THE last few weeks have been productive for Danny O’Connell and Cobh Ramblers.
Ramblers make the trip to Athlone Town tonight night looking to end the season on a high with another positive result.
After his well-taken goal during the win over champions Shelbourne last time out, former Avondale United man O’Connell will be looking to get on the scoresheet up in the Midlands, having also scored at Cabinteely in the previous away game.
Speaking to The Echo, O’Connell reflected on the victory over Shels.
“We had a positive week’s training and we had a good performance against Shelbourne. For the team, it was just nice to turn that corner and get a deserved win at home in front of the fans.
“It was nice for Darren Murphy to get that win at home, and for us as well.”
As an attacker, O’Connell has been working with Cork City legend John O’Flynn, who has been a part of the Cobh coaching staff in recent months.
“He has been excellent and I’d say the same for Conor Meade. Flynny has had an unbelievable career with City.
“I played for Cork City for a short spell when I was about 20 and I could see just in his finishing, coming towards the end of his career, he was still unbelievable.
“In training, it is hard to talk about it because it hasn’t come together on the pitch and it hasn’t reflected the good work being done in training.
“Flynny is just very good at recognising what I am and what I need to work on. During games and training, he is always giving me pointers. He has been brilliant; the same with Conor Meade.”
O’Connell also spoke about life working under Murphy and the Ramblers team which includes the likes of Fran Rockett, Meade and O’Flynn.
“I came in halfway through the season and I was grateful that Stuey(Ashton) brought me in.
“Then there was a change in management. Since Darren came, I have to say it was really positive and training was good and it was intense.
“I think we just weren’t able to match that with results.
“Why couldn’t we do that? It was a bit unlucky and we had a lot of injuries and suspensions.
There were a lot of individual mistakes and I put myself right up there with that. From there, it’s easy to spiral when your confidence is shot.
“What I will say about Darren and the lads is that they kept the belief in the squad and the team. Every week when we came into training they were able to lift us.
“They told us that you can’t wallow and just lie down and give up for the rest of the season. Just to turn that around for the last few games, there has been a great positive attitude in training.
“The body language has kind of turned. How we talk to each other, it was all encouragement.
“I think we worked a lot on team shape. From Cabinteely and Shels, it was the same kind of shape we had.
“That made it a bit harder to be beaten and everyone knew their roles even if another player came into the starting 11.
“That’s a credit to Darren and the management team but also to the players.”
Looking ahead to the Athlone clash, O’Connell added: “Everyone is going into training now and they want to be on the bus for that game. They want to be a part of it.
“Darren has rotated a lot of the team in the last five/six games because he has to see everyone because he needs to know who is he going to keep next year.
“Even though it is the last game of the season you can’t drop the standards. You might say you are not playing for much, but you are.
“You want to show Darren and your team-mates that I want to be here next year and I don’t want to be here just to be in the bottom half of the league, I want to be here to drive us on.
“So I think we will go to Athlone and we will want to win that game; it’s as simple as that.”