ROY KEANE was in attendance at St Colman’s Park last Friday night and the chances are high that he was impressed by the work-rate and desire shown by one of his former clubs.
Cobh Ramblers produced a brilliant 90-minute display to pick up what was an immensely deserved three points, against a Shelbourne side that is full of players that have had established careers in the Premier Division.
“Collectively as a group, it is obviously the best we have played this year. But it is a long time since we have played that well as a group,” explained Cobh boss Stephen Henderson.
“Apart from their overhead kick that frightened the life out of me, I don’t think Shels opened us up. The last minute or two there, they had one or two offsides.
“But in general it was just the sheer aggression and sheer determination of our lads, when we lost the ball to get it back and then when we had it to pick the right pass at the right time, was fantastic.
“We talked an awful lot before the match about commitment and about aggression. About doing our jobs and competing as a team.”
Henderson added: “When you don’t have the ball and you work like that and you do the pressing like that, there is a good chance you won’t lose the game.
“When you work like that and you press like that and you have the added bits of quality, there is a great chance you will win it.
“The key factor there is without the ball and you work like that, win your individual battles and just go about your business, you’ve a great chance. Hopefully the players learn something.”
Right across the pitch there were fine performances. The Ramblers' work-rate and pressing game never left Shels settle. Cobh’s defence were switched on throughout, Charlie Lyons and Ben O’Riordan among those that were very impressive.
It says it all about their display that Ciaran Kilduff, a man who a few short years ago was scoring in the Europa League Group Stages for Dundalk, rarely had a sniff at goal.
While up front the pace of Jaze Kabia and Denzil Fernandes caused the Shelbourne back line numerous problems. Both got their just rewards with goals on the night, Kabia with his fourth league goal of the season.
Ramblers have two talented young players on their books in this pair.
Henderson was full of praise for the efforts which his side produced, in what is becoming a highly captivating First Division.
“Wexford are after beating Bray Wanderers. This league is mad. What we are trying to say to the lads is that is about consistency.
“We have to do what we did against Shels, but we have to do that every week.”
As Henderson alludes to, the key for Ramblers now will be to bring those sort of performance levels to the table over the coming weeks and on a more consistent basis.
But if this performance against Shelbourne can be built on, Ramblers have the ability to be more than a match for anyone on their day in the First Division.
Despite the morale booster that a win over Shels should bring, Henderson is not getting too carried away and wants to channel the full focus of his side into producing another big display for their next game against Bray Wanderers.
“Honestly we are just taking this one game at time. We can’t afford to look too far ahead because we are a young team.
“Jaze, that Shels back four didn’t know how to deal with him tonight. He was fantastic. He was strong, won his headers and ran in behind them.
“When Denzil starts believing in himself, he will be a sensational footballer. I had to hug him at the end of the match.”
Henderson was very proud of every single one of his players.
Rightly so, because everyone in a Ramblers jersey produced the goods in absolute bucketloads on Friday night.