Thomas Stafford talks to Cobh Ramblers u17 top goalscorer Peter Callanan


Whilst the focus of late has been on Cobh’s senior side and their play-off ambitions, the club’s u17 side have quietly put together a noticeable run of their own and are unbeaten in their last five games. Currently sitting fifth in the league table, goal difference is all that separates them and Shamrock Rovers who occupy the fourth and final play-off position. A 1-0 win at Bray Wanderers last time out has put some breathing space between the Rams and sixth place Wanderers.

The goalscorer on that occasion was Peter Callanan, the Bandon native notching up his seventh of the campaign. Callanan is the side’s top scorer on seven goals and is loving life in his first season at St Colman’s Park, I have to say that I’m delighted with it so far. I’m scoring goals and the team is winning games so I can’t complain. We’re only just past the halfway mark in the season and I hope that there are many more goals to come!. I do feel that I have more to offer.”

As previously mentioned, this is Peter’s first season with Cobh, having joined from Cork City’s u17 setup before the 2016 season commenced. New manager Ethan McCarthy had only just taken the helm at the time and Peter was eager to get involved,  ” I first got involved with the club in the off-season when I was approached by Ethan to join his project here . After a couple of meetings with him, I was impressed with his energy, his drive and definitely his enthusiasm. It didn’t take long to make up my mind and I couldn’t wait to get started.” 

Having experienced both of the county’s League of Ireland clubs, Cobh and Cork City, Peter has noticed numerous similarities between the two clubs, “The two clubs are playing in the same league , playing against the same teams week in week out so you expect thing to be quite similar . I’m playing with many of players that I played with on the Cork Schoolboys’ League team from a few years back . The training is no different at Cobh, every session is of very high standard. You expect that at this level.”

With Peter residing in Bandon, there is an extra commitment required in terms of travel time, compared to the rest of the squad. He isn’t one to complain however and has ways to make it easier, ” I’m lucky in that I am not the only player coming from West Cork. Myself and Rueben Henry (from Clonakilty) share a lot of the spins so it isn’t too bad. However, I do have to acknowledge the dedication of my mother in bringing me to training and to all of the home games.”

The side have really come into their own of late with wins over Wexford, Kerry, Cabinteely and most recently Bray. Their last defeat was in early May at home to rivals Cork City and it’s evident that their results are on an upward trend. “The team has started to gel recently and the  players are now getting used to each-other in games. We know what the player on the ball will do and where the players off the ball will be. A lot of the squad was new this season and it just took some time to get to this stage. The coaching and mentoring that we get from Ethan and Len (Walker) has helped us to progress. When the positive results did start to come, we started to get a lift and we then played matches knowing that we were good enough to win. That was a real confidence boost that just took a bit of time to come.”

The seventeen year old is pleased with the season so far  but knows that more hard work is required to achieve his, and the team’s overall, aims. “We are on a good run now but there’s still a long way to go. I want to continue to score and win games with Cobh. The aim this season was a top four finish and reach the play-offs. We’ve shown so far that we can achieve that as long as we continue to push ourselves and keep winning games. On a personal level, I want to keep scoring and providing goals. I’m taking on advice from Ethan and Len to make me a better all-round player and they are great to learn from.”

West Cork football may seem like quite a distance from Cobh but increasingly,  footballers from the West of the county are making their mark on a national stage. Barnsley’s Conor Hourihane is a fellow Bandon man whilst Connor Ellis at Cork City is a Kealkill native. Peter acknowledges this and is appreciative of the excellent coaching in the region, “The coaching that I first received at Bandon was of a very high standard and shaped me as a player. The coaching in the region is very impressive and only getting better. West Cork players are now getting more exposure by being drafted in by both Cobh and Cork City . We are playing with and against the best players from every county in the country and that is a testament to the coaching in West Cork.”

Lastly, Peter was eager to add in his own praise about Ramblers as a club and how they welcomed him since day one, “The  family feeling at the club is second to none and has helped me to settle in very easily. Vice- chairman, Bob Donovan travels to almost all of our away games and is in attendance at all of our home games. The first team manager Stephen Henderson attends when he can and is constantly keeping up to date with our results and performances. It’s not something that happens everywhere and it means a lot to young players.”

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.