Cobh led the First Division table going in to last weekend’s series of matches but a surprise defeat away to Athlone Town, knocked them off the top position and ended a run of three straight league victories.
Manager Stephen Henderson described the 2-1 defeat as “a terrible day at the office” but the Rams go into this game in third place, still comfortably within the leading pack. But with no play-offs this season due to restructuring, Henderson knows that only first place will be good enough to achieve Premier Division football next year.
Cobh remain unbeaten at home in 2017 with wins against Athlone, UCD and Longford while draws against Wexford and Shelbourne have also been secured at St Colman’s Park. Nor have Ramblers ever lost to Cabinteely at this venue, conceding just one goal in the four league wins they have posted since Cabo’s entry in 2015.
This year, however, Pat Devlin has added steel to Cabinteely’s performances and the South County Dublin side will offer a genuine threat to Henderson’s team.
Cobh will have young central defenders Ben O’Riordan and James McSweeney available but will be without influential captain Chris McCarthy who is suspended. McCarthy heads the club’s goal-scoring charts with four, all of which came from the penalty spot. They will also be without fellow midfielder Karl Caulfield who is ruled out with a quad injury.
Cabinteely’s last encounter with Cobh saw them roll out a 4-1 hammering of the Cork side when they met at Stradbrook two months ago. The Dublin side were very impressive that night and will look for more of the same as they look for their first ever league win at St Colman’s Park.
Pat Devlin’s team lie fourth in the First Division table, just one place behind Cobh, but the six point gap between them means that a positive result on Friday night would be imperative if they hope to maintain their upwards progress.
Cabinteely’s recent form has stalled somewhat with all four of their last four league matches ending in a draw but they have lost just one of their last nine league matches. They have also lost just one of their five away matches to date, while their only away victory came against Longford two months ago.
Striker Joe Doyle and attacking midfielder Kieran Marty Waters have provided most of their goals this season, netting eight of the club’s fourteen league goals between them. At the other end, Devlin’s side have kept just one clean sheet away from home.
Referee: Pat Gleeson
The aggregate score in league games between these sides is 16-10 to Cobh Ramblers.
Cobh have won six of the nine league games between the teams, with Cabinteely winning twice.
Cobh have scored in all eleven of their league games in 2017, while Cabinteely have failed to find the net five times.
Cobh Ramblers 5/4; Draw 11/5; Cabinteely 21/10.
Cobh Ramblers 1-1 Cabinteely
Injured: Karl Caulfield, Cian Kingston.
Suspended: Chris McCarthy.
Doubtful: Victor Ekanem, Conor Keely.