Airtricity U19 League of Ireland
Cobh Ramblers 0-1 Shamrock Rovers
Saturday 15th September 2012, St. Colman's Park
What a game this turned to be with both sides putting in a 100% effort throughout the ninety minutes. The outcome remained on a knife edge and when referee Keith Callanan blew for full time you would think that Rovers had just won the cup!
In fairness, Hoops manager Declan Hevey had prepared his players not to be complacent following their well-earned draw at Bishopstown the previous week. Cobh had beaten St. Pat’s 5-0 in their previous game and they were not to be taken for granted. Managed by ex-Cork City FC centre half Dave Hill, the home side got off to a bright start when Hoops’ keeper Stephen Morris was called upon to make a save. Rovers responded swiftly after Kelvin Jackson managed to round left full Cian Murphy and get the ball across the goal line but Dean Ebbe didn’t connect with it in the way he would have wished and shot over the bar. Jackson and Murphy were to be involved in a keen struggle for most of the game.
The game started at a frantic pace and there was no let up for most of the time. Rovers weathered a mini Cobh storm in the early stages but it was the frees that that gave away outside the box that presented the biggest danger. The Hoops knew they couldn’t lie back and attacked at every opportunity so Cobh too had to be on their feet in defending. After fifteen minutes had gone, Rovers had a good chance to take the lead when Nathan Brown had a good header. Dylan Kearney then tested Shane Hallahan in the Cobh goal with a long distance drive. A Dean Ebbe effort struck the cross bar in the twenty-fifth minute.
Rovers' Adam Walsh gets ahead of Cobh’s Brendan Frahill to take possession
The competitive edge that we had seen throughout the opening forty-five minutes continued in the second half. Rovers’ defence was excellent with Joey Lennon-Maher starting this week as left full and joining centre halves James Mullaney and Jamiee Goonery and right full Nathan Brown to form a solid back four.
Rovers suffered a blow in the seventy-sixth minute when central midfielder Rhys Gorman was injured during a promising attack. Dean Ebbe had cut in from the right and set up Tzee Mustapha for a shot which went just over the bar. When the dust had settled it was realised that Gorman was in trouble and the big lad to hobble off the pitch after receiving treatment and an immediate assessment by physio Willie Conlon.
As the game wore on the action continued and although Rovers had the better of possession the outcome was still up in the air. A mistake by either side could have proved to be costly. It was looking like the first team to score would be the victors and so it proved in the eighty-third minute when Rovers caught their opponents out with a swift attack that began right at the back. Mustapha took possession on the left and quickly switched the ball inside to Mark Sandford who had come on as a substitute, Sandford raced into the box and, despite an attempt to close him down by the Cobh ‘keeper and two defenders, he knocked the ball over the line for a critical goal.
It was always going to take something special to break the deadlock and this one was as special as they come.
Cobh Ramblers: 1 Shane Hallahan, 2 Adam Thompson, 3 Cian Murphy, 4 Sean O’Mahony (Donoghue 29 mins), 5 Brendan Frahill, 6 Dave Curran, 7 Keith O’Flynn, 8 Eoin Donovan, 9 Dave Walshe, 10 Kynnan Rocks, 11 Ian Long.
Substitutes: 12 Jake Hawkins, 14 Cillian Tallan, 15 Danny Aherne, 16 Bobby Donoghue, 17 Jason Dunphy, 18 Aaron Taing, 19 James Carson.
Shamrock Rovers: 1 Stephen Morris, 2 Nathan Brown, 3 Joey Lennon-Maher, 4 Jamiee Goonery, 5 Rhys Gorman (Doolin 78 mins) , 6 James Mullaney, 7 Dylan Kearney, 8 Glody Nsay, 9 Dean Ebbe, 10 Toyeed Mustapha (Walsh 84 mins), 11 Kelvin Jackson (Sandford 67 mins).
Substitutes: 14 Ryan Doolin, 18 Alan Kehoe, 19 Mark Sandford, 20 Clayton Stafford, 21 Adam Walsh, 22 John Tambwe, 25 Alex Condell.
Image Gallery from the game here: http://loi19.webnode.com/september-2012/cobh-ramblers-v-shamrock-rovers-15-9-2012/
Match report and photos by Robert Goggins.
Match Report courtesy of Shamrock Rovers FC (http://www.shamrockrovers.ie/news/35-news/2984-under-19s-v-cobh-match-report)