Cobh Ramblers went one step further towards the promised play-off land after defeating Cabinteely in St. Colman’s Park tonight in the SSE Airtricity First Division.
In front of the largest home crowd of the season; Eoin McGreevy gave them a lead in the opening half that they never looked like losing despite the visitors’ best efforts. Second half goals from Shane O’Connor and a first senior goal from Matthew Whelan was enough to give them the victory.
Cobh Ramblers nearly had a perfect weekend with regard to other results going their way with Drogheda United losing to Limerick 2-0 earlier in the evening, but third placed UCD had a last minute winner against Shelbourne on Friday to keep them very much in the promotion hunt.
Yet luckily for Ramblers, both of those sides will be facing each other next Friday night meaning one of the teams will be unable to reach the magical 50 point margin that Cobh can attain next Friday night against Athlone Town.
Stephen Henderson was forced into two changes from the side that defeated Limerick 2-0 last week with Ian Mylod suspended and Ben O’Riordan injured. Both were replaced by Stephen Christopher and Anthony O’Donnell respectively.
Cabinteely on their final away game of the season and two points above last placed Athlone Town knew they were going to be in for a tough night in County Cork from the off as the home side bossed the possession stakes.
However they failed to do much in the way of attacking plays save for a few shots from Shane O’Connor and Craig Donnellan that went wide of Jack Menton’s goal.
But after much pressing, Ramblers finally made the breakthrough following a cross into the box by Garry Comerford which bounced around the area before being bundled in over the line.
Just before the break Njibola Sule saw a deflected shot saved by Hunt just before the interval.
Ramblers knew another goal would aid their cause considerably and they got one on 48 minutes. A ball over the top from Anthony O’Donnell found Rob Lehane and the former Cork City striker turned his man inside and out before dribbling along the end line to pass to O’Connor who poked home from close range.
Ben Hanrahan, scorer of a goal in Cabinteely’s defeat of Drogheda United last week, saw a looping header tipped out for a corner.
The home support was in a buoyant mood and demanded another goal and this wish was rewarded on 80 minutes. Recent signing Matthew Whelan, who has scored eight goals in his last six U19 appearances, finished off a Anthony O’Donnell cross with a bullet header.
The rest of the game petered out with Cabinteely having a few half chances but it wasn’t going to make any difference to the home side who will now think of another famous night in Athlone next Friday as they seek to return to Premier Division football.
Cobh Ramblers: Paul Hunt; Charlie Fleming, Kevin Mulcahy, Christopher McCarthy, Anthony O’Donnell; Stephen Christopher, Craig Donnellan (Darren Murphy 85), Garry Comerford, Eoin McGreevy (Matthew Whelan 72); Shane O’Connor, Rob Lehane (Connor Ellis 67).
Subs not used: Jonathan Creamer, Cian Kingston, James McSweeney.
Yellow Cards: Christopher McCarthy (76).
Cabinteely: Jack Menton; Adam Maher Victor Ekanem (Jamie Broderick 82), Christian Lotefa, Andrew McGovern; Njibola Sule (Shane Boyle 62), Aaron Brilly, Oscar Brennan, Paul Fox (Oliver Hamzat 68); Ben Hanrahan, Joseph Doyle.
Subs not used: Karl Byrne, Ryan Byrne, Michael Kelly.
Yellow Cards: Adam Maher (71), Ben Hanrahan (76) Oscar Brennan (90+3).
Referee: Thomas Dempsey
Extratime.ie Man of the match: Garry Comerford (Cobh Ramblers)