IT seems to be a case of one step forward and two steps back for the Cork City women at the moment.
After producing their best performance of the season in their hard-fought but well deserved 2-1 victory against Bohemians at Turner’s Cross - it was their first win of the 2022 Women’s National League campaign - they were brought back down to earth with a bump in their next fixture last weekend.
Captain Becky Cassin, to her credit, again got on the scoresheet but it proved to be just a consolation as her former club Wexford Youths ran riot and secured a fully merited 5-1 triumph at Ferrycarrig Park with the Republic of Ireland international Ellen Molloy all but ending the game as a contest with a hat-trick inside just 19 minutes.
“It was a good second half but we were too slow out of the blocks in the first half against one of the top three teams and they punished us,” manager Paul Farrell admitted when speaking about the result.
“We can’t be giving up that many good goal chances, especially against the big teams. They are going to punish us.”
It’s one thing to identify the problem, but it is another thing entirely to find a solution.
But that’s the task facing Farrell, his coaching staff, and all his players this week as they prepare for another daunting task this Saturday evening.
“We have Peamount United this weekend so we have got to make sure that we plan accordingly for that as well and we need to make sure we are in the game for long periods of time against them,” added Farrell.
“After the Wexford game both the staff and the players were very deflated so we need to make sure that we analyse this properly now going into the game against Peamount.
“We have a busy set of fixtures coming up, we have three games in seven days which we are not too happy about either but it’s going to test our depth of squad and we need to be ready.”
Away matches against Munster rivals Treaty United and DLR Waves follow next week but the focus now is putting in a good performance against the joint league leaders, who have started this season in impressive form.
The Peas sit level on the top of the table with Shelbourne having won five of their six games to date with their only defeat coming against Sligo Rovers which was a match they actually won.
Following a meeting with the Football Association of Ireland's Disciplinary Control Unit, it was deemed that Peamount had fielded a player who had not been correctly registered and as a result, Sligo were awarded a 3-0 win.
But the Dublin club, who boast a number of incredibly talented players including the likes of Stephanie Roche and Aine O’Gorman, were severely tested in their last outing as they only narrowly came from behind to beat Athlone Town 2-1 with a Tiegan Ruddy free-kick winning it with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Having already lost heavily to the two other main contenders for the league title - 7-0 away to Shelbourne and 5-1 away to Wexford Youths - City at least need to be more competitive and take a leaf out of Athlone’s book.
And at the time of writing the Rebel Army have a full squad of players to choose from to do just that.
“Yeah, it’s going to be a tough game so we need to make sure we do our homework on Peamount,” insisted Farrell.
“Even last weekend there they only beat Athlone Town 2-1 and they only scored their winner in the last 15 minutes so we have got to look and see what Athlone did well and see if we can replicate that and maybe frustrate them as well.
“We will need to do that to try and get a good result out of the game. We need to make sure we can be competitive. We have a squad there that can be competitive in every single game.
“When we give up too many silly chances then we are not going to be competitive against the top three teams in the league at the moment.
“We have really got to make sure that we rectify that and we need to make sure that it is a competitive game next Saturday.
“Heading into that game we should have everyone back. I think we have one or two knocks at the moment but - as I say now - everyone should be fit and ready for a busy week ahead.”