COBH Ramblers play their opening-round tie in the EA Sports Cup against Limerick at St Colman’s Park on Tuesday night (7.45pm).
Ramblers memorably made it all the way to the final of this competition last year in the Brandywell against Derry City, with Stephen Henderson’s side defeating Dundalk along the way.
Cobh have had a good knack of producing in the cup competitions, but first and foremost Tuesday’s game against the Shannonsiders will be used to try to build some confidence and momentum for them to take into their league campaign.
Off the back of their second league defeat of the season against Athlone over the weekend, Ramblers boss Stephen Henderson hopes to this cup tie can help Cobh to get the ball rolling.
“I am gutted with this league stuff at the moment,” he said. “I just want the next league game to come around and get points on the board, so we can get ourselves up and running.
“I do believe if we get ourselves up and running and a little bit of confidence, we can go on a good run.
“I think we have seen anybody is capable of beating anybody in the First Division. So it’s not too late.
“We want to try and kick on. There will be one or two lads getting a game alright. It is at a stage now after two defeats in the first two games of the season.
“There was a good bit of shape to us there on Saturday. People looked decent in their roles. We swapped Ian and Stephen around and it worked quite well.
“We want to try and establish a shape, but we will be giving one or two lads a go.”
Securing a win on their own turf would help the morale of the group, especially with another home league game on the horizon at the weekend against Wexford.
With a view to the wider First Division season, Henderson knows that it is vital for Cobh to have a good record at St Colman’s Park if they aspire to have a positive campaign in the league this term.
“It is crucial because you come down here and it is a lovely little ground. But we tried to impose ourselves from the start and I thought we done that.
“I don’t want to be coming in here (to post-match press conference), after playing quite well and losing.
“The difficulty in the league is that teams you don’t expect to win will win games. For you to stay in there, you have to have a strong home record.
“So that is a really bad start for us and we need to try and fix that.”
In a similar fashion to the Premier Division last year, the First Division looks set to be very competitive across the board at present.
However, it will be imperative that Cobh get off the mark as quickly as possible in the league to avoid the prospect of being cut adrift near the bottom of the table.
The playoffs make the First Division an intriguing watch. But if promotion is out of the picture, the second tier of Irish football can become a grim place, comparable to the footballing graveyard status which some people associate with it.
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