COBH RAMBLERS midfielder Pierce Phillips will be hoping 2021 will see further progression for the St Colman’s Park club.
He felt making the move to Cobh was best in terms of his own footballing journey and he will be hoping to play his part in a Ramblers promotion push over the coming months.
Tonight, Phillips will face an opposition he is very familiar with in Cork City. He played in a very talented City U19 side in the UEFA Youth League in 2016.
Although making a handful of appearances for the City first team, he moved elsewhere to obtain more regular first-team football.
Ahead of the 2020 season, Phillips made the move to Ramblers for the next stage of his footballing development.
Last term was a shortened campaign. But Phillips was a key performer and Cobh showed plenty of signs of progress.
“I am happy enough to be fair,” Phillips tells The Echo about life at Ramblers. “The main thing for me was getting games under my belt and that is what I did last season, just getting back enjoying my football really.
“But there are a lot of areas to improve from last season, that is what I am going to aim for this season. Hopefully the squad we have will help me to do that as well.”
Ramblers last term fell just short on the final day in their quest to reach the promotion playoffs.
With the core of the 2020 squad staying on for another season, along with some decent additions who should provide good competition for places, there is a determination in the Cobh camp to kick on in 2021.
“Seeing that the majority of the squad did stay and we were able to add to the squad, it is definitely a sign of progression.
“We were minutes away from making the playoffs last year, just that final game caught us really against Shamrock Rovers II at home).
“So obviously the goal for this year is to go one step further because we are not aiming for anything less than that really. Overall the squad we have this year should help us try and make that push.
“I think the primary aim is to get into that playoff spot. That was the aim last year and we went down to the last minutes of the final game that we missed out.”
The First Division season starts in mouth-watering fashion at Turner’s Cross when Cork City and Cobh Ramblers face-off for the first time in a competitive league encounter since 2008.
It should be an intriguing and keenly contested affair between the local rivals.
“I suppose it was nearly scripted,” says Phillips on facing City in the local derby. “It is a good one to start off with especially out in Turner’s Cross. So hopefully we can show up there and get a result.
“I think what we really took in terms of positives from last year, going up to Longford and getting a 1-0 win and also in Galway the same when we really needed it.
There were a lot of games we were able to grind out results and I think that is a good sign.
“So there is no fear really going to any team that we are playing home or away because we know we can get them results, once we play the way we can.”
The First Division overall will be the most competitive it has been in many a year.
But the ambition and determination in the Ramblers camp is to be right in the promotion picture for 2021.
“Cork City coming down, they are a massive club to be in the First Division. So straight away themselves and Shels are adding serious quality to the league.
“There are a lot of teams there going to be thinking they want to go up. So it is going to be very competitive overall.
“Treaty United coming into the league have put a decent squad together. There isn’t going to be a single easy game to be honest.”
Before this interview concludes, Phillips describes to this reporter how much it would mean if he was to help get Cobh Ramblers into the top tier of domestic Irish football?
“It would be unbelievable. We are a very tight-knit group. For the club it has been a while since they were in the Premier Division.
“So it would be unbelievable really for everyone involved.”