Friday night sees the First Division’s two in-form sides face each-other in what should make for an enthralling battle at the top end of the league table.
Back to back wins over Waterford and away to Athlone have Ramblers sitting in third, six points clear of the Midlands outfit and crucially ten points ahead of Wexford in sixth. Galway for their part are sitting pretty at the table summit, an impressive thirteen points ahead of Waterford. It’s been a season to remember so far for both of these stalwart League of Ireland clubs. The duo have met twice so far this season, Galway picking up maximum points in 2-0 and 1-0 victories. The ties were close however and Shane Keegan’s Cobh men will be going in with confidence at a level not seen in quite a while on the Great Island.
One man who won’t feature is on-loan Cobh sensation Wilson Waweru, who misses out against his parent club as part of his loan agreement. The 22 year old has notched three goals in his last four games, with all three being vital matchwinners. Jack Doherty is also out, having picked up a knock in the recent Waterford tie. New arrivals Alex Byrne and Matt McKevitt are in line to feature however.
The Tribesmen come into the game on the back of a 1-0 victory at home to bottom side Kerry. It’s a far cry from the 7-0 demolition of the same opposition earlier this season but a win is win nonetheless for a side who have now won all but two of their league outings in 2023. Former Ram Dave Hurley (right) is the Connacht outfit’s top scorer with twelve so far this year, seven of those coming from the penalty spot. American Vince Borden grabbed the winner when the sides last met at Eamonn Deacy Park and with eight goals now to his name, he’s another attacker that the Rams defence will have to fend off.
Manager Shane Keegan gave his thoughts on the game earlier this week,
“Galway are having a fantastic season and are deservedly well clear at the top of the table. They’ve excellent strength in depth across the pitch and John Caulfield is getting the most out of them. I
think with John and Galway it shows the rewards of giving a manager time and sticking with him. I’ve no doubt that he would succeed at Galway and he’s showing now that he’s knows how to get the job done. It’s a very tough task for us, it’s as hard a game as we’re going to get but we are in tremendous form ourselves and there’s no better time for us. Four wins on the bounce is more than I could have ever imagined
from those games given the opposition we faced.”
The value in last week’s win Athlone can be seen in that even defeat on Friday will see Cobh remain in third spot. A positive result however is well within reach for a squad who will certainly put it up to the league leaders.