Cobh Ramblers and Shane Keegan riding high in the First Division

East Cork club's progress will be tested on Friday when they host John Caulfield's Galway United
Cobh Ramblers and Shane Keegan riding high in the First Division

Cobh Ramblers manager Shane Keegan at Markets Field in Limerick. Picture: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

IT IS still early days in the First Division season but Cobh Ramblers and manager Shane Keegan are flying high.

Cobh Ramblers moved into second place and kept their unbeaten opening to the 2023 League of Ireland First Division season going with a Munster derby win over Treaty United on Friday night.

A brace from Jack Doherty and a Wilson Waweru goal kept the positive momentum that this Cobh team have built up going.

Three wins out of their four league games provide an illustration of the stamp Shane Keegan has put on Cobh Ramblers.

“It was really pleasing,” said Keegan at the Markets Field after his side’s victory.

“To be fair, the scoreline was a bit deceiving. That was a tight game and 50-50 for long periods of it.

“Our defenders did incredibly well to snuff out the half chances they got. Whereas almost every half chance we got, we managed to put the ball into the back of the net.

“It was definitely a better second-half performance than the first-half performance. But at the same time, I don’t think it was as bad a first-half performance as last week against Longford Town.

“There was a huge improvement in the second half. 

We tweaked the shape a little bit and we made a couple of changes. That is one of the most pleasing things about the season so far.

“It shows the competition for places that fellas are going in, Luke (Desmond) started the first three games and found himself out of the starting 11.

“He comes in and I thought he had a big impact on the game, a brilliant assist for one of Jack Doherty’s goals. Likewise, James O’Leary and Tiernan O’Brien gave us so much energy when the two of them came on.

“It is a very strong squad. Next weekend will be a brilliant test of that. Three of our next four games are against Galway, Waterford and Bray. So it is going to get a lot tougher for us over the next month.

“Hopefully we can still dig as deep and we need to make sure we get through the next four equally well-equipped.”

Next up is a top-of-the-table clash against John Caulfield’s Galway United at St Colman’s Park.

It promises to be an intriguing contest on St Patrick’s Day. Galway come into their trip to Cobh off the back of dishing out a 9-1 hammering defeat to Kerry FC.

Regardless of how the Galway game goes, the early signs are that Cobh are a much-improved team in the First Division this term.

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