ANOTHER landmark moment for Cobh Ramblers Football Club tonight as their women’s side takes to the St Colman’s Park surface for a competitive game for the first time.
As the club ramps up its preparations to potentially join the Women’s National League in 2022, this evening they will host Lakewood Athletic in the Cork Women’s and Schoolgirls Soccer League Senior Premier Division.
Next year, all going according to plan, Springfield Ramblers will resume their place in the local league with Cobh moving into the WNL with the two running as separate entities.
“We have definitely been looking forward to this,” says Mary McDonnell, who serves as the club’s right-back, captain, and on their committee.
“Training has been brilliant, our sessions have been very good so we are ready but Lakewood will be tough opposition.
“They know how to play but I think we showed last year... Even in the game against Riverstown in the cup semi-final - they beat us but they are one of the best teams in the league - but it was only 1-0 and I think they were shocked by the performance we put in.
“If we can bring those performances into this season I think we will give everyone a shock.
“We will challenge, we will go out and contest every game and we will definitely come away with some shock results.
“We will want to make a bit of a statement. Our team now, all of us won’t be going on to the National League but some girls will so we definitely have at least five or six players that will want to make a name for themselves this season for next year and that will help us push on.
“For me personally being from Cobh, to play for your home club and to captain your home club is something special.
“When you look at our team I think we have four or five out-of-town players and all the rest are local that have come up through the ranks with Springfield Ramblers so it shows that the talent is there in east Cork.
Last year playing for Springfield Ramblers we showed pride in the crest but to play under the name Cobh Ramblers now… it’s the big name in the town, all of us grew up knowing Cobh Ramblers so it is special.”
The process to join the WNL is still ongoing although the Rams recently stopped taking applications for the managerial and coaching roles for their potential senior and U17 side for next season as they now begin to interview the candidates.
Until then, Steve Mulcahy will take charge of the side for their season opener tonight and will revert to managing the Springfield seniors next year.
“Everyone is buzzing about getting up there and playing in the Cobh Ramblers jersey,” he told the Echo.
“It will be huge, not just for Cobh but for east Cork in general. There is a huge interest in what we are trying to do, we want to have football for all and to have another option.
“There are enough good players in Cork to have two National League teams. Our academy has grown at an exponential rate. We have close to 100 girls in our academy from U11 downwards and then we have three U13 teams, U15s, U17s, and then leading into the adults.
“We have seen a lot of growth especially in the last two or three years which is great. Springfield Ramblers are just schoolboys and schoolgirls, we didn’t have the facilities set up to play adults as Cobh Ramblers at the time but that is coming into effect now.”
Cobh’s bid to join the WNL received an extra boost recently as similar to the men, it was announced that they will be sponsored by Belvelly Castle for this campaign.
A statement read: “Cobh Ramblers FC are delighted to confirm our women’s teams jerseys will also feature the Belvelly Castle logo for the coming season in the Cork Women’s league.
“Women’s football continues to go from strength to strength and as a club, we aim to provide that platform to the National League for all female players in the coming years.”
So with everything going well off the pitch, tonight is the Cobh Ramblers Women’s opportunity to showcase what they can do on it.