Enda McGuill FAI U19 Cup Final – Cobh Ramblers v Drogheda United

vDROGS600X400EndaMcGuill Cup Final – Cobh Ramblers v Drogheda United

The Cup final, the pinnacle of the domestic u19 game. It is a game players across the country want to win but only a coveted few have done so. This year will see a new name on the trophy as both Cobh and Drogheda are appearing in their first final appearance. Holders Cork City were knocked out by the Rams in the semi-final and this means that the cup is leaving Turner’s Cross. The final will be played at Cobh’s historical ground, St Colman’s Park.

Ramblers path to the final was no easy one. They were drawn at home to Limerick in their first round clash and defeated the Southern Division outfit 6-5 on penalties after the teams were locked at 1-1 after extra-time. St Colman’s Park also played host to their second round tie against UCD as a cracker from David O’Gorman late on put Cobh into the last eight. They faced Munster rivals Waterford United in the RSC in what must be one of the games of the tournament. With the teams drawing at 1-1 in extra-time, a brace from Danny Barry and a late Chris McCarthy strike gave the Rams a 4-2 win over their Waterford counterparts. This put the club into their first ever semi-final.

The semi-final win over Cork was when they really started to get noticed. Goals from Keith O’Flynn, Danny Barry and Rob Lynch gave them a 3-2 win over their rivals after extra time in front of a huge crowd at Carrigaline. This put the club into their first ever EndaMcGuill Cup final.

Drogheda though had a less straightforward path to the final. They defeated neighbours Dundalk 2-1 in the first round. They then beat MervueUnited 3-2 away in the second round. A quarter final win over Northern Division Derry followed and this put them into the semi-final. It was here that the situation got sticky. Shelbourne defeated Drogheda 3-1 in the game but it turned out that the Dubliners had played an inlegible player. Despite an appeal from Shelbourne, United were into their first ever final appearance.

And now to the game itself. With home advantage and a higher league position Cobh are seen as favourites going into the game. This is not a title they are used to as they were underdogs against Waterford and Cork in previous rounds. As everyone knows all labels go out the window in the cup and this is no exception.

It will be a last ever game at u19 level for many of the players. The likes of Keith O’Flynn, Sean O’Mahony, Dave Walsh and Cian Murphy have all given two years service to the team and it may well be an emotional farewell for them. Then you have players who will be finishing after just one season. Jonathan Creamer, Ryan Meany and Steven Hickey are just a few more who will have to finish playing in the u19 league. A lot of these though have already signed up for the senior side and their time at Cobh is by no means over.

One of the players that this game means the most to is captainKethO’Flynn. A Cobh local, he has played for the Rams since he was 6 and what a night it could be for him. He had this to say before the game.
“It’s by far the biggest game of my career so far. It’s going to be an amazing experience and hopefully a very good one. I can’t wait for it!Me and some of the other lads are finishing up with the u19s after this and we’re gutted that it’s going to be our last game. It’s my second year at it now and I’ve loved every bit of it. Hopefully if things go right on the night it will be a great ending to a great two years at u19 level.”
Both sides have two players suspended for the all important tie. Kelvin Thompson and Jonathan Creamer will miss out for the Rams while Drogheda are without the services of Sean O’Connor and Ryan Connor who were red carded in the semi-final with Shelbourne.

There is no doubt that it is a huge game for both sets of players, coaches and fans. Cup finals don’t come along too often and this game is to be cherished by all. There will be passion, excitement and emotion throughout but there will only be one winner. Whoever turns up better on the day will be lifting the prestigious trophy come Wednesday night. It’s going to be a tremendous occasion and hopefully the public will get out and see the talent that the young players have to offer. Whether the cup remains in Cork or heads up to Louth remains to be seen but one thing is for sure. This game is not to be missed!

Preview 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.