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Last Sunday afternoon, Rónán Collins turned up at the Old Stadium in Bishopstown to fulfil his usual match day duties.

While the Cork City women prepared to take on Wexford Youths in the League Cup quarter-final, Collins was at the entrance taking payment from the incoming supporters and handing out squad lists to the incoming press.

But by the time Collins exited the grounds through those same gates just a few hours after the Leesiders 2-1 defeat, it was confirmed to the players and staff alike that he had become the new interim manager of the club, taking over from FAI Cup winning manager Frank Kelleher, who resigned three days previous.

“Yeah I’m usually collecting money on the gate so it was strange changing from the person that is welcoming people into the stadium to now I’m the one in the dug-out,” admitted the new City boss.

Although this move may have come as a surprise to a few, this isn’t the first time the former Limerick F.C player has been asked to take temporary charge of the side.

“It was announced to the girls in the dressing room on Sunday that Ivan (Bevan) was stepping away. I was already in the club and I’ve stepped in as interim manager in their first ever season so I had the experience,” confirmed Collins.

“They were in a rough patch at the time but we finished the season quite strong and we ended up finishing third which has been the clubs highest league finish to date.

“But at the time I was playing League of Ireland myself so it was extremely difficult as you can imagine trying to train a league of Ireland team while I was playing up in Galway with Salthill Devon.

“I was travelling up from Cork three days a week. It was extremely difficult so it was only until the end of that season I was able to keep it on.

“But I suppose it was handy that I had the experience coming in at that point in the season as well. I’ve been in the club a while, I know a lot of the girls and I have coached a lot of them before.”

The UEFA A licensed coach has enjoyed a number of different successes since his brief stint in charge of the City women’s in their debut season back in 2011/2012.

Collins took up the role as coach with Wexford Youths for the 2013/14 season and played his part as they became the first club to win a Women’s National League competition outside of the Dublin teams, winning the League Cup with a 3-0 win over Castlebar Celtic in the final.

More recently Collins helped the Cork Schoolboys League under 15 side to become All-Ireland Inter-league, Munster Inter-league, and All-Ireland Challenge Shield Champions last season before going on to lead the under 16’s to National Cup success back in February.

And while he admits he will still require a settling in period, the now former City women’s academy director stated one of his main objectives is to bring the youths and the Women’s first team closer together.

“We had a bit more time this week to get my feet under the table and finding the lie of the land and doing our own fact-finding mission but they’re a good group of girls so I’m very happy with the work we’ve got done this week,” added Collins.

“The girls have had a huge change of the past few weeks and a lot of it now is just to get them out on the pitch, get playing again and get working on stuff moving forward.

“There was a lot of good things in place so there wouldn’t be a big huge talk about changing everything.

“Obviously there are different things that everyone will bring but I’m still getting to know all the staff that Frank (Kelleher) would have had in place previously.

“They all have really good assets and attributes. He’s set it up very well with people like that in place so that makes it much easier as well.

“We’ll see what people can bring extra or how things can be different but there is a lot of really good stuff in place and that is obviously a really big positive.

“A big thing I will be able to bring is that I have a good knowledge of the youth coming in and on top of that I have a good knowledge of the other coaches and I will be hoping to bring both coaching staffs closer together so we can see that there’s a bigger community at the club.

“From being on the boy's side in the national league, I know that one of the bigger positives from the under 15’s, 17’s, and 19’s national league and now there under 17’s Women National League team that is starting, is that clubs are now not just one team.

“They are a proper club so that’s something we will be hoping to bring in on the women’s side as well.”

The club confirmed in its statement announcing the appointment of Collins as Interim manager of the first team that it will continue to carry out a review of the Women’s team’s structures at the club which may or may not include the future appointment of a different manager.

But with Collins already putting those plans in place for the future, he failed to rule out the possibility that he could become the permanent boss.

“Wasn’t it just Arsene Wenger saying it last week that every time you come into the club you have got to manage it like you’re going to be there for the next hundred years.

“Things always move and everyone always moves on but you always want to leave things better than the position you found them and to put long-term structures in place but also look after the short term.

“So that will always be my goal, no matter where I am or what role I am in. I’m happy enough to go ahead with whatever the club feels is in the best interests of the club.”

Collin’s second spell as interim manager could hardly begin under more difficult circumstance as he faces title chasers Peamount United, who currently sit second in the Continental Tyres Women’s National League, on Sunday afternoon.

But he also goes into that home fixture with a depleted squad as a number of his players have suffered injuries in recent weeks, including midfielder and fiancée of two years Katie McCarthy.

“I would have worked with Katie previously at Wexford Youths so I have experience of working with her so when she’s there she’s just another player to me obviously enough,” declared Collins.

“We are in a bit of an injury crisis at the moment. Savannah (McCarthy) has a fracture in her foot, Katie McCarthy is out with a hamstring injury and Clare Shine is currently coming back from a rib injury.

“Nathalie O’Brien has a problem with her foot as well. She went for a scan but it wasn’t broken so there’s a few knocks and niggles but hopefully, that’s the end of it and we will soon start to get people off the treatment table and onto the pitch.

“You’ve got to really look forward to it. I always take the point of view that we set performances targets that we would like to see.

“All week we’ve gone through certain targets with the players that we’ve set and we will go week by week setting new targets and looking for new performance indicators so it becomes a long-term development plan.

“But the team are progressing in a direction we would like them to go and Sunday will give us a good indicator of where we are at and where we need to get to.

“I’m lucky that I have already got to watch Peamount this year and also that because I’ve been in the league already I have different contacts around the league that have been able to give me more information as well.

“So between watching videos and seeing them myself this year we will have good information for them.

“But with it being my first week in the job, I have to put my main concentration on my own team because I’m still trying to find out where our players are at.”

A week that began with him collecting the entrance fees at the front gate in Bishopstown will end with him taking his place in the manager’s chair in the home dugout.

A unique promotion but it is one that Rónán Collins is more than relishing.

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