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PREVIEW | Cobh Ramblers v Dundalk

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The highly anticipated FAI Cup second round meeting between Cobh Ramblers and Dundalk takes place this Sunday at 5pm in St Colman’s Park, with live coverage available on the Watch LOI platform.

Cobh come into the game in flying form, having picked up home wins over both Wexford and Longford last week as the First Division play-off race truly heats up.  The Lilywhites on the other hand have lost their last two outings, and their FAI Cup victory over Waterford is their only win since the post-lockdown restart.

Dundalk are more than familiar with the trip to Cobh by now, with this being the third season in a row that the sides have met in one of the Cup competitions. The 2018 EA Sports Cup semi-final win for Cobh lives long in the memory, when Chris Hull’s strike secured a famous 1-0 for the Rams. The League of Ireland Premier Division holders will have new manager Filippo Giovagnoli in charge for the first time on Sunday, assisted by Giuseppe Rossi. With the likes of Patrick Hoban, Patrick McEleney and Michael Duffy at Dundal’s disposal, toppling the Louth men will be no easy task.

Ramblers manager Stuart Ashton has no suspensions for the fixture, while Pierce Phillips (knee), Darragh Crowley (ankle) and Greg Henry (knee) are all expected to be involved having missed training earlier in the week as a precaution. Goalkeeper Paul Hunt will not be in the squad while Kevin Taylor is also unavailable. Due to shortened season as a result of Covid-19, there are no longer cup replays at this stage and the tie must finish on the day, with extra-time and a penalty shootout to be played if required.

Speaking to the media ahead of the game, Stuart Ashton knows how big a challenge Sunday will be but is relishing the opportunity nonetheless,

“From our point of view, we are treating it the same. We know the quality that they have shown over the last few years. They were FAI Cup finalists last year, they won the league last year, the whole country knows how good they are and they don’t suddenly become a bad team. We have to be at our very best and hope that we get a rub of the green to go out and cause an upset.  We’re going into the game with confidence, scoring goals and keeping clean sheets, which we are delighted with. Our performances in other games were leading up to these results and now hopefully we’re on the right track. But the work doesn’t stop here and any little mistakes against Dundalk will be costly.”

He also spoke about Ramblers’ history in the tournament and how that helps to motivate his young side,

“Everyone always loves a good cup run. Here in Cobh especially, the famous FAI Cup run of 1983 is very special and now it’s up to us to carry that mantle forward. Unfortunately we keep drawing Dundalk at this stage so that doesn’t make it easy but the players a looking forward to it. It’s a challenge for them, going up against some of the top professionals in the country, but our lads want to test themselves against the best.”

Midfielder Dave Hurley also gave his thoughts on the game, in particular how the squad’s strength in depth is coming to the fore of late,

“There’s great competition in the squad at the moment and it gives Stu and the staff a selection headache, but it’s a good problem to have. You look at the Longford game last week, we were able to bring on the likes of Turner and O’Leary as substitutes. To have subs like that is unbelievable and it’s brilliant to have a squad like that. Everyone is fighting for places in training and it’s driving us all on as a team.”

He also spoke about the streaming services which are bringing games to fans, even behind closed doors,

“The Relivvit stream so far that the club are doing has been brilliant. You have fans tuning in from across the world and we are reaching an audience who mightn’t have seen us before. With WatchLOI showing this game it’s another chance to show that we aren’t just small little Cobh. We’re a team to be reckoned with and hopefully we can continue to show that on Sunday.”

The Watch LOI link to view the match is available below. Kick-off is at 17:00 in St Colman’s Park

Watch LOI

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