COBH RAMBLERS were very spirited and organised in their endeavours in the EA Sports Cup final.
In the end though, it was Derry City that came away with the silverware.
Ramblers manager Stephen Henderson was disappointed in defeat but very proud his players put in.
“We’re disappointed but there is a lot to be positive about. We had to stay in the game because Derry are a very strong side,” he said.
“We had to play a certain way, which we did. It wasn’t pretty to look at times, but it was effective.
“After Derry’s first goal, the response from our lads was fantastic. What was disappointing was after we came up here and put in a really good shift, we got punished after some basic defensive mistakes.
“But what you have to understand is that we are a very young side — that’s not an excuse, that’s a fact.
“From my own point of view, I am absolutely so proud of them as a group. I am absolutely thrilled that they got to experience what they experienced here today.
“The Derry crowd were magnificent, but I have to say thanks to those Cobh people that travelled all the length of the country. They were absolutely brilliant for us. But we are disappointed we couldn’t give them something to take home.”
The First Division campaign in 2018 has been a transitional one of sorts.
Reaching the final of the EA Sports Cup was a fantastic feat and Ramblers have provided one of the stories of the season by getting to the final alone.
This cup experience, including playing in front of such a large crowd at the Brandywell, should only stand to the Cobh players going into next season and beyond.
“Yeah it will,” agreed Henderson. They are absolutely devastated in there after losing a national cup final.
“But the process of getting to that final is what we have been trying to instill in them.
“That’s what we look for in all of our teams in Ramblers, do the basics really well, be really organized and play football when we have the opportunity.
“The players can walk away after playing in front of a packed Brandywell with their heads held high. They will learn from this and progress.”
Ramblers have been on a great journey the last few months, especially with this EA Sports Cup run. This could potentially be the first chapter in a promising few years ahead of the club. That is especially the case if this young squad continues to progress.
Ramblers conclude their season with their final First Division league game against Drogheda on Saturday night.