Cobh Ramblers’ final game of the regular season sees Kerry make the trip to St Colman’s Park to close the curtain on their debut League of Ireland campaign. For the Rams however the season does not end here with a two-legged play-off against Wexford to come, at the very least. Shane Keegan will no doubt hope to avoid any injuries ahead of Tuesday’s trip to the South East and such a tight turn-around could see a number of fringe players feature.
The sides first met on the opening night of the season, with Cobh winning 2-0. A 5-1 home win followed on the Great Island before Kerry secured a point in a 2-2 draw in August’s most recent meeting at Mounthawk Park. Ryan Kelliher notched a brace that day and with ten goals to his name he’s certainly one to keep an eye on. Behind him, the talented Leo Gaxha has gained many suitors for the Kingdom in his number 10 role.
Kerry come into the tie on the back of a 1-1 draw at home to second place Waterford. That brought to an end a four game losing streak, while they have picked up just one win this year, away to fifth place Athlone. Ramblers drew 3-3 at Wexford last time out in a play-off rehearsal that secured third spot and a coveted home second-leg. Tiernan O’Brien and Issa Kargbo remain the sole absentees for the Rams ahead of the match.
Manager Shane Keegan gave his thoughts on the tie earlier this week,
“Before the play-offs begin I’d like to think that we can use tonight as a celebration of the season we’ve had to date. It’s mad to think all the way back to January when we spoke about our aims, we knew this group could achieve something, so it for to transpire as it has with third place sewn up is way beyond my wildest ambitions. It has been incredible. It’s been a squad effort. Players have risen to become the top man at various points. Luke Desmond early in the season, Liam Kervick stepping up when Jack was injured. Players like that have been the difference. It’s been incredibly enjoyable, as players and staff we’ve loved every single minute of it. We’ve been good far more often than we’ve been bad.
Regardless of how the play-offs go, tonight is a celebration of this year. Looking to the play-offs, two-legged affairs are a very different dynamic, it’s about making sure the game is still the balance when we bring the second leg back to St Colman’s next Saturday. Finally on Kerry, they’ve has a lot of impressive results of late including a draw with Waterford last week. Their first season at this level will stand to everyone in the club and I expect them to kick-on.”
While Ramblers will of course hope to pick up another win and the momentum that brings with it into Tuesday, the main aim this evening is leaving St Colman’s Park at 10pm with a clean bill of health. Kerry have never beaten Cobh at senior level and will see tonight as a chance to possibly catch a team with their eyes on another prize. With ex-Rams Sean McGrath, Martin Coughlan, Arthur Nganou and Kevin Williams in their ranks they’ll also seek to get one over on their past club.
It should make for an entertaining night nonetheless, an appetizer of sorts for the thrilling week to come.
Kick-off is at 19:45, with the game live on LOITV.
Match Sponsor – Garvey’s SuperValu Cobh