DURING his past few years at the club, Ian Turner feels that Cobh Ramblers have progressed massively both on and off the pitch.
With the 2021 League Of Ireland First Division season edging ever closer, Ramblers have been getting plenty of praise for what they have been doing in the local community.
As far as Turner is concerned, he is hoping he and the Cobh players can do their bit and produce the goods on the field of play.
“It is great to see where the club is now. Even in the short space of time, you can see off the pitch they have got huge plans. They really put in the work and you know it’s paying off.
“We just want to make sure we can put in the performances on the pitch to match the ambitions off the pitch.
“That’s all we can do. I think you can’t really get sidetracked as a player, you need to know where your role is.
“So we know we just need to perform on the pitch. But it is good to know the club is going places and if you want to be a part of it, you have to perform on the pitch.
“For me it has been brilliant for the last three years. We have been growing and growing. Even in terms of players, you can see each year everyone is improving and getting better.
“Everyone is wanting to stay at the club. So it is really positive and hopefully this year we can take it to the next level.”
The 2021 First Division season starts off in mouth-watering fashion at Turners Cross on March 26, with a clash between local rivals Cork City and Cobh Ramblers.
It promises to be a keenly contested affair. Although City are rebuilding and looking to bounce back after relegation, Cobh have been quietly going about their business in recent times, picking up some impressive away results last term as they narrowly missed out the playoffs on goal difference.
On both sides, there are plenty of familiar faces that will have a history with their opposition. City have former Ramblers players in the likes of Paul Hunt, Beineón O’Brien-Whitmarsh, Cian Coleman, Darragh Crowley and Gordon Walker.
While from the Cobh perspective, the likes of Pierce Phillips, John Kavanagh and Ian Turner all lined out for City in the recent past.
Of course, the Ramblers boss Stuart Ashton himself has a long association with Cork City also, initially as a player but also very prominently as a coach developing plenty of talent on Leeside.
Dec Coleman also was assistant manager of the Cork City U19s side that reached the UEFA Youth League and played against Italian giants AS Roma.
For Turner, who also has had spells at Limerick and St Patrick’s Athletic during his career, all focus now is on Cobh Ramblers and to try mounting a strong promotion push.
Looking ahead to that season opener, Turner declares it is a clash which all at Ramblers are eagerly anticipating.
To get Cork City in Turner’s Cross on the first night of the season is just perfect for us.
“Obviously the pressure is going to be on them and they are expected to go straight back up.
“We just have to concentrate on ourselves. But in terms of if you want to pick one fixture to play as the opening game of the season, I think 90% of the Cobh fans and players would have wanted that.
“In terms of last season, we were disappointed with how it finished. Our goal was to get into the playoffs.
“So we have got to park that and Stuey has made that fairly clear to us and that this is a new season.
“It was very encouraging that we were able to keep most of the squad. If we can add a couple, which we have in training at the moment, add a bit of quality and hopefully kick on a little bit better.
“Our goal is just as it was last year, to get into the playoffs and to get promoted. It is going to be a tough division. But we know what we need to do and we know how we need to play.”
In the coming weeks, Ramblers will play Premier Division opposition in pre-season fixtures in the form of Shamrock Rovers, St Patrick’s Athletic and Longford Town.
Then all Cobh eyes will be on how events transpire in that mouth-watering contest in Turner’s Cross on the opening night against City.