Cabinteely 1 Cobh Ramblers 0
A 75th-minute goal by Shane Barnes was enough to succumb Cobh Ramblers to their third league defeat of the season, at the hands of First Division leaders Cabinteely, in Stradbrook on Friday night.
Stuart Ashton’s charges had looked set to claim a share of the spoils, only for the Metropolitan outfit to produce the decisive moment of the tie inside the final quarter.
Seeking to improve on recent draws with Bray Wanderers and Galway United, Cobh made an encouraging start to the contest. Just three minutes in, Ramblers centre-half Ben O’Riordan headed narrowly off-target from a Dave Hurley corner.
The latter’s set-pieces were placing pressure on the Cabinteely defence and it almost paid rich dividends off an ensuing attack. Either side of O’Riordan’s miscued effort off a Hurley delivery, Charlie Lyons and Darryl Walsh forced impressive saves out of opposition netminder Michael Kelly.
While Paul Hunt subsequently gathered a low shot from Barnes, he was the quieter of the two goalkeepers in the opening period. Kelly came to his side’s rescue once again on the stroke of 20 minutes, expertly turning behind Walsh’s goal-bound free-kick.
Cobh largely controlled possession for the rest of the half and were perilously close to breaking the deadlock in the 38th minute. Lyons headed home at the left-hand post, but his finish was ruled out for offside.
Desperate to cement their position as the second tier’s top team, Cabinteely increased their attacking threat on the restart. It took a defensive intervention by Ramblers skipper Pierce Philips to deny Barnes a clear run on goal and Kevin Knight fired over Hunt’s crossbar just shy of the hour mark.
Thanks to the stubborn resistance of their rearguard, Cobh remained on course for a positive result in south Dublin. That was until they received a cruel blow with just 15 minutes left to play.
After Keith Dalton flicked on Paul Fox’s cross off a breakaway move, Barnes supplied a cool finish from close-range. Cobh pushed for an equaliser in the dying moments of the action but with Philips receiving his marching orders on 89 minutes for a second yellow card offence, they ultimately came up short.
Michael Kelly; Daniel Blackbyne, Christina Lotefa (Vilius Labutis 71), Kevin Knight, Paul Fox; Dylan Thornton (Keith Dalton 46), Eoin McPhillips (Mitchell Byrne 46), Alex Aspil; Zak O’Neill, Shane Barnes, Kieran Marty Waters.
Paul Hunt; John Kavanagh, Ben O’Riordan, Greg Henry (Cian Leonard 88), Darryl Walsh; Charlie Lyons, Pierce Philips; Cameron Harlson (Ian Turner 69), Dave Hurley, Lee Devitt (Conor Drinan 77); Darragh Crowley.
Rob Dowling (Dublin).