Matchday 3 in the SSE Airtricity League First Division sees Shelbourne make the journey south to St. Colman’s Park to take on Cobh Ramblers with an earlier than usual kick off time of 4pm. Ramblers have made an impressive start to the campaign taking four points from six whilst Owen Heary’s men have only taken one point from their opening two fixtures and arrive in East Cork on the back of a 4-0 reversal in Belfield against UCD last weekend.
Ramblers buoyant from last week’s success at the City Calling Stadium where they defeated Alan Mathews’ Longford Town by three goals to one will be looking to register their first home win this weekend. Stephen Henderson’s men began the season with a one all draw at home to Wexford FC conceding in the 90th minute in somewhat controversial circumstances and followed up with last week’s emphatic victory in the midlands.
Speaking to the club website during the week, Henderson was delighted with last weekend’s performance and emphasized that it was a team effort that secured the result:
"The lads were fantastic, the back four, the middle three, the front three, Paul Hunt in goal, they were all brilliant.
"After the match I walked into the dressing room area and heard a row, I thought it might have been the Longford team but it was our lads, they were that disappointed at conceding a late goal! Which shows you the passion of this group of players."
Henderson is wary of the threat Saturday’s visitors pose despite their heavy defeat last weekend and is expecting the Tolka Park based outfit to arrive in Cobh eager to make amend for a poor start
"People were surprised that UCD beat them, but I wasn't, UCD have the pick of some of the best players in the country so they're always going to be a good side. The four nil scoreline is what I was surprised at, so Shelbourne are going to be looking for a reaction.
"But that's fine, as long as we do our jobs we'll be ok. Shelbourne are still definitely one of the favorites for the league title. It was a poor game they had last weekend, and they'll come down to St Colman's Park and try to rectify that.
"We look forward to that challenge. For us, I don't want to replicate the performance level from the Longford game. I want to go one better. We have to look at it and say, 'that's a fabulous performance, but how can we improve on it?'
"We're going to be a good side this year in a league full of good sides. We have set our standards, but what I want to know is can we improve on that week on week over the course of the season? We're not going to rest on our laurels, we still have work to do."
Cobh’s young side were much the better team in Longford last weekend against the preseason title favorites and some clinical attacking football on the break saw them unlock the Longford rearguard. Ramblers will take confidence in the fact that last night Longford dispatched early season leaders Athlone Town 3-0 at Lisseywollen and know that despite a lack of budget have the quality in their squad to compete at the business end of this most competitive of divisions
After a positive opening night where they held Longford Town scoreless at home in Tolka Park in an entertaining game, Owen Heary’s men suffered a heavy four nil defeat last weekend in Belfield against UCD.
“Absolutely disgraceful” is how manager Owen Heary described Shelbourne’ s performance against UCD, going on to remark “the first half performance was the poorest I’ve seen us play – no work rate, no desire – four goals down within 30 minutes is not acceptable.”
Having made two substitutions after 25 minutes, Heary stated that he could have substituted more and that the two substitutes, Aaron Ashe and Dayle Rooney “gave more energy, more purpose, they worked hard, they chased down, they closed down – even with the ten men [after Jack Tuite had been red carded], I thought we played better than we did with the starting eleven”.
On Saturday’s game against Cobh, the manager commented “Hopefully, and I expect, we’ll get a positive response in Cobh. “
With Jack Tuite serving a suspension following his red card at UCD last weekend, manager Owen Heary will see his squad stretched to its limits with Dylan Kavanagh, James O’Brien and Chris Lyons (all of whom missed the UCD game) joined in the stands by James English and Adam O’Connor who received injuries in that game.
Referee: Eoghan O’Shea
Since Shelbourne were relegated to the First Division for the 2007 season the two clubs have met sixteen times with Shels victorious on four occasions compared to Cobh’s five. None of Shelbourne’ s victories have occurred in St. Colman’s Park.
Cobhman John O’Rourke who won two FAI cup medals with Shelbourne in 1996 and 1997 represented Ramblers as both a player and manager.
Cobh 29/20; Draw 23/10; Shelbourne 9/4
Cobh Ramblers 2-1 Shelbourne
Injured: Ryan Hogan (back), Cian Kingston (hamstring), Darren Murphy (ankle
Injured: James O’Brien, Dylan Kavanagh, Chris Lyons, James English, Adam O’Connor
Suspended: Jack Tuite