It’s top versus bottom in the SSE Airtricity League First Division this week as leaders Longford Town host Cobh Ramblers at the City Calling Stadium on Saturday.
‘De Town’ are without a win in four league games and their lead at the top of the table has been cut to just one point over Shelbourne. Draws with Wexford, Shelbourne and Finn Harps along with a loss at home to Galway could prove costly as the title race goes right down to the wire. They lost the final of the Leinster Senior Cup Final against St Pat’s last time out and Tony Cousins’ men now have their eyes firmly set on league silverware come the end of the season.
Cobh have undergone a rejuvenation of late with four points from their last two fixtures. An impressive draw with Wexford Youths was followed by an excellent 1-0 win at home to Finn Harps. A recent 2-1 loss to Cork City in a friendly kept them ticking over during their week off and they will be rearing to get back into league action, they will be up against it though playing a classy Longford outfit.
The hosts will be without the experienced Pat Sullivan through suspension. Ramblers also have suspension worries with Rob Waters, Stephen Kenny and Ryan Goldsmith all unavailable. The loss of Waters particularly will be a big blow to the Cork side. To add to their woes Eoghan Murphy, Ron Stanton and Garry Comerford are all missing through injury.
Longford won the last meeting between the sides, a 3-0 win at St Colman’s Park in July. This season’s meetings haven’t emulated the unbelievable excitement of last year when the clubs played out two 4-3 thrillers at the Cork ground. David O’Sullivan is a striker that the Cobh defence know only too much about of late and it will be difficult to keep him off the scoresheet on Saturday.
Midfielder Alan O’Flynn is one of the Cobh players who has impressed in their recent good run of form and he had this to say ahead of the tie,
“We’re coming into the game on the back of a good win against Finn Harps. We’ll be travelling up to Longford on a high after recent results and we’re hoping to get something from the tie.”
On paper this looks like a straightforward win for the Midlands side but the Rams have a new lease of life at present and will make it difficult for the table-toppers.
The other games in the First Division this week see Wexford Youths host Waterford in the South-East derby, Shelbourne entertain Shamrock Rovers B and FAI Cup Semi-Finalists Finn Harps visit Galway FC.
Longford Town: Injured: Nobody Doubtful: Nobody Suspensions: Pat Sullivan
Cobh Ramblers:Injured: Eoghan Murphy, Ron Stanton, Garry Comerford;. Doubtful: Nodbody; Suspension: Rob Waters, Stephen Kenny, Ryan Goldsmith
Betting odds: (paddypower.com): Longford Town: 1/6 , Draw: 5/1 , Cobh Ramblers: 14/1
Venue: City Calling Stadium, Longford. Kick Off: 7:30pm, Saturday 20th September.
Thomas Stafford, Pundit Arena.