Cobh Ramblers 3
Waterford FC 2
COBH RAMBLERS came from two goals down to book their place in the semi-finals of the Munster Senior Cup at the expense of Premier Division side Waterford.
Finishes from Stephen Kenny, Cian Leonard and Ian Turner, on his Ramblers debut after coming back to Leeside after a spell with St Pats, were enough to give Stephen Henderson’s troops a fully merited victory and set up a local derby clash with Cork City in the last four.
This was a performance and a result which will have given Ramblers signs of encouragement ahead of the start of the new League Of Ireland season. The volley from Turner to win it for Cobh was worth the entrance fee alone. This was a youthful Waterford side that did not have first-team regulars such as Bastien Hery, Izzy Akinade, Damien Delaney, Shane Duggan even in the matchday squad.
Nonetheless, Ramblers provided plenty of positives and reasons to believe they could have a better league campaign in 2019. They used the ball well going forward and the experience of the likes of O’Connor, Kenny and Turner proved influential.
Cobh came out much slower out of the traps and Waterford were two goals two the good inside the opening eight minutes.
Through what was a fine ball into the box by Dean O’Halloran, the Blues went in front through a close-range finish by Dean Walsh.
Waterford would get a second through a header from a few yards out by John Martin after Walsh nodded the ball into his path.
Ramblers though grew into the contest gradually as the half wore on. Stephen Kenny brought Cobh right back into the game with what was a fine curling effort that went past Matthew Connor in the visiting goal.
The hosts ended the half the stronger of the pair, with Cian Leonard shooting just wide from a free kick.
That was to come a mere few moments before he got the Ramblers equalizing goal. Leonard finishing clinically from inside the box, putting the final touches to what was a well-worked moved and some fine individual play by David Hurley.
Ramblers could have gone into the lead when Waterford made an error at the back, but Turner saw his effort cleared off the line.
Waterford had early chances through Cory Galvin substitute Colm Whelan at the start of the second half. But overall the exchanges from there until the finish saw Ramblers generally get the better of the South East opponents.
Shane O’Connor went close for Cobh after getting a shot away after Connor punched the ball into his path, but the former Ipswich Town man saw his effort headed off the line.
Ramblers had their tails up and went close again after a great ball by Stephen Kenny set Turner away, who set up Leonard. But the Cobh attacker saw his effort somehow kept out by a goal-line clearance by Waterford’s Rory Feely.
Turner capped off a performance with a deserved goal to put Cobh in front. With what was a fantastic first-time effort, the former Cork City man blasted a brilliantly struck shot into the bottom corner and beyond the reach of Connor.
Although Dean Walsh went close for Waterford from a ball in by Regix Madika late on, which Adam Mylod got down impressively to save, Cobh weren’t to be denied and were full value ultimately for their progression.
Ramblers will now play the current holders of this competition in Cork City in the semi-finals, with Midleton and Mayfield United contesting the other tie in the last four.
COBH: A Mylod: K Taylor, B O’Riordan, J McSweeney, Stephen O’Connor: D Hurley: I Turner, S Kenny, Shane O’Connor, S Christopher: C Leonard.
Subs: J Kabia for Christopher (h-t), M O’Rourke for Taylor (53), S O’Leary for Leonard (67), M Lamb for Kenny (81).
WATERFORD: M Connor: D Power, Darryl Walsh, R Feely, C Power: D Beresford, J O’Donnell: C Galvin, J Martin, D O’Halloran: Dean Walsh.
Subs: C Whelan for Darryl Walsh, N O’Keefe for Martin (both h-t), R Madika for O’Halloran (65), C Foley for D Power (71), A Phelan for Galvin (81).
Referee: Kevin O’Sullivan.