Matty Whelan's winning goal at the UCD Bowl was Cobh's season highlight to date and keeps them within reach of leaders Waterford.

Midseason Report Card - Cobh Ramblers
Published: June 15, 2017

Club: Cobh Ramblers

Manager: Stephen Henderson

Stadium: St. Colman’s Park

Highest attendance this season: 650 (vs Waterford, May 27th)

Highest league goalscorer: Christopher McCarthy (5)

Mid-season position: 2nd

 

How we thought they would do

Back in February, we said: “Surviving this year in the league financially must be Ramblers' priority. If they are to compete they will need goals, the club possess some fine attacking talent in Jonathan Creamer and Matthew Whelan. With Jason Abbott returning from injury the East Cork side will be relying on these young players to step up under the tutelage of Ashton and Henderson and provide the Rams with the attacking threat they need.”

 

How they really have done

Truth to tell, Ramblers have been pretty competitive. At the mid-season break, the Cobh men sit in a comfortable second place in the division, the product of many solid performances, particularly at home. Ramblers are unbeaten at ‘fortress’ St. Colman’s Park where they’ve won five and drawn three. Ramblers have lost three on their travels but that’s more than balanced by four stirring victories. Cobh have conceded just three goals at home, a feat only matched by title rivals, the higher-spending Waterford. Stephen Henderson’s men are unbeaten against Athlone, Shelbourne, UCD and Wexford. There’s been next-to-nothing in their league encounters with southern rivals Waterford although Ramblers have picked-up just a single point from the two matches to date.

 

Waterford eliminated Cobh Ramblers from the EA Sports Cup in the second round. Again, Stephen Henderson’s side were well in the match until Derek Daly’s 87th minute clincher for the Blues. Cobh bowed out on penalties to eventual runners-up Wilton United in the Munster Senior Cup semi-finals. Cobh’s impressive run in the league has caught the eye of the public and Stevenage-born custodian Paul Hunt was winner of the extratime.ie First Division Player of the Month award for May. Ramblers conceded just two goals in the whole month, both of those coming in the surprise 2-0 reverse at the hands of Athlone Town on May 5th.

 

Ramblers have been capably led by Chris McCarthy, who was named skipper for the season by Stephen Henderson back in February. McCarthy is actually the club’s leading scorer with five goals, but the bulk of those have come from the penalty spot.

 

Moment of the season so far

Deep into the second half at the Belfield Bowl on 19th May, Matthew Whelan chased down a long ball with the honesty that has characterised all of his performances this season. Whelan held off UCD defender Liam Scales and rammed the ball past Jason Corbett to earn Ramblers a priceless 1-0 win over one of their main promotion rivals.

 

Star Player: Paul Hunt

The former Bohemians, St. Pat’s and Longford custodian contributed richly to Ramblers quest for promotion in 2016 and his form has been even better this term. The Stevenage man has played every minute of Cobh’s fifteen league matches and his reflexes and defensive organisation have played no small part in Cobh’s meagre goals against column.

 

Surprise star player: Karl Caulfield

The experienced 31-year-old re-joined Ramblers at the beginning of the current season. The former Avondale United and Kilreen Celtic Munster Senior League player has been a revelation on his return to the First Division, making ten appearances and weighing in with two vital goals from midfield. Caulfield’s stunning lob away to Shelbourne was another stand out moment of Ramblers season, sending the Cobh men briefly to the top of the table at the start of May.

 

Young player: Matthew Whelan

A product of the club’s under-19 setup, Whelan has played an isolated role up front in many of Ramblers’ games this season. It’s role he’s filled to good effect, netting the breakthrough score in the home game against Cabinteely and a vital winner away to Wexford, in addition to that memorable goal in Belfield.

 

Star signing: Craig Donnellan

The 21-year-old ex-Cork City midfielder signed permanently for Ramblers this season after a successful loan spell at St. Colman’s Park in 2016. He has added purpose and creativity to the Ramblers engine room, linking well with club captain Chris McCarthy who has been filling a defensive midfielder role.

 

What they need to do in the transfer market

Cobh’s options will probably be limited and Stephen Henderson is undoubtedly largely happy with his squad, particularly the attitude of his players. Ten of Ramblers' 21-strong senior squad have come through the club’s underage academy sides and that trend is likely to continue.

 

Where we see them finishing

Waterford will, in all probability, ultimately, have more strength in depth but Ramblers will run them close for that single spot in the 2018 Premier Division.


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John Manning

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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