COBH RAMBLERS concluded their pre-season programme with a challenge game against First Division outfit Limerick FC at St Colman’s Park recently.
The First Division side succumbed to a narrow home defeat, but their pacey right-winger Denzil Fernandes was thrilled overall with their pre-season regime.
“I am really looking forward to the new season starting. We had a few good pre-season matches and we gained a lot of positives from the friendly games.
“I’m hoping it’ll be a successful one ahead for both the team and I.
“My aim is just to keep working hard and set the bar high,” revealed their skillful midfielder.
Denzil, who previously played for the Cork City Youths before making the move to Cobh Ramblers in 2018, has recovered from a hamstring issue he picked up on the very first day of pre-season.
Following an intensive rehabilitation programme, Denzil played the full game against Limerick FC which augurs well for the season ahead. Denzil is confident his injury woes are behind him.
“Pre-season was tough for me as I injured my hamstring at the very first training session and I only got back into full training in the last week or so.
“On a positive note, I played the full 90 minutes against Limerick and I was happy with how it went. My fitness levels are nearly 100% and I’m raring to go now. I can’t wait for the season to begin.”
Denzil, who previously played with Drinagh Rangers, Bandon AFC and College Corinthians during his underage career, enjoyed a very successful period playing with the Cork City Youths which alerted the Cobh Ramblers management team to his playing ability.
Denzil possesses pace to burn and has great feet which enables him to elude defensive cover.
He was happy with his first season playing with Cobh Ramblers.
“My first season was full of ups and downs. We experienced the highs in reaching the cup final in Derry and the lows with our poor league run.
“I was playing on the right wing for much of last season which was a great experience and learning curve for me.
“At times, it was tough as you have to be physically strong to adapt to this league, but I feel I am ready for this year’s campaign.”
Cobh Ramblers pulled off one of the biggest shocks the domestic campaign last season when they defeated Premier League side Dundalk in an EA Sports semi-final clash played in St Colman’s Park.
A solitary strike from Chris Hull propelled Cobh to their first ever appearance in a senior National Cup final. Denzil was thrilled to play his part in their win against the reigning Premier League champions.
“It was one of the best days of my career to date. The crowd were right behind us and from the very start we took the game to Dundalk and didn’t allow them to play us off the park.
“It was a great win.”
Denzil is delighted with his move to the First Division team. He is loving life with Cobh Ramblers where he is constantly progressing as a player.
He is confident they will enjoy a strong league campaign this season.
“Cobh are a great club. They always give young players a chance to play regularly. The club is slowly getting everything in order again and the supporters have been great so far.
“Compared to last season, I think we’ve made some very good signings. I’m confident that this season will be great and a huge success for us.”
Cobh have made a number of strong signings ahead of the forthcoming league campaign. One notable signing is former Innishvilla AFC and Preston North End player Charlie Lyons.
Denzil is thrilled with the signing of the talented defender.
“Charlie’s very good on the ball. He will prove to be a great signing. He is very calm in possession and he can pick out a pass from any side of the pitch.”
Cobh Ramblers begin their league campaign with an away fixture against Drogheda United on Friday, February 22. Denzil has identified his own personal targets for the season ahead.
“I want to score goals and help the team as much as I can. Naturally I get into good positions to score goals, so I’ll need to work on my shooting if I want to score more for the team in order to help them win.
“My target for the team is the same as always, to gain promotion and get this team into the Premier Division.”
Denzil loves working with Cobh Ramblers manager Stephen Henderson. He is thrilled he has stayed on as manager for the season ahead.
“I have a lot of praise for Stephen, because he puts you at ease as a player which brings the best out of you.
“He deserves success and I hope this season is the time to do it for him.”
The West Cork soccer star who hails from Drimoleague is very thankful to his family who have helped him follow his soccer dreams.
Denzil is grateful to them for their unrelenting support and encouragement.
“My family are always supportive of me. They have played a huge role in my soccer journey.
“I wouldn’t be able to get to training without them. There are a lot of sacrifices required to make the breakthrough.
“My family have been with me every step of the way.”