(Photo by Doug Minihane)
As far as derbies go, Cork clubs Cork City FC and Cobh Ramblers have been starved of local clashes of late, with the City vs. County playing out in the annual pre-season friendly between the Ramblers and the Rebels. Saturday’s game, despite the preseason cobwebs and muddled surface, proved to be a competitive affair, Cork City FC ground out a 1-0 win to kickstart their preparations for the 2018 season.
Both sides came in fresh from both the offseason and a number of new signings and players on trial, including Irish under 21 international Dany Kane with the Rebel Army as well as Norwegian underage international Garib Gerkondani. A young Cobh Ramblers side also bore Denzel Fernandez, Kevin Taylor and Adam Mylod, all tried and tested from the under 19 National League and Cork City FC’s adventures in the UEFA Youth League.
Energised and recharged, Cork City dominated the opening play with standout performances from Jimmy Keohane and Tobi Adebayo-Rowling. From the whistle Cobh fancied themselves for the upset, seizing position from the whistle, with Charlie Fleming crossing it for David Hurley inside the City area, but new boy Aaron Barry clearing the line. The early setback spurred City on, with Sean McLaughlin setting up Shane Griffin on the left hand flank, but difficult surface prevented Griffin from taking control, and the ball fizzled out of play. With five minutes on the clock, a set piece from Shane Griffin swung into the box, and in the resulting chaos for control up stepped Sean McLaughlin, who buried the chance past Paul Hunt to make it 1-0 to the visitors. The old cliché in football is that scoring leaves you vulnerable, but this was not the case for Cork City, who pushed on, recharged from the goal, with Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Colm Horgan and Loughlin. City launched well into the area late in the half, but failed to connect with the head of Jarib Gerkondani in the centre.
As the first half wore on, City dominated the possession, with Conor McCormack sitting firmly back in midfield, controlling distribution comfortably. Cobh, however, were not without their chances, as Kevin Taylor burst down the right wing, well passed Rowling, to tee up Beineón O’Brien Whitmarsh who, faced with the awkwardness of the height, tipped it towards goal, but Mark McNulty gathered well and keeping it at 1-0. City spurred on, regained possession and pushed forward, with Griffin breaking through but his shot was easily picked up by Hunt. City finished off the half well, with a quick break from a set piece outwitting the Cobh Ramblers midfield; with the ball falling to Gary Buckley facing goal, he fired the ball hard but straight into Hunt’s hands. City pushed with an excellent chance to double their lead, as McLaughlin blasted it well from twenty yards out, only for the left back’s shot to scrape the crossbar on the way over. Cobh closed off the half with winger David Hurley bursting on into space to fire well wide.
In what was a sleepy second half, both sides emerged rotated with Cork City introducing Karl Sheppard and Danny Kane, while Cobh Ramblers emptied their substitute bench. City picked up where they left off, with Conor McCarthy swinging a corner in, but Ben O’Riordan was taking no chances, clearing it for the Ramblers. Cobh’s best chance of the half fell to Darren Murphy from twenty yards, who rounded a free kick well round the wall to graze the crossbar.
Overall the Rebel Army won the match and the bragging rights as they beat county rivals Cobh Ramblers 1-0 in an entertaining affair at St. Colman’s Park. Next up for the Champions is another friendly against UCC on Wednesday night (17th of January) at the Mardyke Arena, while the Ramblers travel to the capital to take on Shamrock Rovers.
Cobh Ramblers: Paul Hunt, Charlie Fleming, Ben O’Riordan, Christopher McCarthy, James McSweeney, Kevin Taylor, Darren Murphy, Stephen Christopher, David Hurley, Beineón O’Brien Whitmarsh, Cian Leonard.
Booked: Kevin Taylor.
Cork City FC: Mark McNulty (Jacob Marsen, ‘60), Aaron Barry, Jimmy Keohane, Conor McCormack, Tobi Adebayo-Rowling (Danny Kane 45’), Jarib Gerkondani (Karl Sheppard ’45), Shane Griffin, Conor McCarthy, Colm Horgan, Sean McLaughlin, Garry Buckley.
Subs not used: Steven Beattie, Kieran Sadlier.
Referee: Graham Taylor.