Maria O’Sullivan admits Cork City’s fans will have to be patient for Women’s National League silverware to arrive on Leeside.
Ahead of the delayed start to the campaign on August 8, which for City involves a trip to traditional title favourites Shelbourne, the goalkeeper and captain cautions against unrealistic expectations.
When, as a 16-year-old, the Ballincollig stopper watched from her Lansdowne Road seat as the Rebels lifted the FAI Cup, the feeling was further success was inevitable.
However, two more successive fifth-place finishes have seen the side plateau.
Speaking at the league launch, where Barretstown were unveiled as the league’s charity partner, O’Sullivan’s target was to remain in the top half by October 10 when the new format of a split season is decided.
The return from injury during the season of Lauren Egbulonui and Shaunagh McCarthy will boost their cause.
“The aim is to finish higher than last season,” said the recently-appointed skipper, an Ireland U19 international.
“We’ve lost a few players with a lot progressing from our U17s. The hope is that after a season or two they can really develop to allow us to compete for titles.
“The team could have done better after winning the FAI Cup but this is a tough league. Still, I was impressed how we matched champions Peamount United for fitness and quality in a friendly last week.”
Meanwhile, the German FA have set the crunch European Championship qualifier on September 19 for Essen FC (kick off 2pm local, 1pm Irish). The home of fourth-tier outfit Rot-Weiss Essen has a capacity of 20,650 but only around 8,000 will be allowed to attend due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Ireland lead the group, needing one point from their final three games against Germany (twice) and Ukraine (away) to clinch a play-off for the 2022 finals in England.