Cobh Ramblers are ready to set out a five-year plan

Cobh Ramblers are ready to set out a five-year plan
Cobh's Chris Hull shoots from Drogheda's Kevin Farragher and Paul Skinner. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE end of this month will see Cobh Ramblers release details of their five-year strategic plan.

At their awards night, which is being held in the Fota Island Resort on Friday, November 23, Ramblers as a club will outline their plans which will take the club up to its 100 year anniversary and beyond.

The primary aim of this strategic plan is to enable the St Colman’s Park club to be in a solid position, setting the club up for a prosperous and exciting long-term future.

Ramblers hope that the launch of this plan will work as a fresh start for the club and the members, while also looking to attract new volunteers to the club as well.

Giving an insight into what can be expected in the strategic plan, Ramblers first team manager Stephen Henderson said:

“We are very specific on what we want to do.

“Cobh Ramblers has been an integral part of The Great Island’s history for almost 100 years.

“At this year’s awards night in Fota Island Resort, we will launch an overview of our 5-year strategy that will bring us up to and beyond our centenary year.

“We are very reliant on getting a lease from the FAI. The FAI have to deliver us a lease in order for us to deliver a five-year strategy to the standard that we want to.

“That’s by putting an all-weather facility into St Colman’s Park, it is about building a state of the art gymnasium in Colman’s Park, with a hall facility for indoor football and other sports as well.

“We want to drive down that road. This is the way we have been planning.

“We want to have ladies teams, U17s and seniors. We want to have good partnerships, not just with schoolboy leagues and Springfield Ramblers, we want a Munster Senior League team that we can work closely with, as a pathway from our U19s.

Michael O'Rourke, Cobh Ramblers U19s, in action against Shamrock Rovers.Picture: Larry Cummins
Michael O'Rourke, Cobh Ramblers U19s, in action against Shamrock Rovers.Picture: Larry Cummins

“They might just not be ready for the step up to senior, but probably need a year or two that we can work with them in conjunction with a Munster Senior team.

“We have lots of stuff that we have planned and that we want to implement. We need this lease off the FAI and we are working closely with them.

“Hopefully, we can get that and if we can get that, well then the future will be really bright for Cobh Ramblers and come our centenary year in 2022, hopefully, people can walk into the ground and see that after 100 years this club will really, really progress into something special.”

For a League of Ireland manager, these few weeks can be very hectic times indeed, as squads and plans are put in place for the 2019 season.

One player from last season that will not be around next term is Gordon Walker, who has departed to take up a scholarship with UCC. He broke into the Ramblers first team during the middle of the 2018 season and impressed on Cobh’s memorable EA Sports Cup final run.

In an offseason which commenced for them at the end of September, Ramblers are busy putting building blocks in place for the season upcoming. Henderson is hopeful of keeping the majority of players that helped Cobh reach their very first national cup final up in Derry.

The Ramblers boss is also looking to strengthen the first team squad as a whole so that a more sustained challenge and proper crack off promotion is had in 2019.

With that in mind, he feels there are talented players locally capable of making the step up which Chris Hull made last term, the man who scored the winning goal in that memorable victory over domestic kingpins Dundalk.

“We’d be very hopeful that we can keep the majority of them.

“What we have been doing is we have been scouring the leagues here in Cork. We have already identified three or four lads that we feel if their attitude is right, they could make a big impact on the First Division.

“So we can go and see them play well in games, but we need to find out if their attitude is right, will they adapt to a League of Ireland lifestyle?

“Is it something that they are really interested in? If they do that, then I feel we do have a few gems that could push us on.

“We can possibly look at getting one or two loan players in as well, with a bit of experience that can help us to push on,” Henderson added:

“We know where we fell down last year. We have identified those areas and now we are trying to improve them.

“I kept the squad small last year, I won’t be doing that this year because I felt people got a little bit too relaxed and comfortable in their positions.

“So that was on me. I don’t want a situation where players feel they are just going to be picked every week because there is no one there to challenge them.

“So we have to increase the size of the squad.

“Not just the size of the squad, we also have to increase the quality of the squad and make sure anyone playing on a Friday or a Saturday night for Cobh Ramblers, they play on merit and not because we don’t have anyone to step in for them.“

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