WHAT a very exciting promotion race in the League of Ireland First Division we now have on our hands.
As a consequence of what has been a very impressive recent run of form, Cobh Ramblers are most certainly among those right in the hunt in the race to get into the Premier Division.
Heading into this weekend’s series of fixtures, Ramblers are just three points off the top of the table, level on points with UCD in the final promotion playoff position.
In fact, there are now just three points between six teams in the promotion chase. Along now with Ramblers, you have Drogheda United, Cabinteely, Longford Town, UCD and Bray Wanderers.
And then you might not totally write-off the John Caulfield managed Galway United, who are also starting to gather some momentum.
As far as they are concerned, the St Colman’s Park club play host to UCD this Saturday night, with Ramblers being one of the in form sides in the First Division at present.
Cobh this weekend will be looking to make it five league wins in a row and also five clean sheets in succession.
The performances of Ramblers overall have been very impressive since the re start of the league. Crucially though, Cobh have been backing up their good displays with good results.
Ramblers have the joint best defensive record in the First Division this season alongside Bray, with a total of just eight goals conceded.
One thing which can be noted by recent Ramblers performances is the strong determination in the camp.
With victories over Longford and Drogheda, along with a draw away to Bray Wanderers, Cobh have proven in recent times they are just as good as anyone in the First Division at the moment.
Stuart Ashton is doing a fine job with Ramblers, with a strong mentality evident among the players recently.
Recruitment wise, Ashton has done some effective business when you see the impact some of the new additions have had.
Former Avondale keeper Sean Barron has proven to be a quality addition and has produced brilliant displays.
While Naythan Coleman struck for the all-important winner against a fancied Drogheda side.
The impact and experience of the likes of John Kavanagh and Ian Turner is key, along with young players at Cobh who are eager to make a name for themselves.
Picking up six points out of a possible six on the road was a very impressive return against Drogheda United and Shamrock Rovers II, given they were two lengthy away trips for Ramblers in the space of a few days.
The game away to Rovers in Tallaght Stadium was the most recent outing for Ramblers. A goal by Conor Drinan, brother of Irish U21 international and current Ipswich Town man Aaron, was to help secure the three points for Ashton’s side.
As for their opposition this Saturday, UCD have a number of quality players in their ranks. Midfielder Liam Kerrigan one such threat and has Premier Division experience from his time at Sligo Rovers.
While Yoyo Mahdy and former Waterford man Colm Whelan know how to find the back of the net.
Coming into their trip to Cobh, UCD suffered defeat at the hands of the Caulfield managed Galway United side in midweek.
However, Ramblers will have to be wary of the threat which UCD pose, which was evident in their 8-0 home victory against Wexford.
The most recent meeting between Ramblers and UCD, which UCD won 1-0 in Dublin, was back in February but probably feels a lot longer because of Covid-19.
August of 2018 was the last occasion that Cobh and UCD faced off against one another at St Colman’s Park. That contest finished in a 2-2 draw.
Gordon Walker and Chris Hull got the Cobh goals that night, while the scorers for the Students were the now Shamrock Rovers man Gary O’Neill and Conor Davis, most recently at Cork City.
Potentially, the 2020 First Division title race looks like it could offer more excitement than the Premier Division.
Given the recent impressive form of Cobh Ramblers, the next few months could be very exciting indeed.