IT has been a tough season so far the Cork City women's team.
But City's full back Nathalie O’Brien is confident that things can improve before the end of the season and the mid-season break has come at a perfect time for them to re-group as a team.
“This season, so far, has been one with mixed emotions,” said O’Brien.
"It’s been hard losing a manager half way through the season, getting someone in temporarily and then the club appointing a new manager for the foreseeable future and adapting to each play and set up from different managers.”
New manager Danny Murphy had a tough start to his reign as his side lost seven nil to Dublin side Peamount, however a 2-1 win over Treaty at the weekend has given O’Brien and the team a little lift heading into the mid-season break.
“It was a badly needed win for some confidence boost and it’s good heading into mid season break with three points.
"We know we have it in us to go out and perform like we did in the second half against Treaty.
"It makes us determined to head into mid season knowing we will have to work hard to get right what we have to get right.
"Second from bottom on the table is certainly not good enough.
“I know, for me personally, it’s not good enough and it hurts to see us second from the bottom.
"I know by saying this the girls would agree that we should be competing against the top teams in the league but unfortunately it has not been going as planned for us as a squad.
“I wouldn’t say things have gone wrong as such but I would say things have not been working well for us as a squad and we have not been good enough this season to gain points on the table.
"That’s very disappointing. The quality is there but maybe not the work ethic.
"It’s also being frustrating for me not getting as much game time as I would like."
Disappointed with this year's performances to date, the City defender believes there’s no one person to blame, and believes players need to up their game if they want to compete at this level.
“We can always point fingers and try to blame this or that for going wrong for us but at the end of the day we are one squad and us players also need to stand up and be counted for and we need to start working harder as a unit.
“It’s not easy for any manager to come straight into a team and know all the players from one training session before a game.
"Peamount are a top team and they were far better than us on the day, and it was a tough start for Danny as manager.
“People said Danny was harsh with his comments after our heavy defeat, however I do agree we are far too nice as a team, and as individuals, I believe we do need to be more aggressive and stand up for ourselves and each other.
"We need to fight for ourselves and for us as a team and make it be known that we mean business and won’t go down in any game without a fight.
“I also do agree that we need experience within the squad, I believe the younger girls coming through need those experienced players to look up to and learn from them.
"I’ve been playing with Cork City for a decade now and am the longest serving player here.
"Then you have Ciara Mac Namara and Dan Burke who have been around about nine years or so and are probably the next longest serving players.
"The two I mentioned are still very young but yet have that experience within the national league that these girls can look up to.”
Looking forward to the break, O’Brien believes it will be an opportunity for Danny to get more familiar with his players.
“While we’re only a third way through the season and second from bottom, I think we can turn it around.
"Mid season break came at the perfect time for all of us as a unit to work so hard. To improve as a team and get a better understanding of the new manager’s game plan is what we will be working on for the next two weeks.
“The talent we have coming up through the academy is unbelievable.
"I have to give credit to the academy coaches - a few of the younger players come up training every week with us and they never look like the odd one out on the pitch which is amazing considering some of them are 16/17 years old.
"I think the future is promising for those girls but I do think we need to bring in some experienced players that will help our younger players develop.
"Being around experienced players really do help the young settle into the squad."