A MUNSTER Senior Cup semi-final for Darren Murphy’s Cobh Ramblers side after they defeated Bandon last weekend is another opportunity to give players some game time before the season kicks off.
With plenty of new signings, Murphy is delighted with the extra games in pre-season to see players and he is happy with the team he has assembled.
“Pre-season is going very well; we have had plenty of pitch time and the games have given us a chance to look at all our players so that has been great,” said Murphy.
“We have brought in young talent with a lot of potential and we have brought in some experienced lads also and I always believe you need to have that balance.
“We have had lads come up from the academy to play in some pre-season games and that is important for everyone at the club to see that there is a clear pathway to the first team.
“Players that are doing well will always be rewarded. There is a lot of competition for places in the squad and as the season unfolds I am sure we will see some great players on display in St Colman’s Park.
As always, there have been players leave the club since last season and it’s a tough one to have to let any player go, but the door is not closed in Cobh Ramblers for any player.
“Each player has time to go and process the decision and we are hoping they say to themselves they were wrong about me and to work hard to get themselves another opportunity.
“Ian Turner retired from League of Ireland football and what a professional he was, a great lad on and off the field and I hope he returns to the League of Ireland again in some capacity as he has a lot to offer.
“Overall, we are happy with the squad we have. We are happy that we have had academy players in training with us in pre-season and happy that we have attracted players from abroad to train with us.
“The future is bright in Cobh Ramblers for players and we are all really excited for the season to begin.”
Cobh kick off their season away to Longford on February 19 and this is expected to be as tough a game as they will have all season.
“We expect a competitive game from Longford, they have just come down from the premier and would be expected to be one of the teams who would be in contention to go back up and I am sure their fans will expect the same.
“However, our lads need to see this as a challenge and it’s a great way to test yourself against a very good opponent from day one.
“The first division is always going to be competitive because of the value of the prize.
“Each club/player will earn a chance to play in the top league that Ireland has to offer and that’s something worth fighting for and that certainly is our aim this season.
“Our aim is to have a successful season. We will be competitive and we will work hard, we will compete with the best clubs, footballers and coaches this country has to offer and at the end, hopefully, we can be happy that we worked hard to try and achieve all this.
“We have managed to keep the same backroom team as last year and they play such an important role in the club.
“They are all passionate about helping the players be the best they can be.
“For myself, I am learning every day and every session. It has been a great learning experience so far and I am sure I will learn even more this year.”
With Covid restrictions lifted and grounds fully open, Murphy stresses the importance of fans and the excitement about seeing a full St Colman’s Park for the season ahead.
“Fans are so important to the game in creating an atmosphere and I hope we see some good crowds back in Colman’s Park this year.
“They have always been a great support and they played such an important role, some time’s helping the team get over the line. It will be great for the younger lads especially to experience an atmosphere that they may not have done so yet.”