COBH RAMBLERS’ U19 goalkeeper Arthur Nganou well and truly delivered for his side in their recent U19 Enda McGuill Cup victory over Cork City at St Colman’s Park.
Making a solid stop in the dying stages of extra time to deny a City effort on goal was only the tip of the iceberg.
In the penalty shootout that followed, Nganou was on hand to make a crucial penalty stop.
That was a mere moments before he stepped up himself to blast home the spot-kick which went Ramblers through and sparked scenes of joy among the Cobh camp.
“There has been a good buzz about the place since that win. The team has bonded together,” Nganou describes to The Echo.
“At the start of the season, we weren’t having much luck with our games. Now we have changed it around and that was a massive boost for our confidence and morale.
“Before the game, Ivan just told us that we have nothing to lose here. During the game we just thought if we can get through and not concede, then we were confident we could win.
“I backed myself on penalties and I told Ivan that. We then ended up winning the game.”
That cup success over City was apart of what has been a good run of form for Ramblers over the past number of months, which included them winning five games in a row across all competitions. That ranged from a 5-0 victory over Kerry to a 2-1 home success over UCD.
The morale and confidence in the group have clearly grown the longer the campaign has progressed, while there have also been improvements in the displays out on the pitch.
“I think it is just bonding at training because since the second half of the season, everyone in training is just putting in a massive effort now,” Nganou said when asked about the improvement of the Ramblers U19s over the campaign.
“We were sick of results not going our way. Now it is showing that we are good enough to compete.”
Awaiting in the cup quarter-finals for Ramblers is an away trip to take on Shelbourne, who defeated Athlone Town 3-1 away from home in the last round.
With the chance to get into the last four of a national competition on the line, Ramblers will travel up to Dublin fully determined to make the most of this opportunity being presented to them.
“We are confident that we can go up there and win the game because of our recent games, which have been a good boost and at training everyone is very happy with how things are going. We have nothing to lose really.”
There are plenty of big games for Nganou and his Ramblers U19s teammates to look forward to in the coming weeks.
On top of that cup quarter-final with Shels at Tolka Park, there is also a mouth-watering local derby league meeting away to high flying Cork City in Bishopstown.
Initially joining the Ramblers U17s from Midleton in 2017, Nganou also captained his school Midleton CBS to the Munster Senior Schools Cup and an All-Ireland final in recent times.
Outlining his experiences overall since making the move into to sign up with Ramblers, Nganou gives an insight into what life has been like to date as a League Of Ireland underage footballer with the St Colman’s Park club.
“Since I signed with Cobh, it has been a massive difference from playing at schoolboy level.
“Everyone is at a very good level and people play differently, coaches are different.
“With Cobh especially, there is like a massive friendliness about there and you get your chance at playing senior level.
“It has shown with Stuart (Ashton) and previously with Hendo that they give you opportunities and it is up to you to take it.”
Nganou’s sporting talents have also been evident in other codes. He was apart of the Midleton side that won the Carrigaline Court Hotel Premier 1 Minor Hurling Championship last year, scoring 0-4 in the final against Blarney.
“This year I am focusing fully on soccer. But it was very good just playing in Midleton and I was so used to winning with them.
“Before the final, I was told I wasn’t starting and I was a bit disappointed. But I got called on like 10 minutes into the first half. It was a bit strange as subs usually don’t get called on that quickly.
“When I came on everything just clicked. I scored four points and I kicked one over the bar.”
In terms of seeking to forge a League Of Ireland career, Nganou is at a club in Ramblers which have a very proven track record when it comes to giving youth a chance of playing first-team football.
Nganou has first-team League of Ireland football chief among his targets in regards to the coming years ahead.
“Cameron (Harlson) and Jamie O’Sullivan, he scored on his debut, it just gives everyone on our U19s team that like you want to be there.
“That if you train hard you will make it eventually at the senior level if you are good enough. That is our mentality now at this stage.
“My goal personally is to push on into the first team. Hopefully then over time then become the number one. If I can’t make it with Cobh, I’ll try to push on with another League Of Ireland team.”