By Stephen Walsh at St Colman's Park
Cobh Ramblers kept up their slim chances of promotion by defeating Longford Town thanks to a goal in either half from Cian Leonard and Darren Murphy at St. Colmans Park on Saturday night.
The opening half was low on quality except for a superb free kick finished to the net by Leonard. The 17-year-old was making his second appearance for Cobh since signing from Cork City in July.
Longford dominated in the possession stakes but lacked a cutting going forward. Ramblers put the result beyond doubt on 66 minutes with Murphy finishing smartly to the net.
Cobh knew coming into the game that they would have to win to have any hope of catching Waterford at the top of the table.
Murphy had the game’s opening chance after less than 90 seconds firing over after a Kevin Taylor cross.
Taylor, another recent signing from Cork City, had an excellent game and was at the centre of all the attacking plays Cobh had on the night.
Longford had Dean Zambra in the defensive midfield role and the former Bray Wanderers man was passing the ball around his team but they failed to find any gaps in the Cobh rearguard.
On 27 minutes, Leonard fired a free kick over the wall into the top corner past the dive of Jack Brady to give the home side the lead.
Don Cowan had a half-chance for Longford, which he put wide, but they struggled to garner anything of note for the remainder of the half.
The second half continued in much the same vein with Longford dominating the possession stakes but threatened little with the ball going forward.
Ramblers were relying on the counter attack and they scored through one such attempt. Taylor found space in the middle of the pitch to dink the ball over the top to Murphy, who sidefooted the ball into the bottom corner.
Longford tried to get a goal to claw themselves back into the game but, despite having eight corners in the second half alone, they never looked like threatening Paul Hunt in the Cobh goal.
Next up for both sides are FAI Cup ties, with Cobh at home to Limerick while for Longford it is a home game against Sligo Rovers.
Cobh Ramblers: Paul Hunt; John Kavanagh, James McSweeney, Cian Kingston; Charlie Fleming, Cian Coleman, Craig Donnellan, Darren Murphy, Kevin Taylor; Karl Caulfield (Ian Mylod 72); Cian Leonard (Beineon O’Brien-Whitmarsh 78).
Subs not used: Michael Sadys, Chris McCarthy, Anthony O’Donnell, Kyle McNamara, Stephen Christopher.
Longford Town: Jack Brady; Paul Finnegan, Rhys Gorman (Gavin Boyne 69), Tristan Noack Hofmann; Dean Zambra; Aidan Friel (Peter Hopkins 85), Sam Verdon, Cody Mulhall (David O’Sullivan 63), Alan Kehoe; Karl Chambers, Don Cowan.
Subs not used: Paul Skinner, Jake Kelly, Cian Burns, Aodh Dervin.
Referee: Alan Carey.
Attendance: 400 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Kevin Taylor (Cobh Ramblers).