NEW players, new training facilities and a new pitch will hopefully bring new luck for Davin O’Neill’s Cobh Wanderers this season.
Playing in the MSL senior premier division, Wanderers will look to be challenging at the top and having got off to a good start in the cup competition, they are confident they can be competitive this season.
O’Neill has assembled a young but talented squad, and while he knows it will be a competitive season, he believes he has the players and backroom staff to give this season a real go.
“Our strategy for the season is to continue developing players both physically and technically with the aim of competing to a high standard of football this year,” said O’Neill.
“Pre-season was intense and we pushed the players hard from day one. Games in preseason so far have given us the opportunity to gel the team and introduce new players to the team.
“I'm pleased with the results in the cup competition as it means more games to come and build on things again.
"The performance levels have been good so far but still room for improvement and we will be aiming to do that and build on consistency.”
Each year the MSL is getting more and more exciting because of the constant transfer of players to various clubs.
Wanderers are another side who have signed heavily this season and O’Neill is happy with the side he has assembled.
“We as management are happy with the players we have signed for the coming season.
"Nathan O’Connell rejoins us from Cobh Ramblers seniors and he will bring natural talent with an eye for goal. For a young player he has such great ability to control games.
“Ciarán Griffin also rejoins us from Cobh Ramblers seniors and will bring goals to the team.
"He is great to hold the ball up and that's important as it brings others into the game.
“Sean Cummins joins us from Cork City U19 and will bring great defensive ability to the team.
"A left sided player with maturity beyond his years who communicates very well.
“Mark Power rejoins us from Rockmount and will bring great goalkeeping experience to the team.
"He is a great shot stopper and commands the back line well.
“Jordan Tarrant Lowry rejoins us having returned from overseas duty with the army.
"A versatile left footed player, a good communicator and willing runner.
“David O Sullivan joins us from the U18 Springfield Ramblers team. He is a great young player with a good attitude and eager to learn.
Alex Lynch, Adam Hastings Gilley and Dave Brennan join us from the junior team and are going to bring competition to the squad with all good attitude and work ethic and ability.
“Evan O’Leary joins us after returning from America and is a natural striker who will bring good hold up play and goals too.
Danny Gibson rejoins us from last year having left Mayfield and he will bring attacking threat, pace and goals.
"Overall we are very pleased with the team we have assembled.
“What we did at the end of last season, was look at the areas that we felt needed strengthening and then looked at potential players to add to the squad and we are lucky we have a number of key experienced players who work hard.
“It’s great that we have local former League of Ireland players who are now committed to the club and team as a whole.
"The focus is combining all the players and their qualities to have a full committed squad and that certainly will add another dynamic.
“We play Corinthians this weekend and that will be a good indicator of where we are. We are all really looking forward to it.
“I expect this year to be a very competitive league.
"We'll soon see which teams are involved at the top end and intend to be challenging up there ourselves.
"The standard last year was high so we're expecting even higher standards from our players this year.
“Pat Maher is my assistant. He brings a wealth of experience in MSL having played and managed with Corinthians winning three MSL titles as well as playing with Cobh Ramblers in his playing days.
"He has worked the team hard in preseason this year with great running sessions and also links up with shift workers who can't make training providing them with running tasks when they can't make training.
“Niall O’Rourke is a coach. He brings great knowledge of the game and experience with him having played abroad for years and with Cobh Ramblers here in his playing days and is great to have beside me on matchday.
“Pat McCarthy is our Goalkeeper Coach and works the keepers hard with good training drills.
"He brings great knowledge and experience for our keepers and helps me out with loads of other things on match days too.
“Kevin O’Neill helps out with everything the team needs to function properly and is always on hand to call for if anything is needed at the club.”
A stable training facility and pitch this season has already proved beneficial for O’Neill’s squad.
“Last year we had no training facilities as the AstroTurf was being built so we trained in different locations even sometimes in other towns which wasn't ideal but we got on with it.
"This year we have regular training slots on a fantastic purpose built AstroTurf in Stephen Ireland Astro facility in Old Church and are waiting for our new Grass pitch where we'll be playing once ready.
"We've also updated our gym in the clubhouse at Wanderers for players to use and this will be helpful in lots of ways for building strength and maintaining fitness levels.
"We are grateful to the club for such facilities, and these I believe will play a key role in how we perform this season.”