THE mid-season break in the Women’s National League came at a perfect time for new manager, Danny Murphy.
His first game in charge was a 7-0 defeat at home to Peamount, but which taught him a lot about the squad and he is now looking forward to the challenge.
“My first game in charge, against Peamount, was certainly not what I expected,” said Murphy. “I learned a lot about my players. I learned a lot more than what I thought I would.
“I demanded certain aspects of the game from the girls, but when I look back, they were things the girls weren’t prepared for from the staff.
“There was no data on the girls’ fitness, so I’m basically now starting from scratch.
“Asking girls to be aggressive, put in tackles, and be sharper, but when the work hasn’t been done up until now and no time has been put in to get the girls to that level, then I can’t make demands on the girls until I get them to that level.
"That is something we need to work on now, immediately. We need to understand where they are at.
“So, for me, it’s like starting at pre-season and this, I believe, should have been done way before I took over; in fact, since pre-season.
“So, while girls might be able to play pretty football and pass the ball around, if you can’t run around and physically compete in the game, then you have no chance, so, for me, that’s a problem.
“I’m not going to get things right all the time, but there’s things we’re going to implement now and girls have to take ownership and look after themselves.
“There are things they will need to do off the pitch to get themselves where we need them to be.”
Coming in as manager mid-season is difficult, but Murphy is confident he can turn things around before the end of the season.
“I want to win games, but I feel it’s baby steps we need to do to get those wins, but we’ll get there if the players start listening to me and do things I want them to do.
“It won’t take long if we do it the right way. We'll start moving up the league. I have no doubt about that.
“The question for me is can the girls do the ugly side of the game and that is to outwork the person you’re playing against, and winning your individual battle. And can they run for 90 minutes?”
Murphy believes some players are happy to say they’re playing with Cork City, but not willing to progress in the game. This is something he won’t tolerate.
“We need to build that competitive edge at training. I met with Joe Gamble at the weekend and when we played alongside each other, we never got on.
“He always wanted the ball and I never wanted to give it to him, but at the time I did what I thought was right and this is what the girls need to do also: Forget about friendships on the pitch and play the game demanding more from each other.
“The ugly side of the game is gone out of it. Players are way too nice nowadays. When we played, we hated the Dublin teams; now, they’re all friends with one another. This is all down to mindset again and this mentality needs to be changed.
“I’ll get there because I’ll put in the time and effort.”
Quick to say maturity is lacking in the squad, Murphy wants Cork City to be a club where players are attracted to play as opposed to girls leaving to play for the opposition.
“We don’t have a scouting system at the club. It’s a huge catchment area, but my problem is that there are a lot of Cork girls playing outside of Cork for other clubs.
“My job is to find out the reasons why. Why can’t we attract the best players in Cork to stay in Cork and play for us?
“I want to change that. Can we make the club more attractive for players to stay here? I’m very driven. I want to be the best club in Ireland and I don’t see that to be impossible."