Cobh ready for tough mission in Derry

COBH RAMBLERS’ manager, Dave Hill, will send his players out to “play without fear” when they meet the holders of the FAI Carlsberg Cup in today’s second round tie at The Brandywell.

Cobh will be forced to go into the game with several of their regulars unavailable but Manager Hill adopted a philosophical attitude to the difficulties they face in playing such an important game in mid-week with what is largely a part-time professional squad.

Several Cobh players have had problems trying to negotiate their release from their work duties to travel to Derry but Hill commented: "It was never going to be easy once we knew we had to play on a Thursday but it is just as it would be after a bad result you've got to put these things behind you and get on with the job.

Cobh will welcome back veteran goalkeeper Phil Harrington who has recovered from a calf-muscle injury. He missed the 1-3 loss to Dublin City last week-end and returns to replace Derek Slattery.

Missing from the Cobh team will be centre-back Robert Brosnan, who is on honeymoon, and their leading goalscorer, Jonathan Coker, who has been granted two weeks leave of absence. Coker scored three times in his last four games for Cobh and he will be missed.

Team captain Steve Yelverton is one of those who will have to wait until the last moment to see whether he can arrange time off work. Cobh stayed in Sligo last night and, if necessary, Yelverton will follow them to Derry today.

Cobh chairman John O'Sullivan and his committee will have to wrestle with the financial implications involved and he commented: "It will be an expensive fixture travel will cost us 1,500 and overnight expenses another 1,500.

"We'll have to see what return we'll get out of the gate receipts before we can talk about compensation for players who may lose money for getting time off work."

O'Sullivan expressed his disappointment that Derry refused to consider their request for a weekend game: "We always had a good relationship with Derry and whenever they came to Cork they would visit our clubhouse. We were surprised they would not consider changing the fixture but I think there are new people in charge now."

Derry City go into the game as Cup holders but the contest comes at a strange time for them because new manager Dermot Kealy has not had an opportunity to see them play yet. He spent until this week in the first division with Kildare County and while most of the Derry players will be known to him because of his long-term involvement in the League, there is no doubt he would have liked to see them play a match or two before facing a Cup tie.

Kealy will have a couple of weeks to prepare for their UEFA Cup tie against Apoel Nicosia. He will need that time to identify and secure a goalkeeper, as David Forde, who played regularly this season, has returned to West Ham after his loan period at Derry.

He will be replaced tonight by Alan Gough but the big Dubliner will not be able to play against Apoel because he must serve a suspension period in European matches.

Kealy will be seeking a player of experience because Derry must look on the Apoel match as one they can win.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox