COBH RAMBLERS are continuing preparations for the new League of Ireland season, which kicks off in late March.
Unlucky to be squeezed out of the playoff places last season, the East Cork club will be hoping to make an even bigger impression this time around under manager Stuart Ashton.
The good news so far is that the majority of last year's squad have already resigned and the club are also currently pursuing a number of targets. In terms of departures, midfielder David Hurley has moved to Galway on a full-time basis while striker Darragh Crowley, who was on loan last term, has returned to Cork City.
Cobh finished the campaign in mid-table with 27 points, winning eight of their 18 games, Although Galway - just above them - only enjoyed seven wins, the westerners found the net on four more occasions and this proved vital, as goal difference came into play. In a shortened 18 game season and with a condensed table, small margins were crucial.
Next season they'll have a Cork derby to look forward to, with Cork City relegation to Division 1.
"We were just a little bit shy in the goals scored column last season," commented industrious club chairman Bill O'Leary, Defensively, with the exception of the UCD game, we had a very solid record and in fact only conceded four goals in nine away games.
"So, hopefully we can build again on that factor in the new season. It is hoped to strengthen the squad again in the coming weeks. Stuart Ashton is at the helm again as manager whilst Academy coach Ivan Bevan is also in place and overall we have a strong spine of local academy coaches and players."
Ramblers also recently unveiled their excellent new website and a new mascot, who proved a big hit as the club held a pre-Christmas socially-distanced gathering for members of the local community at St Colman's Park.
The venue will hopefully see crowds back to cheer on the team sometime during what will be a groundbreaking season for the club.
Further development work is also on the job list at St Colman's Park, as the club considers a number of different initiatives in the countdown to their big birthday.
Despite all the drawbacks that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to sporting clubs across the region, it's very much an upbeat mood for Cobh Ramblers as they embark on what they hope will be a very successful period both on and off the field.