CORK CITY and Cobh Ramblers will today find out the dates for the first SSE Airtricity League Cork derbies since 2008.
The fixtures for the coming First Division season will be published by the FAI this afternoon (5pm), though there is still a level of uncertainty as to the make-up of the second tier for the 2021 campaign.
The Cork pair, Bray Wanderers, UCD, Galway United, Shelbourne, Cabinteely, Athlone Town, and Wexford will definitely be involved, but the deadline for licensing decisions isn’t until later in the month.
Treaty United of Limerick are a new entity seeking a place in the First Division and will almost definitely be included in the draft fixture-list, especially as Friday saw the confirmation of former Limerick FC manager Tommy Barrett as boss. Treaty have Conn Murray as chairman and are set to play their home games at Markets Field.
Their inclusion would bring the number of teams in the First Division to 10 – and ensure nine Munster derbies — but there has yet to be a decision made regarding Shamrock Rovers II, who finished eighth last season.
If the Hoops’ reserves were to be added, and the number raised to 11, it may aid the licence application of another new team, Dublin County, in order to have an even number of teams. However, it is thought that Rovers and Dublin County are unlikely to feature.
The last time that City and Ramblers were in the same division was 13 years ago, after Cobh’s promotion to the Premier Division.
Back then, the sides, managed by Stephen Henderson and Alan Mathews respectively, played out a 0-0 draw at a packed St Colman’s Park in March before City triumphed 5-0 at Turner’s Cross with Dave Mooney scoring twice. The clubs’ third meeting, in Cobh in September, was a 1-1 draw, but Ramblers were relegated at the end of the season.
At the end of 2009, City were demoted when the club was unable to secure a Premier Division licence but, while they spent two years in the First Division before earning promotion back to the top flight, this coincided with a period where Ramblers were not in the league, with the club returning in 2013.
The teams will meet at least three times in the league, with the chance of another clash if both were to make the end-of-season play-offs, in which the sides from second place to fifth compete for the chance to take on the club finishing in ninth place in the Premier Division.
With former City boss John Caulfield guiding a Galway United side that are fancied to push for promotion, it should make for an interesting season.