Cobh Ramblers dreaming again under Shane Keegan 

After a very difficult campaign last season, the East Cork club have picked up some impressive results in recent weeks
Cobh Ramblers dreaming again under Shane Keegan 

Cobh Ramblers players Michael McCarthy and Issa Kargbo at Markets Field after a win. Picture: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

COBH RAMBLERS were lost.

It was April 2022 and another good performance ended in a 3-2 defeat to close rivals Cork City at St Colman’s Park.

They managed to overturn a two-goal deficit, in front of over a thousand supporters, but a late header from Cian Coleman and a string of excellent saves by David Harrington condemned them to a fourth loss in five.

The club were struggling to find form, and this wasn’t a new problem.

In 2021, they finished third from bottom and non-league side Maynooth University Town knocked them out of the FAI Cup.

What made the sense of desperation worse was their run in 2020, which saw them denied a place in the promotion play-offs on the final night of the season.

It looked like everything was going in the right direction, especially with this coming in the aftermath of Cobh reaching their first ever senior national cup final in 2018.

But, football is a results-based business and the Ramblers were struggling to get something from a season that seemed to be over after just two months.

It was a slow slip down the pecking order, and things just didn’t seem to stop as a week in June saw manager Darren Murphy depart and Cork City beat them 1-0 at Turner’s Cross.

Not even 12 months later, Cobh are a club transformed, and they even have a trophy in the cabinet at St Colman’s Park.

That is the Munster Senior Cup and they won that by beating Cork City in the final last September at Turner’s Cross.

It mightn’t be the biggest piece of silverware that Irish football has to offer, but it is still one of the three up for grabs in the south of the country and Cobh won it with ease against their local rivals.


What happened to change the fortunes of Cobh? One thing that can be pinpointed is the appointment of Shane Keegan as manager.

Cobh Ramblers manager Shane Keegan. Picture: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile
Cobh Ramblers manager Shane Keegan. Picture: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

He is at the centre of the rebirth of the Ramblers, and he is only now getting started with his first full season at the club.

They started the year with three wins and a draw against promotion hopefuls Longford Town.

This run has left the club and their supporters dreaming of a top-half finish and a place in the promotion play-offs for the first time since 2016.

The manager thought about this just after seeing his team lose 1-0 to Galway United at St Colman’s Park, their first defeat of the season. Keegan used the moment of disappointment to reflect, and after a few seconds deliberating, he realised what turned things around.

“There’s a couple of things, obviously the strength of the squad. We’ve strengthened it significantly,” he said.

“We brought in half a dozen or so faces who have all gone into the starting 11 on a fairly regular basis. They are all performing for us, every last one of them.

“Thankfully, of all the signings that we brought in, every one of them seems to be performing to pretty high a level. There’s just a really good comradery and really good bond. Now, it’s easy to say that when you’re winning so it’s going to be a little bit more of a test after tonight’s result.”

Some of players he is referring to are forward Jack Doherty, Galway United loanee Wilson Waweru, and League of Ireland veteran Lee Steacy.

Jack Doherty of Cobh Ramblers celebrates a goal. Picture: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile
Jack Doherty of Cobh Ramblers celebrates a goal. Picture: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

Fan favourite defender Charlie Lyons has also returned to Cobh after spending a year in Galway.

The quartet have added a cutting edge that has made supporters excited after early season victories over Kerry, Wexford, and Treaty United.

Another thing that Keegan has put this down to is last season’s Munster Senior Cup success.

That gave the coach a platform to build from, and their 1-0 win over Cork City last September has acted as a springboard towards a bigger conquest.

“It was, it was,” he describes using the cup win as the foundation of this team.

This is all being said just a month into the new season, and anything can happen over the next eight months.

Right now in east Cork, Cobh are back and that is all that matters.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130

Have you downloaded your FREE ie logo  App?

People holding phone with App

It's all about Cork!

Have you downloaded your FREE ie logo  App?

It's all about Cork!

App Store LogoGoogle Play Logo
The Echo - Women in Sport Awards - Logo



Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Contact Us Cookie Policy Privacy Policy Terms and Conditions

© Evening Echo Ltd, Linn Dubh, Assumption Road, Blackpool, Cork. Registered in Ireland: 523713

Add to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more