Simon O'Gorman reports from Stradbrook Park
A single goal decided the match Cabinteely and Cobh Ramblers as Adam O’Sullivan’s first half header went in off the post to give Cobh their first win of the season at Stradbrook on Friday night.
There was a small crowd at a drizzly Stradbrook for this game between two sides chasing their first win of the season. But they were kept well-entertained in the opening half which saw both teams miss an early penalty.
Cobh centre back, Ben O’Riordan, handled Keith Dalton’s corner kick after just ten minutes but Kieran Marty Waters saw his spot kick saved by the visitors’ ‘keeper, Paul Hunt.
Five minutes later, at the other end, Darren Murphy suffered a similar fate when Stephen McGuinness tipped his spot kick onto the post after Karl Byrne had taken the legs from under Anthony McAlavey.
Gradually Cobh started to take control and they were rewarded on the half-hour mark when new signing O’Sullivan headed in at the back post from Murphy’s long free kick.
Cabinteely responded well, pressing forwards with some energy and, as Waters became more influential, they almost equalised on 39 minutes when the First Division’s Player of the Year for 2017 hit a low-struck shot inches wide of the Cobh goal with Hunt beaten.
After the restart it was all Cabinteely who exerted almost constant pressure on the Cobh defence as they fought to get back on level terms.
Jack Watson’s free on 50 minutes took a wicked deflection off the Cobh wall, beat Hunt, and then clattered off the underside of the bar before being cleared.
And just after the hour Joe Doyle had the ball in the Cobh net but the ref’s whistle had sounded well in advance for an infringement involving Conor Keely.
Cobh mustered the occasional foray into Cabinteely’s half but, apart from substitute Jaze Kabia’s effort that was pulled across the goalmouth and wide, everything else of note was generated by Cabinteely.
On 83 minutes they might have levelled when Hunt allowed Watson’s corner to slip from his hands but there was no Cabinteely player on hand to take advantage. Three minutes later the Cobh keeper made ammends with a terrific save from Paul Fox’s powerful header.
As time ticked away the pressure from the home team turned into a siege with a series of corners providing numerous half chances.
But Cobh stood firm, flinging themselves in the way of several goalbound efforts and managing, somehow, to keep their goal intact.
Four minutes of added time were spent entirely in the Cobh half but the whistle finally blew on Cabinteely’s efforts and they remain pointless after two matches while Stephen Henderson’s side now have four from a possible six.
Cabinteely: Stephen McGuinness; Karl Byrne, Conor Keely, Kevin Knight, Conor Earley; Keith Dalton (Kaleem Simon 65), Jack Watson, Christian Lotefa (Sean Bregazzi 78), Kieran Marty Waters; Stephen Ball (Paul Fox 72); Joe Doyle.
Subs Not Used: Finn McGowan (gk), Dean Casey, Aaron Robinson, Eoghan Morgan.
Bookings: Karl Byrne (15).
Cobh Ramblers: Paul Hunt; Pierce Phillips, Ben O’Riordan, Adam O’Sullivan; Charlie Fleming, Denzil Fernandes (David Hurley 65), Darren Murphy, Anthony McAlavey (Stephen Christopher 85), Ian Mylod; Andrew Wall (Jaze Kabia 78), Cian Leonard.
Subs Not Used: Adam Mylod (gk), Jack Lynch, Beneoin O’Brien Whitmarsh.
Referee: Adriano Reale.
Attendance: 150 (estimate).
Extratime Man of the Match: Ben O'Riordan (Cobh Ramblers).