CORK CITY WFC will play their final game of Series One in the Women’s National League this Saturday afternoon as they host Munster rivals Treaty United at Turner’s Cross.
It is City in seventh against United in ninth (and also last) place in the league table, with kick-off set for 2pm. As always, it will be streamed live and for free on LOI TV.
The Leesiders are without a victory so far this season after seven games, but after a positive performance last weekend against the 2020 double winners and current leaders Peamount United — although they were ultimately beaten 3-1 — they will be hoping to finally get off the mark against their Limerick opponents.
“The first half against Peamount, I thought we were good,” manager Rónán Collins told The Echo.
“We played a nice high line, squeezed them up the pitch, played out a good bit, created chances, and looked a threat on the break.
“They still had loads of quality. We weren’t bad in the second half, but we probably sank a bit and didn’t play as much.
“When we play against those top teams, we have to be completely brave for 90 minutes and we will get our rewards — but it was definitely a good performance, and there was a lot to take from it.
There have been a lot of good things in our performances this season which we haven’t got our rewards for yet, but that will come.
“Treaty has a lot of pace in high areas and they have a lot of attacking quality.
"I think all bar one game this season they have scored in as well, so they do offer a threat that we really need to be aware of, and we need to try to put our game plan on them.
“We will concentrate on our performance, as ever. We will want to win the ball, we will want to get after them, and if we can do that we will give ourselves a good footing to get a good result.
“As long as we can do our thing we will be nice and confident but we have to make sure we bring those performance levels and do what we want to do.”
The City squad has been boosted recently by the return of goalkeeper Maria O’Sullivan, who played a captain’s role in helping the club reach last year’s FAI Cup final, beating Treaty in the semi-final.
O’Sullivan took up a soccer scholarship at Fordham University in New York in January, but is now home for the summer break and was an unused substitute in the defeat to Peamount as she faces a tough task trying to oust Abby McCarthy, who has impressed since replacing the Ballincollig native between the sticks.
“You could already see it on Saturday, she’s good around the place with people,” said Collins.
“Her first night back training with us was last Friday and she made a few really good saves, so it was really good to have her back.
“She adds quality to the squad, she adds competition with the goalkeepers, she’s a good character because she gets on well with the group, she challenges us and propels us on as staff.
“There’s a lot of components there that will make us stronger while she is here.
“We are blessed, and that competition is going to drive those girls on. We have already seen the development Abby [McCarthy] and Leah [Hayes Coen] have made this year, so throwing Maria into the mix is going to help even more.”
O’Sullivan’s return offers a timely lift after the club was rocked by the news that Zara Foley is set to undergo surgery on an ankle injury which is likely to rule her out of action until at least September.
It was hoped the full-back, who trained with the Irish senior set up this year, would only face a few weeks out.
“Zara was a huge player for us over the last few seasons,” said Collins. “I think over the last while she was starting to come into her own.
“She has just turned 19, but this is her fourth season so she is very much a senior player for us, at times you would forget her age.
“Injuries are always a difficult situation, but she has handled it well so far, and I hope when she comes back she will be even more mature, and it’s almost going to be like a new signing for us.
“It will be a big boost for us, so hopefully between now and then she has no setbacks.”
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