PREVIEW | Enda McGuill Cup Semi-Final 2017

Cobh Ramblers v Dundalk FC

Enda McGuill Cup Semi-Final 2017

All-Ireland semi-finals don’t come around too often so this Wednesday night’s clash at St Colman’s Park is sure to be an exciting affair. Cobh have reached the last four of the competition for the first time since 2014, a year they went all the way under boss Martin Cambridge. This year’s squad of u19’s have been highly impressive under head coach Dec Coleman, currently sitting in second place in the league, a play-off berth almost guaranteed.

A bye in the first round saw Ramblers begin the tournament in Round 2, defeating rivals Waterford 3-1. A trip to Northern Division leaders Bohemians followed in the quarter-finals and a 3-2 win after extra time was secured. Early goals from Dean Swords and Ryan O’Regan had the Rams 2-0 up but a Bohs comeback forced the game to extra-time. Defender Gordon Walker was the man who grabbed the winner, putting Cobh into the final four.

Gordon Walker
Gordon Walker

Ramblers come into the tie in a rich vein of form. Recent wins over Cork City and Cabinteely as well as a draw with Limerick have boosted the young side’s confidence. Dundalk similarly are in flying form recently. The Lilywhites have scored 12 goals in three games, including a 5-1 thumping of Drogheda in the quarter-final. They occupy the final play-off spot in the Northern Division and haven’t lost a game since May (4-2 v Bohemians). Top scorer Jack O’Keeffe and senior player Carlton Ubaezuono are two players to certainly keep tabs on.

The Rams have a number of recent arrivals in the squad with Cian Leonard, Darragh Lowth, Stephen O’Connor and Evan Murphy all impressing after recent moves. The club’s conveyor belt of youth is also present in this squad with u17 players Luke Quinn, Jaze Kabia and Cameron Harlson all recently making the step-up a grade. The side is bolstered by players with senior experience such as Dean Swords, Peter Callanan and Scott McCarthy and it’s clear that this Ramblers side are going places. Top scorer Dave Hurley is back firing on all cylinders after a recent spell on the sidelines while Ryan ‘Giggsy’ O’Regan has also regained fitness.

David Hurley
David Hurley

Cobh boss Dec Coleman is eagerly awaiting the tie and had this to say before the match, “At the start of the season we were targeting success in both the league and the cup so we’re happy to still be on course for that. While we are more concerned with players stepping up to the first team and being good enough for that, we would love to get some silverware along the way. Having a home tie gives us a good chance of reaching the final. We haven’t played Dundalk before and they are a bit of an unknown to us but we’ll still back ourselves to get the job done.”

Ramblers u19s v Wexford earlier this season. Photo: Steve Alfred

Kick-off on Wednesday night is at 19:30 in St Colman’s Park.

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.