Munster rivals Waterford United and Cobh Ramblers meet for the first time this season on Friday night at the RSC.
Neither side have gotten off to a flying start this season and both will be looking at this derby as a chance or re-igniting their campaign.
Waterford come into the game on the back of a 2-0 loss to Cork City in the EA Sports Cup. It was a spirited performance by the Blues but City’s class showed in the end with goals from Rob Lehane and ex-Ram Ross Gaynor.
Waterford have a number of former Cobh players in their side with Craig Burns, Robert Birdsall and Anthony O’Donnell all featuring for the Rams last season. Prior to the Cork game, Waterford drew 2-2 at home to Shelbourne and a win here could see Tommy Griffin’s men climb to fourth in the table.
Cobh were also in EA Sports Cup action this week, losing 3-2 to UCC with ex-Ramblers defender Sean O’Mahony scoring a last minute winner.
Prior to that, the Rams earned their first win of the season beating Cabinteely 1-0, thanks to a Rob Waters strike. New manager Stephen Henderson is facing his former employers for the first time, having managed Waterford from 2009 to 2011 and three points at the RSC could see his side move up to sixth in the league.
Cobh remain without the suspended Darren Murphy Jnr., who enters the last game of his three-match suspension. Darren Murphy Snr. and Peter White remain out injured whilst Ross McCarthy is 2-3 weeks away from returning due to a knee-ligament injury. David Curran was forced off injured against UCC but should return to action this week.
This is Waterford ‘keeper Birdsall’s first time coming up against his former club and he’s relishing the tie,
“I’m really excited for tomorrow’s game. It’s definitely going to be a battle, as it is a Munster Derby. This is a new experience for me, facing Cobh, as I spent two years with them, signing for Dave Hill in 2013.
“Tomorrow is about putting three points on the board though. Memories and friendships will be put aside until after the game. I can’t wait for it.”
The sides met four time last year with Waterford winning both games at the RSC as well as two draws at St. Colman’s Park. Cobh’s last win over their Munster rivals was the final day of the 2013 season when Davin O’Neill’s double denied the south-east club from gaining a play-off spot.
Waterford head into the game as favourites but Ramblers are definitely improving under Stephen Henderson and they may well come home with at least a point. Both sides have a young squad with plenty of talent and it should make for an entertaining fixture at the Cork Road ground.
Injured: Ross McCarthy (knee-ligament), Darren Murphy Snr., Peter White
Doubtful: David Curran
Suspension: Darren Murphy Jnr.
Referee: Michael O’Connor
Assistants: Trevor Cotter, David Keeler
Fourth Official: Graham Kelly
Waterford 4/7; Draw 5/2; Cobh Ramblers 9/2
Thomas Stafford, Pundit Arena