Cobh Ramblers chase third league win against bottom side Athlone

Darren Murphy's side have endured a difficult season in the First Division
Cobh Ramblers chase third league win against bottom side Athlone

James O'Leary, Cobh Ramblers, in action against Longford Town at St Colman's Park. Picture: Larry Cummins

THE mid-season break is officially over for Cobh Ramblers; this evening; they will travel to Athlone Town for another important First Division clash (7.45pm).

Time will tell if the two-week period without a competitive match came at a good time for Ramblers. Their last outing was the 4-2 loss to Longford Town at St Colman’s Park, a match in which they had taken an early lead.

Ultimately though, they couldn’t hold on to the lead and they slumped to their 11th defeat of the season after just 16 games with their winless run now at six.

So, was the time off needed for the squad to work on the issues that have plagued their campaign or did they need another league game as soon as possible in order to end that wretched run and finally build some confidence?

It’s difficult to say.

One thing is for certain, as their manager Darren Murphy admitted after that loss to Longford, is that they need to start producing improved performances quickly.

“We need to be better after the break,” insisted Murphy at the time.

“It’s tough, clearly. It’s not nice to be down near the bottom of the table and we know that.

“Eleven games lost; as you can see sometimes we look like we are in the games, we are putting it up to every team in the league, I don’t fear any team, we don’t fear teams.

“We have just got to tidy up the mistakes because that is essentially what is costing us.

“It’s all well and good building and adding young players, but we need results; they have to come and if they are not coming then we are going to have to reassess things.

The structure and organisation are there, we need to work on keeping the ball better. They’re a young squad, but they are going to have to learn.

“It’s just that little bit of control, it’s that little bit of learning from players, that decision that sometimes you should keep it and try to go forward rather than giving it away.

“We need to really start concentrating for a full 90 minutes. Everyone needs to be switched on because if they do that we are talking about playing with desire and hunger.

 Cobh Ramblers captain Jason Abbott. Picture: Larry Cummins
Cobh Ramblers captain Jason Abbott. Picture: Larry Cummins

“You can see something being built there. We can see the potential, we can see the future so it’s just about tightening up on the mistakes.

“Sometimes we have to sit in and defend rather than counter and that’s just a learning curve.”

The good news for Cobh is that tonight they take on an Athlone side that is in a worse position in the league standings and are also in an even worse vein of form.

Bottom side Athlone have yet to record a victory this season and have lost on 14 occasions while both of Ramblers’ wins have come against Town (each 3-2).

While those two clashes have been an exciting watch for the neutral on LOI TV, Murphy and his players will gladly settle for a boring encounter as long as they emerge with a much-needed win.

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