Matthew Lambe 90' -
Cobh Ramblers welcome title-chasing Shelbourne to St Colman’s Park on Saturday evening looking to throw a spanner in the works of the Reds league ambitions (kick-off is at 7pm).
Ramblers return to home comforts after a vital 4-3 win away to Munster rivals Limerick at the Markets Field last time out.
The game will also see the return of former Cobh duo Denzil Fernandes and Jaze Kabia to St Colman’s Park.
Speaking ahead of the game with his club’s media team, manager Stuart Ashton is looking forward to the challenge the visitors pose to his young side.
“We’re coming into this on the back of a good performance in Limerick and the lads are well up for it. Shelbourne are a top side, they’re ahead in the league for a reason.
“But we’ve beaten them at home already this season and St Colman’s is always a tough place for away sides.
“Jaze and Denzil are good players, but it doesn’t change anything for us. We’re out there to win regardless of who we’re against and that’s the main thing.”
Ashton will be without midfielder Greg Henry who is unavailable while there are also doubts over the fitness of both Cian Leonard and James McSweeney.
Under-19 players Mikey Foley, Andrew Cronin, Ben Healy and Conor Walsh are all likely to be involved in the squad once more ahead of the visit of the Reds.
With their eyes firmly fixated on the First Division title, Shelbourne will be hoping they will overcome the latest hurdle of their march towards the Premier Division.
Having seen off Wexford in emphatic fashion last week, the Reds know that they only need eight more points to see them clinch the First Division title.
With excitement growing around Tolka Park, Shels boss Ian Morris insists that his side are very focused ahead of their trip to the Co. Cork venue.
“I was really pleased how we trained this week, knowing the big task ahead of us down there,” Morris said.
“Their manager Stuart (Ashton) has put his stamp on the team, going down to Limerick, and performing really well. They’ll look to maintain that form.
“The players have been really focused, and we’ll be looking to bring that into the game and form a game plan and continue what we’ve been doing,” Morris added.
Morris is also hoping a fervent Shelbourne support can help send his side on their way to another big win in their quest for the title.
“It’s fantastic. You could see how Denzil (Fernandes) sampled the atmosphere after the Wexford game along with the rest of the group.
“The scenes like that after the game get the players excited along with the growing travelling support.”
Aidan Friel has returned to training while Darragh Noone and John Ross Wilson both miss out through injury.
Daniel Byrne is rated doubtful and will face a late fitness test ahead of the game against Cobh Ramblers.
Referee: David Dunne.
Shelbourne were defeated on their previous visit to St Colman’s Park, falling to a sobering two-goal loss against Cobh Ramblers.
Ciaran Kilduff is Shelbourne’s top scorer this season, with 11 goals to his name. Ryan Brennan is second in the Reds scoring charts with six to his name.
Former Cobh duo Denzil Fernandes and Jaze Kabia scored a combined total of 14 goals so far this season, with 11 coming for their former employers.
Cobh Ramblers 5/1; Draw 7/2; Shelbourne 4/11.
Cobh Ramblers 0 - 2 Shelbourne
Injured: Greg Henry.
Doubtful: Cian Leonard, James McSweeney.
Injured: John Ross Wilson, Darragh Noone.
Doubtful: Daniel Byrne.