In an exclusive interview, Cobh Ramblers manager Stephen Henderson speaks to Brian Strahan about the season ahead.
Brian Strahan: How has your pre-season gone?
Stephen Henderson: Pre-season went very well. We did not play as many games as we would have liked due to the weather, but due to the fantastic attitude and flexibility of the players we got a lot of good work done that will stand to us as the season progresses.
BS: What are your aims for this season and is promotion possible?
SH: Anything in life is possible if you have the right attitude and commitment to attain the goals you set out. We are a young team but a very talented team. What we will find out over the months is do we have the mental capacity to be winners – if we have that, then yes promotion is not outside the realms of possibility.
BS: Who are the standout frontrunners in your mind?
SH: Limerick and UCD theoretically should finish in the top two spots based on the players and resources they have. Shelbourne and Drogheda will feel they should be in around there as well so it is fair to say the league will probably be the most competitive First Division we have seen in a number of years, which is great to be honest.
If any of those four take their eye off the ball then ourselves, Athlone, Waterford and Cabbo [Cabinteely FC] are good enough to upset the apple cart.
BS: Is there a Cobh player that you could see turning heads?
SH: We have a few lads but I have respect for all our players so naming one of them would be a little unfair. I’m just happy to have such a talented and hard working group to work with every week.
BS: Who do you think will win the Premier Division?
SH: I’ll go out on a limb and say Dundalk will do it again. Obviously Shamrock Rovers and Cork City are more than capable of winning the league but such are the standards this Dundalk team have set, I think they deserve a triple league success.
BS: Which players do you think will shine (in both divisions)?
SH: In our division we have a few lads at Cobh who I believe will answer that question for you themselves on the pitch. In the Premier Division Sean Maguire will be great.
BS: Is there anything in particular you would like to see having improved on from last season in terms of Cobh and then in terms of the league as a whole?
SH: There has been fantastic work done on and off the pitch in Cobh so I would love to see that continue. As far as the league goes its best I not say anything.
Brian Strahan, Pundit Arena