MATCH PREVIEW: Cobh Ramblers v Ringmahon Rangers


A first last-16 appearance in the FAI Cup since 2013 for Cobh Ramblers sees them travel to Turners Cross for an eagerly anticipated all-Cork clash with Ringmahon Rangers, newly promoted to the Munster Senior League Premier Division.

Cobh are in a good run of form of late, unbeaten in their last four games. The most recent of these was a 2-1 defeat of Athlone Town, thanks to a first senior goal from Charlie Fleming and a Connor Ellis penalty. A win for the Rams would see them reach the quarter-final stage for the first time since 2001, where they lost 1-0 to Waterford United in the last eight.

The aforementioned Fleming is suspended for Ramblers on Saturday while Craig Donnelan and Darren Murphy are both cup-tied, having previously played for Cork City and Waterford United respectively in the competition this year. Stephen Henderson has no injury worries to report however, with Shane O’Connor having completed his return from an ankle problem last week. Cobh defeated Dublin side Cherry Orchard 2-1 in the last round whilst Ringmahon beat Glebe North by the same scoreline to progress to the last sixteen.

There is a strong Cobh Ramblers connection in the Ringmahon camp, most evident in their manager Kieran O’Reilly. A First Division winner with the club in 2007, he was the league’s overall top scorer in 2005 with 17 goals and is a name synonymous with the club’s success in the mid 2000’s. He also had a spell as assistant coach to Dave Hill at Ramblers in 2013. Elsewhere, former Rams Roy Kenny and Eoghan Daly are also now playing with the Mahon based club.

A name to watch out for on Saturday is that of young Ringmahon forward Dean Swords. The son of manager O’Reilly, Swords was signed in the off-season from College Corinthians where he was playing senior football as well as youths. Rams boss Stephen Henderson has never been shy to express his fondness of the striker and was disappointed not to add him to his own side this summer. Cobh’s defenders will have to be on their guard to keep Swords at bay in Turners Cross if his past season is anything to go by.

The Munster Senior League come into the tie on the back of a solid pre-season. They won the recent Midleton tournament, coming up against Cobh Wanderers in the final, which has them in good shape for the eagerly anticipated tie.

At Thursday’s press conference, manager Stephen Henderson previewed the game, “It will be a tough game. I’ve watched them twice recently and you have to say that Kieran (O’Reilly) and his backroom team have done a brilliant job with them. I was very impressed with the way they played, with their fitness levels. It’s going to be a very good game. There will definitely be at least one Cork team in the quarter-finals and that is great for the region. A lot of really good work is being put into Cork football and it deserves that.’

Stephen also remarked on Thursday how some of his squad are being scouted by cross-channel clubs and further afield, “Two or three of them have stirred an interest from across the channel. We are looking to give our players the opportunity to further their careers. We are also in the process of linking up with some Italian clubs, there have been very positive responses from two clubs and we are in good dialogue with them. We don’t have to focus on getting Irish lads to England all of the time, those clubs are going out spending millions on players from all over the world. The talks with the Italian clubs are going well and it’s something different.”

Turning the focus back towards the FAI Cup, kick-off on Saturday is at 6pm in Turners Cross for what should be a thriller between two young and eager Cork sides.

Match 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.