Christina Dring was just 18 years old when she replaced Kate O'Donovan 64 minutes into Cork City's 2017 FAI Cup final win over UCD Waves at the Aviva Stadium.

The Leesiders were 1-0 up at the time, and the game was on a knife edge. Full of beans and keen to impress, Dring had one strategy: get the head down and keep running. 

"I was only in the team a couple of months at that stage and I went straight into a cup final," she said.

"Coming on a sub, I just have memories of - and I've had it said to me since - every time I got the ball I just ran into the corner, even with 15 minutes left!

"That's something that's stuck with me. Before the match we walked out at the Aviva. I'd never been in a stadium that size."

Now three years older and with a good block of experience under her belt, Dring feels much better equipped to deal with the nerves of such occasions as she prepares for her second final, against Peamount United at Tallaght Stadium on Saturday. 

The Carrigaline woman combines lining out for Cork with playing hockey for UCC, where she's studying engineering. A versatile attacker with an eye for goal and a ferocious work ethic, Dring is happy to assume the role of elder stateswoman for the weekend's showdown.

"I'll approach this final differently. There's girls there now this year who are in the position I was three years ago so I can help them with the occasion like he older players helped me.

"You feel the exciting building now. On social media everybody's putting up stuff, we had a promo video they put up. They showed us that video before training one day and it kind of made us all realise, 'this is happening, we're going to the final'. We're just very excited'.

They face a tall order. Peamount beat Cork twice this campaign on their way to winning the Women's National League. They're studded with international class, not least the experienced pair Aine O'Gorman and Karen Duggan, 

Christina Dring (R) battles with Catherine Cronin of UCD Waves during the 2017 FAI Cup final 

Dring hopes Cork's chances will be boosted by the presence of a few supporters in the stands as they aim to upset the odds.   

"It'd be great if we could get even just one family member in. Family is so important, to have that support there would be great. My family were there in 2017. It was so nice. Even after the match to have familiar faces in the crowd... I don't see why it couldn't be done but obviously it's not up to the player sot decide things like that.

"We'd love to have them there.

"Peamount are every good on the ball, they pass it well, they're always moving. They have some skillful players, Irish internationals, but we have our own strengths and we can exploit what weaknesses we think they have.

"We have one of the fastest forward lines in the league, bundles of pace. Having lost the two league matches against them this year, all the pressure is on them, We have nothing to lose."

Usually the women's cup final is played before the men's event. This year, the game is a standalone fixture, albeit in Tallaght rather than Lansdowne Road.

Dring believes the profile of women's sport generally is improving, though she highlighted the experience of the Cork ad Galway ladies footballers at Croke Park on Sunday as an illustration of how far things have to go. A late change of venue from Parnell Park to Croke Park on the day of the game meant that TG4 could not show live coverage, while Galway only arrived at the stadium 30 minutes before throw-in.

"I think we've come a long way with the 20x20 campaign but what happened with the Galway-Cork match at the weekend kind of showed us there's still a gap there," added Dring.

"That would never happen with a men's match. 

"I think the fact the cup final this year is a standalone event, that shows progress. Maybe we'd like to be in the Aviva, but Tallaght - as its own event - that's really good. You'd love to go and play at the Aviva, it's the national stadium, but we're happy just to be in the cup final really.

"It would mean everything [to win it]. Since the cup final in 2017 we haven't won my silverware. There's a lot of new girls in the team this year. To show we're at that level, that we can win a cup final, would be great." 

Watch the FAI Women's Cup final between Peamount United and Cork City live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player from 2.30pm on Saturday, listen to live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 or follow our live blog on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News app.