Ramblers are back in action this weekend after the mid-season break, hosting Europa League bound UCD at St Colman’s Park on Saturday. The Rams ended the first half of the campaign on a positive note with a win over Waterford United and a draw away to Shelbourne.
Stephen Henderson’s men have been decimated by injuries of late and that shows no signs of stopping soon. Peter White, Jonathan Creamer and goalkeeper David Browne remain absent with long-term injuries although Browne and White are nearing full fitness. Attackers Ryan Goldsmith, Ron Stanton and Rob Waters join them on the injury list, as do captain Kevin Mulcahy and midfielder David Curran. Influential midfield players Shane O’Connor and Stephen Kenny are ruled out through suspension. This has stretched the Cobh squad to its very limit ahead of the UCD game and the squad’s strength in depth will be truly tested once more.
On a brighter note, new signing Jason Abbott is available following his move from Munster Senior League side UCC. U19 player Stephen Christopher has also been added to the ranks this week after a fantastic year with Stephen Bermingham’s Young Rams. Recent arrival James Furlong looks set to make his home debut after a formidable performance against Shelbourne in Tolka Park last time out.
The visitors could be forgiven for having other things on their minds at present as they prepare for their Europa League bout with F91 Dudelange of Luxembourg. One of only two second division sides in the entire tournament, UCD qualified for the prestigious tournament as a result of finishing third in the Premier Division Fair Play Standings last year. Since Cork City and Dundalk had already qualified for European competition, the Students were awarded the place.
The sides have met twice this season, UCD winning 3-0 on the opening day before they played out a 1-1 draw at Belfield in April thanks to a Stephen Kenny penalty for Cobh.
Both sides envisage an attacking style of play and it should make for an entertaining display at St Colman’s Park. Kick-off on Saturday is at 7:45pm.