The first Munster Derby in St Colman’s Park of 2023 should be another thriller as Waterford make the trip along the South coast to Cobh. Both sides come into the tie on the back of home wins last weekend. The Rams saw off Bray Wanderers 2-1, climbing up to second place in the process. Waterford meanwhile saw an immediate boost from new manager Keith Long’s arrival with a prolific 7-1 win over Finn Harps in the RSC as they moved up to fourth.
The Blues won all four meetings between the pair in 2022 and Ramblers’ last win in this tie was a 2019 Munster Senior Cup clash. Cobh’s last league win over the Déise was two years prior to that in 2017, a year where Waterford took home the First Division title in impressive fashion.
As mentioned above the visitors have a new man at the helm in ex-Bohemians and Athlone manager Keith Long. Alongside Long is his newly appointed assistant Alan Reynolds who returns to the club from Derry City where he was number two to Ruaidhrí Higgins.
A number of Rams will come up against their former club, with Callum Stringer and Cian Browne two recent graduates of the Blues’ underage set-up. Liam Kervick is ineligible as part of his loan agreement this season from Waterford while Jack Doherty is another former Blue who spent time at the RSC.
Rams boss Shane Keegan gave his thoughts on the tie earlier this week,
“Firstly I’d like to thank the supporters for their tremendous support last week in a very tough game. It certainly helps in a tight game when you have that twelfth man and there’s no doubt that it helped get us over the line against Bray. The interaction between the supporters and the players and the end of the game showed how much it meant to us all.
As tough as last week was, this week will be even tougher. For some reason that didn’t click for them at the start of this year but what a management team they have in place now with Keith Long and Alan Reynolds. Any LOI Premier side would be delighted to have them on board and it’s incredible for First Division standard. I know them both well and they are some of the best coaches in the country. Last week they scored seven goals but we’re in a good place ourselves and looking forward to the challenge.
It’s hard to believe that the first series of games is nearly over. We’re ahead of the curve in terms of where we planned to be. It’s very early days but we’re delighted with where things are and let’s see if we can come up with another positive result.”
Cobh and Waterford have produced some terrific battles over the year and while last year’s meetings tended to be tamer affairs there’s no doubt that this tie will see both sides pushed all the way in the search for points.
Kick-off is at 19:45 with the game being streamed live on LOITV.