(Image from http://www.cobhramblers.ie)
COBH RAMBERS V LONGFORD TOWN – SSE AIRTRCITY LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION
Despite the long journey ahead and memories of a humiliating 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Saturday’s opposition still fresh in Longford minds, ”De Town” head south looking to extend their current unbeaten run to five games in all competitions. There have been some unforgettable meetings at St.Colman’s Park between Cobh Ramblers and Longford Town in recent years and with both sides in an immediate hurry to make up lost ground on current leaders Waterford FC, this could turn out to be yet another goal-fest by the sea.
Speaking to Between the Stripes ahead of Saturday’s game, Cobh boss Stephen Henderson spoke of his expectations for another tough test against a strong Longford side:
”We are expecting a really tough game this week. Longford are on a good run of results and showing the form we all expected from them. We are on the back of a great win in Wexford and confidence within our group is high. My lads love playing in these games against tough opposition as we use it to gauge how far we have come and where we need to go. I have a lot of respect for Alan (Mathews), Gaz (Gary Cronin) and Kevin (Doherty) so I’m looking forward to this battle on Saturday against the lads.”
Longford will make the gruelling trip to Cobh minus the services of Don Cowan, Jake Kelly and all-time leading goal-scorer Davy O’Sullivan. Despite the absence of three key attacking outlets, the Midlands side managed to score five times in back to back meetings with Shelbourne during the week, as Enda Curran stared in the 3-1 league win at City Calling Stadium on Saturday last.
Having failed to score in any competition or even pre-season for his new club, Curran was clearly a relieved man to break his duck against the ”Reds” and the former Galway man may thrive in the lone striker position while usual star man O’Sullivan sits out with a groin strain. Should Curran’s good form continue, it may leave Alan Mathews with a headache in terms of how to utilise both Curran and O’Sullivan to the best in a system based around one-striker.
However, a win on Saturday is required first and this next few weeks could in fact be highlighted as a crucial spell for the ”Red and Black” who play Athlone Town (H), Cabinteely (A) and UCD (H) prior to a trip to face title favourites Waterford at the RSC. Should Longford claim maximum points in those three games leading up to the battle against Pat Fenlon’s ”Blues” it could prove to be the biggest game in what has been a totally unpredictable division so far!