Rams find form as Meade moves on

wexfordyouthspreviewCobh Ramblers got their season back on track with a morale-boosting 3-0 win over Wexford Youths at a sunny St.Colman’s Park on Saturday night.

Former Rambler Roy Keane watched on as a Conor Meade penalty gave Ramblers the lead after a closely fought first half with further goals from Bobbi Donoghue and a second for Meade rounding off the win in some style.

The attacking quartet of Martin Deady and Bobbi Donoghue on the wings and the strike pairing of Davin O’Neill and Meade were the crucial factor as Ramblers finally ended their barren spell in the league that saw them without a win in eight.

Sadly for Cobh it will be the last time that quartet appear together for this season at least, as Conor Meade leaves for Waterford United. Meade has made a massive contribution to the team this season with 12 league goals and numerous assists to his name and he was given a suitable send-off by the home support.

The win sees Ramblers move four points clear of basement side Salthill Devon and to within five points of Finn Harps who they face on Friday night in Finn Park.

Dave Hill brought Conor Meade back into the starting 11 after his recent suspension with Andrew Bhandarkar returning from injury and Cobh-born goalkeeper, Shane Hallahan picked between the sticks to make his league debut.

Ramblers started the game on the front foot and had the first effort on target when Bhandarkar flicked a ball into the box from the right but Conor Meade’s header from just inside the box was comfortably saved by Wexford keeper Graham Doyle.

Ramblers continued to threaten and in the seventh minute John Meade’s deep cross from the left was met at the far post by Bobbi Donoghue but his firm volley back across goal was well cleared.

Cobh then nearly shot themselves in the foot not once but twice, when first Hallahan played a short ball out to Brian Fitzgerald who was caught in possession but Brendan Frahill produced a superb block to  deny Graham Delaney, then James Carson lost the ball in a dangerous position but, luckily for the hosts, Craig Wall dragged his shot wide.

The next chance again fell to Wexford when striker Delaney had another clear sight of goal but Hallahan just managed to keep his clean sheet intact as he tipped the ball onto the crossbar and over.

After those narrow escapes, Ramblers recovered their composure well and could have twice taken the lead when a Bobbi Donoghue cross was well cleared by the visitors’ defence with Conor Meade lurking, then Carson was expertly denied by Graham Doyle after he won the ball on the edge of the box but he was unable to curl the ball around the Wexford keeper.

The all-important first goal arrived in the 34th minute when Conor Meade clipped a ball out to Davin O’Neill on the right and he cleverly backheeled the ball into the path of the onrushing Bobbi Donoghue who was bundled over just inside the box with the referee pointing to the spot.

Conor Meade confidently stroked the ball into the bottom right corner to give Ramblers the lead with his 11th league goal of the season.

A minute later, the sides were almost level but Hallahan produced an excellent point blank save to keep out Shane Nolan’s volley from inside the box, while at the other end Donoghue nearly extended the lead just before half-time but his cross shot from the right whistled past the far post.

Wexford came out for the second half determined to make amends but clear chances were proving hard to come by and Ramblers pace on the counter attack always looked dangerous.

And this pace proved key as Ramblers went two up in the 55th minute and it was quite an eventful sequence for Donoghue. First, the winger was booked for a poor challenge midway inside the Ramblers half and when the home defence cleared the resulting free-kick, O’Neill picked it up and played a marvellous through ball up the right hand side for Donoghue and he showed great pace and no lack of composure to race away and curl the ball past the despairing dive of Doyle.

The third arrived ten minutes later as Ramblers exposed the gaps in the visitors’ defence as Wexford pushed men forward to try and find a way back into the game. Cobh were deadly on the break, this time it was Martin Deady on the left as he unselfishly laid the ball back for Meade who was unable to finish but the ball trickled out to Donoghue on the right and he stood up a perfect cross to the backpost for Meade to nod home his second.

Ramblers could have added a fourth late on with O’Neill denied by a C.J Browne challenge and Martin Deady’s 30 yard free-kick tipped over but they’ll travel to Donegal on Friday full of confidence after an excellent home win.


Cobh Ramblers: Shane Hallahan, Sean O’Mahony, John Meade, Brian Fitzgerald, Brendan Frahill, James Carson(Jonathan Spillane,88), Martin Deady, Andrew Bhandarkar, Davin O’Neill, Conor Meade(Roy Kenny,82), Bobbi Donoghue(Kynan Rocks,82)

Unused subs: Adam Thompson Ian Long, Keith O’Flynn, Robert Birdsall

Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle(C), Craig McCabe, Jimmy Dermody, Gary Delaney(Caolan O’Gorman), Cj Browne, Thomas Croke, Craig Wall, Brian Nolan, Shane Nolan(Shane Clarke,79), Graham Delaney(Dean Broaders,79), Joey Mulcahy

Unused subs: Danny Fitzpatrick, Brandon O’Callaghan

Referee: Simon Rogers

Report by Sean Geary

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.