Keane's friendship with Tony Loughlan at Burnley was a factor in their decision to partner with Cobh

Keane's friendship with Tony Loughlan at Burnley was a factor in their decision to partner with Cobh

Cobh Ramblers chairman Bill O'Leary, with Burnley chief operating officer Matt Wiliams and represenatives of Welsh side Llandudno, Scotland's Ayr United, and Northern Ireland's Portadown at yesterday's partnership announcment at Turf Moor.

BURNLEY Chief Operating Officer Matt Williams has outlined how a connection to Cobh Ramblers and Manchester United legend Roy Keane was a positive selling point in the English Premier League side agreeing a partnership with the St Colman’s Park club.

Burnley first-team coach Tony Loughlan is a close friend of Keane and was a managerial assistant of Roy’s at Sunderland and Ipswich Town.

In a media briefing, Williams also described that the partnership with Cobh Ramblers will be of benefit to both clubs.

“We have fond memories of going to Fota on pre-season. 

"I think we've been there twice in six or seven years. So we are aware of the club,” said Williams.

“It helps that Roy Keane is good friends with one of our first-team coaching staff. 

"So he gives a positive comment about the club.” 

The new strategic partnership with Ramblers is understood to be for an initial period of two years.

The then Sunderland manager Roy Keane (left) with head coach Tony Loughlan during a training session at the Academy of Light training ground in Sunderland. 
The then Sunderland manager Roy Keane (left) with head coach Tony Loughlan during a training session at the Academy of Light training ground in Sunderland. 

Williams feels that from Burnley’s point of view, Cobh ticked the boxes in terms of what a meaningful partnership agreement should consist of.

“We wanted to partner with clubs we felt would fit with what we stand for, that are at the heart of their local communities, have a passionate fan base and have chairmen and directors, who like Alan Pace and his team are ambitious and constantly looking to improve.

“While there are clear benefits to the football side of the club, I believe there will also be significant benefits both operationally and commercially for all sides, none of us are naïve enough to think we know it all, and I am sure we can learn from our partner Clubs as much as they can learn from us.

“Our relationship with Cobh can be traced back to 1921 when the Clarets were crowned League Champions prompting the newly formed Club in Ireland to wear the famous Claret and Blue. 

"In addition they are currently managed by our former defender Stuart Ashton.” 

Meanwhile, Cobh Ramblers disappointing start to the season continued over the weekend as they fell to defeat against Athlone.

It was the fourth league loss in a row for Ramblers, who are now starting to get cast adrift at the bottom end of the First Division.

A Killian Cooper goal had initially given Ramblers the lead, with Conor Drinan going close to extending the away side’s advantage.

But Athlone were to come from behind to secure the victory through goals by Derek Daly and James Doona, which leaves Ramblers reeling after yet another unsatisfying result this campaign.

Next up for Ramblers is the derby with Cork City, before the league takes a mid-season break.

Cobh will hope an injury to John Kavanagh is not too serious, after he was stretched off in Athlone.

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