Cobh Ramblers will seek to continue their impressive start to 2017 as they welcome Avondale United to St. Colman’s Park on Tuesday (kick-off 7.45 p.m.).
The Co. Cork sides will face each other in the opening round of this season’s EA Sports Cup. The match was rescheduled from March 21st as a mark of respect to the late Ryan McBride (RIP).
The town of Cobh is buzzing as Ramblers jointly sit atop the SSE Airtricity League First Division table after a workmanlike 1-0 home win over UCD on Saturday evening. Ben O’Riordan’s first ever senior goal gave Ramblers an important victory over one of their promotion rivals.
Speaking before the original fixture, Cobh manager Stephen Henderson said that while the league is their focus, he'll be putting out a strong team against Avondale.
"The cups are something we want to do well in. Supporters of football in this country don't get too many days out, so if we can get our lads to a semi-final or a final for our supporters that would be amazing.
"We're going to have a crack off it, and we're very confident that whatever team we put out will be the team that will go out and win the match for us."
Speaking to Red FM after the UCD match, Henderson looked ahead to the EA Sports Cup fixture. “We have a very tough match on Tuesday night against a very strong Avondale team. It’s a Cup we want to do well in and we have to get ourselves prepared for that.”
Avondale United are the reigning Munster Senior League champions. They currently sit in 7th place in this season’s league but have several matches in hand over some of the main challengers.
The club received a major boost last month when stalwart ‘Dale defender Mark Horgan was named FAI Intermediate Player of the Year at the Three FAI International Football Awards Ceremony. Horgan has also represented Ireland at intermediate level. He captained the Irish Defence Forces squad at the recent Defence Forces World Cup. Horgan is making his way back from injury but unfortunately, won’t be fit to play against Ramblers.
Avondale’s last Munster Senior League encounter (on 2nd April) resulted in a heavy home loss to St. Mary’s. The tie was 0-0 at half-time but ‘Dale conceded four goals in 34 second half minutes before Simon Falvey netted a late consolation. That result was a blow to Avondale, coming off two impressive victories against Cobh Wanderers and Rockmount. Falvey, Vinny O’Brien, and ex-Cork City player Josh O’Shea have been among the goals recently for Avondale.
On St. Patrick’s Day, Avondale advanced in the Munster Senior League Beamish Cup, beating MSL 1st Division side Carrigaline United 7-6 in a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw. Vinny O’Brien was again on target for Avondale in normal time and goalkeeper Cian Hartnett produced the vital penalty save after 13 successful spot kicks.
‘Dale’s Under 19 netminder Owen O'Sullivan will start in goal, with former Cobh Ramblers goalkeeper Robert Birdsall out injured.
Referee: Jason Mannix.
Ramblers midfielder Karl Caulfield will probably face his former club.
Avondale United have a rich Cup pedigree. The club are the all-time record winners of the FAI Intermediate Cup with seven wins. They reached the FAI Senior Cup quarter-finals just three seasons ago before losing to Finn Harps.
Avondale’s previous foray in the EA Sports Cup was in 2014. They took an early lead through Graham McCarthy before going down to a 2-1 First Round defeat at the RSC against Waterford.
Cobh Ramblers’ record League Cup victory was a 5-0 win away to Waterford in 1997. The club’s best League Cup performance came when Ramblers reached the in 1976-77 semi-finals (as a non-league club). They lost 4-2 at home to Limerick in last season’s first round.
Cobh Ramblers: last five games WWDLW
Avondale United: last five games LWWWL
Cobh Ramblers 1/3, Draw 11/4, Avondale United 6/1.
Cobh Ramblers 3-1 Avondale United
Injured: Ryan Hogan
Doubtful: Chris McCarthy, Cian Kingston, Anthony O’Donnell
Injured: Robert Birdsall. Mark Horgan, Cian Hill.
John Manning began writing for Extratime.ie this year after retiring from the insurance industry. He has been a regular attendee at League of Ireland football matches since the 1970s. He has particularly supported Cork Hibs, Cork Celtic, Cork United, Cork City but has attended many other matches also.
He was formerly Webmaster of the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland website (www.ppui.ie) to which he still contributes. He is currently Webmaster of the International Pitch and Putt Association website (www.fippa.org).
John broadcast Pitch and Putt on the airwaves from 1994 to 2005 – on CKR, KFM, KCLR FM, Midlands Radio 3, Radio Kerry and Cork 103 FM.
John held many administrative posts within the sport of Pitch and Putt
· Treasurer Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland 1992-93
· Public Relations Officer Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland 1994 – 2005
· General Secretary European Pitch and Putt Association 2000 - 2010
John Manning was the Editor of ‘Backspin’ – official monthly magazine of the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland – between 1989 and 2005. He still currently contributes to ‘Backspin’.
He is a fervent supporter of the Republic of Ireland football team – home and sometimes away.
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