With the EA Sports National Underage leagues well into the business stage of the season, let’s take a look at how the four Cobh Ramblers teams are progressing.
David O’Leary’s U14 side have had a superb first season at League of Ireland level. The Young Rams finished second in Group E of the original Group Phase, which ensured safe passage to the Elite Phase of the competition.
In this five team group the top four would progress to the league quarter-finals and wins over Cork City and Galway saw Ramblers pick up six points and finish fourth. This sets up a last-eight meeting with a strong Derry City side this Saturday, which will be played in Oriel Park. It is a huge occasion for these young players who we expect to see plenty more of in claret and blue.
In the Cup they lost out in Round 2 to rivals Cork City. A special mention to striker Devon Gibson who remains the top U14 scorer in the country and was recently called up to the Irish U15 training camp in Abbotstown.
After some impressive results in the initial Group Phase, our U15s then qualified for the Shield competition. The Rams then topped their Shield Group, going all four games unbeaten, to set up a quarter-final meeting with Klub Kildare this Sunday at 14:00 in St Colman’s Park.
John Forrest’s side are in flying form ahead of the tie against Kildare, who finished third in their own Shield group. The U15s narrowly lost on penalties to Treaty United in Round 2 of the Cup, in a game where Cobh goalkeeper Luca Fitzgerald scored late on to force extra-time.
After some mixed results in the Group Phase, our U17s really found form in the Shield of late. They sit top of the seven team group, with one game remaining, a derby with Cork City. Unbeaten in the five games to date, only the top two teams progress to the Shield semi-finals. For Ramblers a draw on Saturday would be enough to progress while a defeat would see Cobh progress if Galway fail to win against Wexford.
Saturday’s meeting in Bishopstown should make for an exciting derby and a thrilling end to this Shield group. Darren Dennehy’s side went out to St Pat’s in the quarter-final stage of the U17 Mark Farren Cup.
The club’s U19s began the season in superb form and finished third in their group to progress to the Elite phase. With a number of players such as Fionn Duggan, Luke Kennedy and Alex Hill heavily involved at senior level, the latter stages of season have proved more difficult in a very strong division. With four games to go, it is the league winners who are crowned champions and that is unfortunately beyond Cobh at this point. They travel to Shamrock Rovers this Sunday.
Several of our U17 squad have stepped up to boost the squad, with Colin Henderson, David Eguaibor and Luka le Bervet among those to impress at the higher age level. The U19s’ run in the Enda McGuill Cup ended at the hands of Cork City after extra-time at St Colman’s Park in Round 2.