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WU17 Cup Final Preview

Cork City FC Women’s U17 team face Peamount United U17 tonight in the Women’s U17 Cup Final, the final game of the underage season and part of the continuing success story that Sarah Healy has had with her players since taking the Cork City U17 role three years ago.

Semi-Final places in both League and Cup competitions in her first season was followed by a League Final Win in 2020 and now, a Cup Final in 2021. She quickly pushes aside her own success in conversation this week, “It won’t be until after the final I’ll sit down and have a think about the season, right now all the adrenaline and focus is on the players and getting them ready”.

Healy has been delighted with the preparation this week. “Training has been brilliant, there’s a great balance between serious focus, knowing we have a Cup Final we want to win and laughter, as it’s our last game and the girls are having fun as well, enjoying where we are as we face the end of the season.”

This will only be the second competitive meeting between the two teams at U17 level, but the coaching team are happy with their analysis and research on the opposition. “We had played Peamount in pre-season friendlies in previous years, but Covid has meant that didn’t happen this year. It’s a great club, great teams at all levels but we’ve done our homework and we feel we have the players to win on the day”.

“There are a few areas where we think we can get at them, but in the end, we focus on our game, our style of play that the girls have been working on and which we’ve educated them on and brought them along with through the year.”

All of the 19-player squad will kit out for the day, though Sarah Bell is out again and won’t make the matchday squad “Yeah, Sarah only had her MRI on the knee this week, so we have to wait for the results of that and work with her to get her right for next season. She’s a loss, but I know I have 18 other girls who all can step up, everyone is always in the picture” says Healy “all the girls will be in the matchday squad, I can only play 16 but I know I can call on any of them, and it’s my hope that I can empty the bench again, as we have done all season alongside rotating the squad, to make sure as many players have the experience of the day as possible”.

It’s a young squad, with many of the girls still eligible for U17 in 2022 “It’s fantastic really, when you look at Fiana [Bradley], Grace Flanagan, Grace Fitzpatrick, Heidi [Mackin], Ellie {O’Brien], I know I’m going to leave someone out” laughs Healy “others who are still at this age group next year, with a year at this level under their belt it’s fantastic and all those girls have been up at International Camps and winning Irish Caps this year, they’ve all gotten to U17 standard really quickly and it goes to show if you can step up, you really can be playing early at the highest level”.

Looking forward to the day, Healy welcomed the switch to Athlone from Eamon Deacy Park in Galway but admits it gives Peamount an edge. “They’ve a relatively short trip compared to us, but we’re going to leave early, break up the journey and have our pre-match meal and a meeting, really give the girls the Cup Final experience and make sure we’re fully prepared”.

The Women’s U17 Cup Final between Cork City FC and Peamount United takes place tonight at Athlone Town Stadium, with a 7.45pm kick-off and is live on LOItv.ie.

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