wnl-banner

When Cork City lost to Peamount United in the 2020 FAI Women's Senior Cup Final at Tallaght Stadium, a lot of the talk was of how this could be the making of a young team.

Ronan Collins had a core of experienced players in Ciara McNamara, Nathalie O'Brien, Danielle Burke and Katie McCarthy, while many rising stars took flight in that truncated season that saw them go all the way to the Cup Final. It was only a matter of time before they became a force to be reckoned with.

Unfortunately, things have worked out that way - at least not yet. It is just past the halfway mark of the 2021 season and Cork are joint bottom of the League, Collins has gone, so too has playmaker Saoirse Noonan, and now things are going to get even worse as they are set to lose four key players.

Maria O'Sullivan, Éabha O'Mahony, Sophie Liston and Lauren Egbuloniu are all departing for scholarships to colleges in the United States and that leaves current Cork boss Paul Farrell with a huge rebuilding job, even though they are in the middle of their season.

The good news is that Cork's Under-17 team has been one of the strongest in the country for the past few years - they won the WNL U-17 Final last December - and that conveyor belt that continues to produce talented players will need to be switched into hyperdrive for the next few months.

Farrell will likely find it difficult to attract senior players to the club given their current position, so trusting in youth feels like a sound policy. Besides, he has already seen the likes of Eva Mangan, Abby McCarthy and Laura Shine all excel this season. So there is most definitely hope to cling to as this overhaul begins.

There is no doubt that they will miss the four American-bound players - particularly O'Mahony, who has been superb for the last two seasons - but it's time to move on. And that opens the door of opportunity up to a new batch of players and they could just help to transform the team again if they play without fear.