By David Ludzik EA Sports Cup semi-final
Cobh Ramblers boss, Stephen Henderson, is hoping the fans’ vocal support, and a little luck, can help his side cause a massive upset in today’s EA Sports Cup semi-final, against holders Dundalk, at St Colman’s Park (5pm).
Ramblers in a semi-final will evoke memories amongst older fans of that epic FAI Cup semi-final marathon in 1983, when Cobh, then a Munster Senior League side, took a superb Sligo Rovers to three replays, before Sligo eventually advanced, after extra-time, at The Showgrounds, in the fourth game.
Two of the games were played at Flower Lodge, with 20,000 fans packing the famous old venue for the third instalment, and Henderson has called on the Cork public to get behind his side again, 35 years later.
“The crowd will make a huge difference. It will be great if the Cobh supporters do come out and the Cork City supporters have been great, too — a lot of them are League of Ireland supporters and they have come down and backed us, if City aren’t playing. So, if the Cork crowd can come out and support a great bunch of young Cork lads, then it may make the difference of us getting to a final or not,” said Henderson.
“It’s one of the biggest games in our history. To get to a national cup semi-final is a fantastic achievement, but that’s all it is, at the moment; an achievement. We want to see if we can get to the final, which would be fantastic, but we do need people to come out and support us.”
Ramblers have lost their last four First Division games and will face Dundalk again on Friday night, in the FAI Cup, at Oriel Park, but the manager feels his side have been hard-done-by in recent weeks.
“The lads have been playing very well and working very hard, but we’re not getting the rewards for all that. We haven’t had any luck this year, but maybe all the luck we’ve been missing this year might just change against Dundalk.”
Stephen Kenny feels his Dundalk side didn’t do themselves justice in Cyprus last Thursday, as they bowed out of the Europa League, at the hands of AEK Larnaca.
After putting together a run of 11 straight league victories, the 4-0 hammering last week brought his side back down to earth with a bang. And Kenny will be looking for his side to get back on track, which could mean bad news for Cobh.
“Before the Larnaca tie, we had 16 straight wins in all competitions and the defeat was a kick in the teeth. It is one that we have to respond to,” said Kenny.
In the other EA Sports Cup semi-final, Sligo Rovers will fancy their chances of following up Friday night’s 2-1 league victory over Derry City, at The Brandywell, when they face-off against the same opposition at The Showgrounds (5pm).
Rovers boss, Gerard Lyttle, said: “The players did the job on Friday. They believed in themselves and they showed character in adversity, at 1-0 down.
“We have to do it again, because when you play a cup semi-final, it’s difficult and especially against a strong team like Derry.”