IT’S Shelbourne v Cork City in the Women’s National League this weekend and both sides will be going into the game in high spirits.
Last year’s runners-up Shels secured a return to the FAI Women’s Cup final and a meeting with Athlone Town in the showpiece occasion as they narrowly defeated Bohemians 1-0 last weekend.
City, on the other hand, had their feet up last Saturday afternoon but they were winners in their last outing the weekend before when they deservedly defeated Galway 1-0 to make it back-to-back wins at Turner’s Cross.
So while Noel King’s side — last season’s champions — will rightly be favourites for this encounter at Tolka Park on Saturday afternoon — kick-off is at 2pm and as always it can be streamed live and for free on LOI TV — City will be confident of repeating their display against Galway which should mean they’ll be competitive in Dublin.
“I thought they worked really hard,” said Murphy after City’s last fixture.
“We were able to press them, we were able to be aggressive and win the ball back and at times when we had the ball we played some really good stuff.
“But look there is still a lot to do, we can’t get carried away. There are still small little details we need to work on a little bit more.”
The City players will also be boosted by the announcement in the last few days that the club and University College Cork have finalised a five-year extension to their partnership that will see players from across the club gain scholarships and access to UCC’s world-class sports facilities.
This agreement will ensure players from both the men’s and women’s teams are afforded equal opportunities to further their footballing careers while studying at one of Ireland’s leading universities.
City’s Shaunagh McCarthy is studying for a Masters in Management and Marketing at UCC and she recently spoke of her delight at the news.
“It’s really important to have the connection between UCC and Cork City, even for benefits such as using the facilities here,” said McCarthy.
As a player, having the Mardyke Arena is a huge factor, having the gym to use, the pool for recovery and facilities like that.
“Then as a student, coming here to study at this recognised university, it is an honour to study and play here,” she said.
Kelly Leahy plays for City’s U19 team but she also starred in the seniors’ win against Galway and she will be starting a Degree in Commerce in UCC this week.
“I’m buzzing to get started, it’s such a huge honour to get the scholarship, to play for City and come to UCC. It’s great for my development,” Leahy added.
And it’s that development that could lead to City being competitive in the years ahead.
But for now, they will have to just concentrate on trying to finish this season on a high, starting by being competitive against one of the title chasers in the days ahead.