League Preview: Shelbourne -v- Cobh Ramblers
- Harry Manning
- Thu, Mar 03 2016
Shelbourne’s number one priority this season will be to secure a return to the Premier Division for the first time since 2013. After finishing four points off UCD last year and subsequently finishing in 4th place and narrowly missing out on the Play-Off positions, Kevin Doherty has assembled an exciting squad blended with youth and experience which has the potential to ensure that this season is a memorable one for The Reds’ faithful.
Doherty has strengthened his squad with a number of exciting additions such as defenders Bobby O’Reilly from Drogheda United and Aidan Collins from Athlone Town while also bolstering his midfield with the signings of Gavin Boyne from Athlone, Lorcan Shannon from Longford Town alongside the double-loan signing of Cian Kavanagh and Dylan Kavanagh. UCD’s Jamie Doyle and Cabinteely’s Sodiq Oguntola have also joined to provide support for Mark Sandford and James English up front.
Speaking about his squad for the upcoming season Doherty said he was extremely happy and was confident of their chances of securing a top-three spot this year.
“Our squad is stronger than last season. We may have lesser numbers but I feel that the quality is better. We’ve brought in experience in the form of Aidan Collins and Bobby O’Reilly at the back, together with Gavin Boyne and Lorcan Shannon in midfield. Collins was very good in this division last season – in my opinion one of the best centre backs in the league – and Boyne was great for Athlone.”
One of Shelbourne’s stand-out performers during pre-season was striker James English who scored five goals including a brace against local rivals Bohemians. Doherty will be hoping that he can carry this form into the new season as goals were something his side sorely missed in 2015.
“Goals were something we were missing last year. James English joined us in the ‘window’ and went on to score five times in the remaining games. I feel that with a proper pre-season behind him, we can expect even more from him. He has scored goals in pre-season and is looking fit. We have also brought in Jamie Doyle and Sodiq Oguntola in that area.
The Reds enjoyed an action-packed pre-season, getting no less than seven games under their belt before the big kick-off including wins over Bohemians and Galway United.
Pre-season has gone well for us, with no injuries, and we are just looking forward to getting started at this stage.”
Doherty will have a full-squad at his disposal when they welcome Cobh to Tolka Park with no injuries or suspensions to worry about.
Cobh will certainly be looking to improve on their 6th placed finish last term after securing a number of impressive signings over the break, bringing in Rob Lehane from Cork City, Paul Hunt from Longford Town, and twin brothers Evan and Cory Galvin from Waterford United following the duo’s previous stint at Ipswich Town.
After a bright start to the 2015 season under Stephen Henderson, the Rams fell off the pace and finished disappointingly with a run of five consecutive defeats, including losses at lowly Waterford and Cabinteely.
Henderson will be hoping that his side will improve on their consistency this season and accumulate positive results throughout the campaign which will certainly be plausible if their strong attacking line can mould together and help secure points from the off.
Referee: Robert Hennessey
This is a repeat of both clubs’ final game of last season where Shelbourne ran out 2-0 winners at Tolka Park. However, throughout 2015 the two sides traded results with a 2-2 draw in Cobh, a 1-1 draw in Tolka and a 1-0 win for Ramblers at St.Colman’s Park leaving the outcome of this game a little more unpredictable.
History shows that in 22 league encounters between the two sides there has only ever been one nil all draw meaning that this game is sure to guarantee goals.
In their previous 12 meetings in First Division football, the results have been evenly poised with both Shelbourne and Cobh having three wins a piece while sharing six draws between them.
Shelbourne 4/5; Draw 12/5; Away 3/1.
Shelbourne 2-1 Cobh Ramblers.