Cobh Ramblers U19s could make history on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Athlone Town for their Tier 2 encounter. The Rams are currently seven points clear of Treaty United at the top of the division and know that a win in Lissywoolen will be enough to bring home the title.
The side, managed by Zoran Teodorovic, have had a hugely impressive 2022 campaign and are yet to lose a game having played 15 to date in the league. The division has seen the Rams face strong academy teams, with Bray, Drogheda, Finn Harps and Derry among the clubs below Cobh in the table.
Dunmanway native Zoran has been ably assisted by a backroom staff of club stalwart Damien Rowe, Noel Cantwell, Shane Fitzgerald, Brendan Cronin and Seamus Forde this year along with academy director Ivan Bevan. Zoran is also responsible for the impeccable standard of handwriting on the U19 teamsheets this year, something which has not gone unnoticed on social media.
The re-designed U19 league this year saw Ramblers enter Tier 2 after narrowly missing out on Tier 1 qualification earlier in the season. Since then the side took full flight, scoring 40 goals and only conceding 13.
Some of this side have seen senior action already this year. Gavin Ryan, Darragh Burke, Justin Eguaibor and Michael McCarthy are well-accustomed to the first team set-up while David Eguaibor, Liam Hopkins, Luka le Bervet Bardsley and Tiernan O’Brien have all made their first team bows over the course of the season. Recent additions have bolstered the squad with Daniel Apantaku coming from Carrigaline, Adrien Thiabaut joining from Douglas Hall and Ringmahon’s Jack Dennehy arriving in the summer. There also some academy veterans in the side, Lee Kelly-Obi and Eric Nolan are among those who have been with Ramblers since U15 level.
Adding to their excellent season is the small matter of an upcoming Enda McGuill Cup semi-final against Bohemians, the trophy Ramblers won in 2014.
Speaking ahead of the game, manager Zoran Teodorovic had this to say,
“We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the season. The hard work on and off the pitch is why we are at this stage. There is a hugely positive atmosphere in the squad, even with the competition for places being tougher than ever.
It’s no secret that we can win the league away to Athlone and our focus is fully on that, but we have three league games and a Cup semi-final left. Every game is important so that we can reach the targets we set.
We have a really talented group of players with bright futures ahead. Playing in important games like this is a reflection of that and hopefully we can go all the way.”
Athlone brings special memories for Ramblers fans and Sunday could see the midlands town host another claret and blue celebration. Goalkeeper Darragh Burke is one player who will be all to familiar with the venue, his father Darragh was a part of the Ramblers side who won the First Division there back in 2007.
It would be fitting for the Rams to take home another trophy in our centenary year and all at the club wish the U19s the very best on Sunday. Kick-off in Lissywoolen is at 13:00.
Cobh Ramblers U19 Squad 2022: Darragh Burke, Gavin Ryan, Glenn Towler, Justin Eguaibor, Dan Ryan (C), Daniel Apantaku, Jack Dennehy, Michael McCarthy, Luca le Bervet Bardsley, Ben Buckley, Eric Nolan, Lee Kelly-Obi, Liam Hopkins, Deo Munza, David Eguaibor, John Fitzgerald, Tiernan O’Brien, Adrien Thiabaut, Jack Dennehy, Shane O’Neill, Craig Doherty, Eoghan O’Sullivan, Jack Dawson.