Cobh Ramblers provided the shock of the round in the EA Sports Cup second round with a 0-1 victory against premier division opponents Limerick FC courtesy of a late Ben O’Riordan header. It was a bitterly disappointing performance from the home team who fielded a number of regular starters. Cobh were full value for their victory.
Surprisingly, Tommy Barrett named a strong side for the encounter with experienced players such as Billy Dennehy, Shane Duggan, Killian Cantwell and Tony Whitehead all featuring from the start. Shane Tracy also retained the midfield position he operated from in the second half against Bohemians. There was a great opportunity for Karl O’Sullivan who was selected on the left wing.
Captain Shane Duggan had the first chance of the game but his weak effort was saved by Cobh goalkeeper Adam Mylod. Danny Morrissey’s pull back picked out Barry Maguire inside the box but his looping shot was blocked.
Cobh bravely adopted a high press against their premier division opponents and should have taken a surprise lead when a sloppy pass from Tony Whitehead was intercepted by Cian Leonard but Limerick goalkeeper Tommy Holland denied the striker twice and managed to save a rebounded effort from Kevin Taylor.
On the half hour mark, the Shannonsiders spurned an unbelievable chance to take the lead. Shane Duggan regained possession in the final third before releasing Conor Ellis on the right hand side who in turn squared the ball to Danny Morrissey who somehow directed his effort wide from six yards.
The lively Cobh striker Cian Leonard was allowed to turn on the edge of the box but his shot was deflected wide by Tommy Holland. Stephen Henderson would certainly have been the happier manager at half-time. Limerick’s lethargic build up play helped Cobh immensely but the pressure exerted on the home side had to be commended.
Limerick’s approach play failed to drastically improve at the beginning of the second half although it took a superb headed intervention from Cobh right-back Charlie Fleming to prevent Killian Cantwell from giving Limerick the lead from a Shane Tracy free-kick.
Cobh number ten Denzil Fernandes created an opportunity for the Rams as great footwork allowed him to evade the tackle of two Limerick players but he could not find a teammate with his pull back to the penalty spot.
The visitors had the best chance of the second half as a thunderous strike from Cobh substitute Anthony McAlavey struck the crossbar with Limerick eventually clearing following a scramble.
The introduction of Mark O’Sullivan and Will Fitzgerald added urgency to the Limerick attack but they failed to trouble Mylod sufficiently.
Will Fitzgerald had a goal rightly disallowed as Conor Ellis had impeded Cobh goalkeeper Adam Mylod under a high ball.
As we neared the possibility of extra-time, Cobh Ramblers provided the shock when centre-back Ben O’Riordan powered home a header from a corner kick to send the substitutes bench into raptures. The Super Blues had no time to react to the goal as Cobh celebrated the upset and advanced to the quarter-final of the EA Sports Cup.
Limerick FC: Tommy Holland, Henry Cameron, Tony Whitehead, Killian Cantwell, Billy Dennehy, Barry Maguire (Will Fitzgerald 62), Shane Tracy, Shane Duggan, Danny Morrissey (Mark O’Sullivan 62), Karl O’Sullivan, Conor Ellis.
Subs not used: Brendan Clarke, Colm Walsh-O’Loughlen, Alan Murphy, Jeff McGowan, Ger Barry
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Cobh Ramblers: Adam Mylod, Charlie Fleming, Ben O’Riordan, James McSweeney, Darren Murphy, Cian Leonard (Andrew Wall), Pierce Phillips (Anthony McAlavey H/T), Denzil Fernandes, Ian Mylod , Stephen Christopher (David Hurley 77).
Subs not used: Paul Hunt, Jaze Kabia, Adam O’Sullivan.
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Referee: Anthony Buttimer