Athlone Town v Cobh Ramblers: Match Preview


With the final week of the regular First Division season upon us, Cobh Ramblers know that a win away to basement side Athlone Town will secure a play-off spot. Regardless of the outcome in the coinciding game between Drogheda United and UCD at United Park, three points against the Midlanders will give Cobh a place in the play-offs.

Ramblers come into the tie on the back of a fantastic run and are the form team in the division. Four wins on the trot has seen the club remarkably drag itself back into play-off contention. A 3-0 win over Cabinteely will be a further boost of confidence to a side who have scored eight goals in their last three outings. This is in stark contrast to Athlone, who have picked up four points from the last available 36 and lost 3-0 to fellow strugglers Waterford United last week.

In terms of meetings between the two sides, Cobh have won five of the last six. This year, a 2-2 draw in April at St Colman’s Park was followed by a 2-0 away win and a 2-1 victory at home for the Rams. Athlone have shown however that it is at home where they are more comfortable, securing eleven of their fourteen points this year in the familiar surroundings of Lissywoolen and this is something that Cobh must be wary of.

Ramblers will have to do without the suspended duo of Charlie Fleming and Garry Comerford who are sitting one game suspensions. On a brighter note, Ian Mylod returns from his suspension but Ben O’Riordan will miss out through injury. Jason Abbott also remains sidelined. Fresh from scoring his first senior goal last time out, Matthew Whelan is available once again following the conclusion of the u19 season.

Garry Comerford, who along with Charlie Fleming, is suspended for the tie
Garry Comerford, who along with Charlie Fleming, is suspended for the tie

Speaking on 98fm’s First Division Podcast earlier in the week, Rams boss Stephen Henderson looked ahead to the game, “If we win, we’re in. We’re in a situation where we have to go and win this match against an Athlone team who don’t want to finish bottom of the table. We know that it will be competitive as they have something to play for. Saying that, if Athlone play really well, and we play really well, we’ll win the match. We have 200 people coming to this match so that brings pressure but our lads love that. Playing in front of crowds seems to lift them and give them something extra in games. I want success for the players, for the supporters, for the volunteers working behind the scenes that do so much work. It would mean so much to look up at them after the match and just give them this win.”

Famous scenes on a previous night in Athlone as we won the 2007 First Division title.
Famous scenes on a previous night in Athlone as we won the 2007 First Division title.

As we all know, Athlone is a place that brings fond memories for Ramblers fans courtesy of Kevin Murray’s goal there in 2007 that won Cobh’s only ever First Division title. A repeat of that scoreline will do again this time around and Stephen Henderson will be hoping to leave in as happy a mood as that heroic night nine years ago.

By Thomas Stafford

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.