Cobh Ramblers’ Stephen Henderson era ‘Part Two’ got off to a positive start on Saturday with a 1-0 victory at home to Cabinteely.
A solitary Rob Waters strike gave Ramblers the win, in what was the first ever meeting between the two sides.
Along with Henderson’s opening game in charge, the tie also saw Martin Cambridge return to the club as assistant manager as well as coach Shane Kavanagh. There was quite a large crowd in attendance for the anticipated clash, including plenty of south Dublin support for the visitors.
Henderson made a number of changes to the side as he looked to put his stamp on the team. There was a debut at left back for Kevin Mulcahy and a new midfield partnership saw Stephen Kenny and Shane O’Connor operate in the centre of the park.
Cobh started brightly and went close early on when Stephen Kenny’s cross was almost converted at the back post by Shane O’Connor. Cabinteely right back Daniel Campbell nearly produced a moment of magic soon after, when his effort from the halfway line sailed over David Browne and cannoned off the crossbar.
Ramblers continued to control the first half and debutant Mulcahy headed narrowly wide from a corner while Ryan Goldsmith shot wide after an impressive counter attack.
The hosts took the lead on 15 minutes. Steven McCarthy did well on the right and found Shane O’Connor in the box. His shot was well saved by Whelan but Rob Waters was on hand to tap the ball home to the joy of the home supporters.
Ryan Goldsmith, having just returned from Germany with the Irish under-19 squad, was a constant threat on the left hand side, and linked well with Mulcahy throughout. There were also impressive displays by Brendeán Frahill and Graham McCarthy. The Rams went in deservedly ahead at the break and it was a bright opening to the new regime.
Cabinteely came into the game in the second half and put it up to the home side. However, the game lost its quality somewhat with both sides unable to create any real chances. John McKeown and Shane O’Neill played well for the Dublin side but couldn’t find a way past the Cobh defence.
The closest chance came five minutes from time when a ‘Cabo’ free-kick wasn’t cleared and ricocheted off the Ramblers post. Cobh goalkeeper David Browne had a relatively quiet game but he produced a fantastic save in added time to palm away Evan Finnegan’s long-range effort.
That proved to be it at St Colman’s Park and the Rams held on for the three points. It was a first league win and a first clean sheet of 2015 for Cobh, who will hope their season can improve from here.
Whilst it was not a flawless performance, there were definitely positive signs from Cobh and it offers a platform to build on. Next up is the EA Sports Cup second round game with Munster Senior League side UCC, which takes place at 7:30pm on Tuesday in the Mardyke Arena.
As for Cabinteely, they will be disappointed not to leave with a point, given their second half showing, but they have already proven this season that they are not just there to make up the numbers. They are also in EA Sports Cup action this week, hosting giants Shamrock Rovers on Monday with a 7pm start in Stradbrook.
Cobh Ramblers: David Browne, Eoghan Murphy, Brendeán Frahill (C), Andrew Bhandarkar, Kevin Mulcahy, Graham McCarthy, Steven McCarthy (Jonathan Creamer 85), Stephen Kenny, Shane O’Connor, Ryan Goldsmith, Rob Waters (Ron Stanton 76)
Substitutes: Steven Hickey, David Curran, Adam O’Sullivan, Kynan Rocks, Audie Dunlea
Cabinteely FC: Evan Whelan, Daniel Campbell (Lloyd Cairns 76), Jamie McGlynn, Victor Ekanem, Robert Maloney (C), Evan Finnegan, Shane O’Neill, John McKeown, Gerard Pender, Jordan Buckley (Bobby Mazono 76), Kevin Knight
Substitutes: Connor Foley, Sean Hyland, Gavin Fahy, Tyrone McNelis, Aaron Brilly
Thomas Stafford, Pundit Arena