we do have who are well capable of scoring goals.”
The 21-year-old showed her prowess recently with a superb finish in City’s 3-1 friendly win over Treaty United. It was City’s only victory during pre-season.
The triumph was sandwiched between heavy defeats to Peamount United — their conquerors in last year’s FAI Cup final — and to DLR Waves, but Dring isn’t worried.
“We are learning from every game: You either win or you learn.
“In pre-season, results don’t really matter. It’s more about getting minutes into everyone and the management trying to figure out what their strongest 11 is.
“We played DLR Waves recently and we just weren’t up to the standard that we know we are capable of.
“But, I think, it’s better to produce a performance like that in pre-season rather than our first league match; it’s better to get those mistakes out of the way now,” Dring says.
“There were patches where we showed our quality. We did create chances, but we just weren’t able to score, unfortunately.
“We had four or five weeks off since the cup final. I don’t know about the rest of the team, but I was wanting to get back as soon as possible.
“You never want to lose a cup final, especially 6-0, but it is driving us on to get there again this season and go one better. Once the season starts, we won’t be thinking, ‘Oh, we lost to this team’,” Dring says. “It doesn’t count for anything, really, so we just want to get a good start and keep it up for the season. I can’t wait to get started.”
City travel to Galway in the opening game of the 2021 Women’s National League season tomorrow and it will be streamed live and for free on LOI TV. That’s a boost for the league.
But Dring, a Carrigaline native, also has her eye on their first home game of the campaign, against Shelbourne, the following week, at Turner’s Cross.
“I can’t believe we are getting the chance to play all our home matches there,” says Dring. “I have only played there twice and now it is going to be almost every second week: It’s a bit surreal.
“I never got to play there at local level. The funny thing is, the season I left Carrigaline, they got to the cup final there, but I had already signed for City, so I couldn’t play.
“I still got to sit in the dugout. I was delighted for them, but it was just… I had signed for City, so I obviously couldn’t complain, but it was the fact that just as they got to that final I couldn’t play in it.
“It’s massive to be able to play there. Every year, the women’s league is progressing and this is just another step; playing all our home games there is unbelievable,” Dring says.
It’s getting more and more recognition every year and the fact all our matches are being streamed for free gives the league so much more coverage.
“With lockdown now, all the games are behind closed doors and people keep asking me if there is a stream for our matches, even for our friendlies,” Dring says. “To be able to say, now, that all our league matches will be streamed is great.
“Galway is always a tough team to play against and, in the first game in the league, you always want to go out and do well. It will be a challenge, but you need to start the league as you mean to go on and we have a good chance of getting a good result against them.”