Athlone 0-2 Cobh Ramblers


On another memorable night in Athlone, Cobh Ramblers secured a First Division play-off place thanks to a well-deserved 2-0 win. Goals in each half from Rob Lehane and substitute Matthew Whelan earned Cobh the necessary three points in front of a fantastic contingent of away supporters.

With Garry Comerford and Charlie Fleming suspended, manager Stephen Henderson was forced to make two changes from the side that defeated Cabinteely last time out. Darren Murphy came into midfield while Ian Mylod returned from his suspension to occupy the right side of the back four.

The Rams opened the fixture in dominant form and Eoin McGreevy was first to try his luck as his long range effort left the Athlone keeper stranded but it rocketed off the post. Stephen Christopher had another chance when he was played in on goal but his effort was straight at Jamie Quinn. Cobh continued to press with Lehane having a headed effort cannon off the crossbar, while Craig Donnelan had a superb 35 yard drive parried away from goal. The opening goal came on 25 minutes when Stephen Christopher made an excellent run to the byline on the right before cutting the ball back for Lehane who rocketed a first time effort into the roof of the net. It was Lehane again who almost doubled Cobh’s lead when he narrowly volleyed over Ian Mylod’s cross. Ramblers went in 1-0 up at the break after a half that they truly dominated.

The second period was a much closer affair to Athlone’s credit on a night where the tough conditions made it difficult for both sides . Jason Lyons and Cormac Raftery in particular caused trouble for Cobh who didn’t look as assured as their first half display. Cian Kingston and Connor Ellis were both introduced midway through the half in an effort to change the path of the game. There were few real chances in the second half but the Rams secured the victory on 87 minutes thanks to substitute Matthew Whelan. A fantastic cross into the box was met by the unmarked teenager and he powered a header into the top corner from six yards to the absolute delight of the visiting fans. It was a second goal in two games for the Ballincollig striker who was only making is third senior appearance. The game petered out after that and it was clear that the three points had been delivered.

Matthew Whelan with chairman Bob Donovan after the game
Matthew Whelan with chairman Bob Donovan after the game

A mixture of joy and relief arrived upon the final whistle and as the Cobh fans made to the field to celebrate, the reality of the situation sunk in. Not 18 months after being on the brink of existence, Cobh Ramblers had secured a play-off spot. Countless heroic displays on the pitch, matched with flawless dedication by the volunteers in the background , earned this feat for the club. With Drogheda United defeating UCD 2-1 on the same night, the First Division play-off will be a shootout between the claret and blue of Cork and Louth. Cobh host Drogheda next Saturday the 22nd of October at 19:15 in the First Leg. The Second leg will take place on Friday the 28th of October in United Park.

Cobh Ramblers: Paul Hunt, Ian Mylod, Kevin Mulcahy, Chris McCarthy, Anthony O’Donnell, Stephen Christopher, Craig Donnelan, Darren Murphy (Cian Kingston 65), Shane O’Connor, Eoin McGreevy (Connor Ellis 65), Rob Lehane (Matthew Whelan 81).

Substitutes: Jonathan Creamer, Kyle McNamara, James McSweeney.

Cobh Ramblers FC

Cobh Ramblers Football Club is an Irish football club. The club, founded in 1922 and elected to the League of Ireland in 1985, hails from Cobh, County Cork and play their home matches at St. Colman's Park. The club's colours are claret and blue.