Collins still upbeat for City despite opening day defeat
DESPITE the disappointment of a 3-1 defeat to Shelbourne last Saturday – on the opening weekend of the Women’s National League – Cork City manager Rónán Collins was in a relatively upbeat mood.
Having leaked goals to Pearl Slattery, Ciara Grant and Rebecca Cooke in the opening 50 minutes, the Leesiders persisted with their challenge. Saoirse Noonan slotted home a penalty in the dying moments and Collins was greatly encouraged by the way his side ended the contest.
“We’re obviously disappointed. I thought the girls put in a really good effort preparing. Probably we over prepared a small bit, and we were in our own heads a bit. We corrected that in the second half and I think we really went at them, especially the last 20 minutes,” Collins said.
“Our pressure was really good, we created a lot of chances. It’s sustaining that for longer periods in the game. I think it shows the youth and exuberance in the team, how they really played without fear in the end and really gave it a go. That’s what we’ve got to build on.
“Shels have moved the ball well and we need to find ways to counteract that quicker. We’ll go to the drawing board this week and put that into play.”
The switch of Saoirse Noonan into the lone striker position – with Christina Dring taking over her number 10 role – was a big factor in City’s improved showing during the closing quarter. Additionally, Collins felt Lauren Egbuloniu added a lot of energy on her return from a long-term knee injury.
“I think Saoirse has done really well. She ran the channels and has really set a good trigger on the press. Christina turned over a lot of ball in midfield and instead of us winning it back in our own half, we’re winning it in their half. The two girls had a really good impact in that area.
“I think she [Egbuloniu] is 474 days since her injury and she had a really good impact when she came on. That’s another positive to bring in.”
With a clean bill of health to report on from their first competitive game of 2020, Collins and his charges can switch their attention to this Sunday’s clash against league holders Peamount United at Bishopstown Stadium (kick-off 2pm).
“There’s no better game to prepare for Peamount than Shels. We’re going to learn today and we’re going to get stuff together for that match. We’ll see how we take them down in Cork. Everyone seems fresh. The girls have really built a robustness.
“They’ve worked really hard and trained really hard. There’s a great strength and fitness in the team, and great options as well. We’ll be good,” Collins added.