Shelbourne lost their very first match of the season last weekend when they were beaten 2-0 by UCD in the First Round of the FAI CUP so there will be extra motivation to maintain their unbeaten league record this weekend when they entertain Cobh Ramblers at Tolka Park.
The loss to the students will have come as a bit of a shock to Shelbourne however one suspects they will get over it fairly quickly as quite clearly their primary objective for 2021 is to return to the Premier Division and they are very much on course to achieve that objective.
Shelbourne had a comfortable 3-1 win over Athlone in their last league outing prior to the Cup match, Shane Farrell and a Dayle Rooney double accounting for their goals.
Speaking to the Shelbourne media team ahead of the Cobh game, manager Ian Morris said “You always need to be weary. Cobh have a lot of new coaches and they had a really good win in the cup so you have got to be prepared for that.
The player’s effort and application will have to be top notch like it has been in the season so far and I’ve no doubt they’ll bring that again,”.
Morris also said other teams are “starting to come at us hard and fast” but that his Shels side will “look to out that flame out” as they come into a pivotal few weeks in the league campaign.
‘’You have to be prepared and keep plugging away. We’ve got the players and characters for the drive to come back from last week like we’ve shown all season,” he added.
It has been a dramatic number of weeks at St Colman’s Park with the departure of manager Stuart Ashton, the appointment of Darren Murphy as interim manager and John O’ Flynn as coach, a late goal securing a league win over Cabinteelty and a dramatic extra time win over Liffey Wanderers in the FAI Cup last Sunday.
The Conor Drinan 87th minute goal against Cabinteely gave the Ramblers a valuable three points but they still remain in eight position in the league table. There is a cluster of four clubs between fifth and eight position in the table with only six points between fifth and eight so a couple of wins for Cobh could propel them into fifth position.
It’s unlikely at this stage that they will be in contention for one of the promotion play-off slots and certainly they will have a mountain to climb if they are to get anything from their visit to Dublin this weekend.
Interim Manager Darren Murphy reflected on the challenge posed by Shelbourne in his weekly press conference where he said “We were really pleased with last weekend ( FAI Cup), we thought the lads did a great job. It was a professional performance and that’s needed in a cup game. Overall, we’re very pleased with our first week.
Last week is gone now, we have to get into the frame for this weekend. Shelbourne are top of the league, they’re a very good side. We’ve watched them, we have a plan in place and are building towards that. All week we’ve prepared for this game, all we ask is for another performance from the lads.”
Club captain John Kavanagh also gave his views ahead of the trip to Dublin, saying “We’ve no reason to fear them. Yes, we have to give them the respect they deserve, they’re unbeaten in the league and it’ll be a difficult game. But there’s no easy game in this league. We just want to build on our clean sheets, build on our wins and keep improving as a group.
Throughout this season we haven’t had a settled back four, through injury and suspensions. We’re getting back to that in the last two games. If you look at last year that was the foundation and we went from there.
We have to finish the season strong, that’s what we’re aiming towards. Friday is the most important and that’s what we’re focusing on.”
Referee: Kevin O’ Sullivan
The honours have been fairly even between these two sides in recent years, with Shelbourne winning five and Cobh Ramblers winning three of the last eight fixtures.
The previous encounter between these two sides this season resulted in a 2-1 win for Shelbourne at St Colman’s Park in Cobh on 15th May.
Dayle Rooney of Shelbourne has notched up 99 appearances for Shelbourne so if he makes it onto the pitch for the Reds on Friday night he will have 100 appearances to his credit.
Shelbourne 1/4; Draw 4/1; Cobh Ramblers 8/1.
Shelbourne 3 – 1 Cobh Ramblers
Injured: Gerardo Bruna.
Doubtful: Denzil Fernandes, Jack Brady, Denzil Fernandez.
Doubtful: Darryl Walsh
Suspended: Lee Devitt