LOI FD Season Preview: Cobh Ramblers

With 19 days remaining till the start of the new League of Ireland season, we are going to bring you a preview of each club each day from a reporter of ours on Final Whistle. Check back at Midday tomorrow for the next club preview. Next up, LOI First Division side Cobh Ramblers

Location: St. Colman’s Park, Cork

Manager: Shane Keegan (2nd season in charge) 

Last Season Finish: 9th ( W4, D5, L23). Lost 1st Round of FAI Cup to Cork City. 

A new season and a new era for Ireland’s oldest club as the Shane Keegan revolution begins in earnest. 

The former Dundalk coach came into the club during the second half of last season and despite some encouraging performances, the Portlaoise native was unable to save the club from a bottom placed finish. 

Ins and Outs 

Wilson Waweru, Charlie Lyons (both from Galway) Cian Browne, Callum Stringer (both from Waterford) and Jack Doherty have joined the club in the off season so far with possibly more to come.  

The captures of both Waweru and Lyons in particular are coups as they would have surely had interest from bigger teams while Callum Stringer and Jack Doherty both impressed last season with Waterford and Wexford respectively. 

Cobh have also managed to retain the bulk of last seasons’ squad with standout performers Conor Drinan and Dale Holland have also been re-signed which could be seen as a vote of confidence in their manager. This may well be one of the reasons why the Rams have managed to attract an impressive array of talent considering their position last season. 

Speaking of managers, Fran Rockett returns as Assistant to Keegan after spending four seasons at Waterford while also serving as their interim boss in 2020.  

A strong pre-season off the pitch has matched with proceedings on it if their recent 8-1 demolition of Everton in the Munster Senior Cup is anything to go by. The energy around the camp is said to be very positive with a notable increase in the level of intensity and professionalism in training. 

Club Aspirations 

Cobh well and truly hit rock bottom last season but in Keegan they have an experienced manager who has the ambition to match. But before any Cobh fans get ahead of themselves, the first cause of action will have to be shoring up a defence which conceded 78 goals last season.  

And while Keegan had a free pass when he initially came into the job, he will need to begin to pay back the patience and backing afforded to him with a strong start. The same leeway will not be afforded with a similarly poor season. 

Key Men 

 Conor Drinan will need to pull the strings in midfield with new signing Callum Stringer while Wilson Waweru will have take on the goalscoring burden for a side which scored only 37 goals last term. 

Key Fixtures  

Cobh begin their campaign away to newly formed Kerry FC in an intriguing opening round fixture in Mounthawk Park. Momentum is everything in the league as shown by Cork City last season. A positive start here and Keegan’s side won’t have anything to fear as the season progresses.  

Season Prediction: A titanic effort will be required with plenty of potential icebergs in the way. However,with the signings made and one of the brightest managerial minds in the division, a midtable finish including a possible playoff push is not a pipe dream.  

Sam is an avid sports enthusiast who has been working in journalism since he was 16. Along with his work, he also plays tennis and is a Government and Political Science student at UCC. Most importantly of all however is that he's from Cork.

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