In this post we will finish off the 2019 season with 3 home leagues games, versus Drogheda (4th), Shelbourne (1st) and Athlone Town (10th), plus a couple of cheeky friendlies v local opponents.
September was quite a mixed month, W1, D2 in the league plus a loss to Galway in the FAI Cup, so the stats were rather mixed.
Really nice attribute rises in September, Adam Mylod really benefiting from the game time, James O’Driscoll & Stephen O’Connor in the yout setup doing bits too.
- Passing & Crossing – Underwhelming passing stats, with nobody over 80% completion or 2 key passes/game. Daire Doherty completing over 20% crosses as the lone man up top is very interesting, maybe allow him to drift out wide.
- Heading – Good completion stats from McSweeney & O’Riordan, no so for Evan Murphy. Maybe I should be looking at him as a Cover option?
- Tackling & Interceptions – All 3 centre back/DM’s having > 4 interceptions per game is very good.
- Shooting, Assists, Chances, Dribbling – Only real plus is Eoin Porter creating > 1.5 chances per game. He will be playing a bit more as a playmaker rather than a BBM ongoing,
- Fouls, Mistakes, Offsides – Nothing much to report on.
An OK summary of September’s performance – In the main pretty pleased. Can’t wait for the transfer window TBH, think I can make this into a playoff team next season.
The Dynamics are good (Cohesion Average, Dressing Room Good, Support Good) and I’ve been able to offer Charlie Fleming a contract!!! Currently he’s rated as our 2nd best player so that’s pretty huge.
The 4th October was a free Friday, so I set up a friendly v Ringmahon Rangers, who are currently top of the Munster Senior League ( http://www.munsterseniorleague.ie/league/142501/ ), going with a new tactic as a test.
A narrow diamond press – Our midfield is pretty strong so short passing, high tempo in possession, urgent press out. I might drop the tempo down a bit. This effectively works a bit like a Vertical Tiki Taka, so it should be interesting, even against non-league opponents to see what the possession and passing stats are. Ringmahon went with a 4-2-2-2 2 DM Narrow, so a battle down the centre of the park.
FT Cobh Ramblers 3 (Henry 13, Hanrahan 58, Doherty 85) Ringmahon 0
A decent result, decent number of shots on target, lots of chances, good possession but on 73% passes complete….On short passing I’d expect that a lot higher, but maybe we aren’t good enough at passing/low vision etc. to do that. This might be a tactic for tougher opponents, defend tight, keep the ball when we have it, we will see.
A biggie for us, Charlie Fleming signs to the end of next season. £35/wk more than his previous contract but still good value for a quality right wing-back.
Cobh U19 drew 1-1 with Clonmel Town, 17 yo striker Paul Murphy with the goal.
We’ve also had Shane Supple, our Goalkeeping coach re-sign at £35/wk until the end of 2020 – I checked the staff search as I always do before these contract extensions and he was right at the top end of the goalkeeping coaching stats.
Backup defender Charlie Lyons has signed a new contract to the end of next season. A £5 rise, 2.5* current, 4/5* Potential, he may push into the team next season.
Ben O’Riordan has also signed – 3* Current, 5* potential, he will be getting game time as a DM or in a back 3. Another good signing.
Lastly Kevin Taylor has signed for another year. 2.5* current, 4/5* potential, our current best left back who can cover Charlie Fleming on the right, A useful signing at £50/wk.
11th October 19:45 – Cobh Ramblers v Drogheda Utd
Drogheda ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drogheda_United_F.C. ) make the long journey from the Co.Louth/Meath border, 30 minutes north of Dublin for this Friday evening match. They have been perennials in the Premier Division in Ireland from 2002 until recently, being relegated in 2015, gaining promtion back to the Premier Division in 2016, relegated in 2017, before finishing 4th in 2018 and IRL 2nd in 2019, losing in the playoffs to Finn Harps 2-1, meaning a 3rd season in the First Division beckons in 2020.
In game they are 4th, in the playoff spots, but have been on a poor run of form, last winning In July v Wexford, losing 5 competitive games (Including a penalty defeat to us in the FAI Cup 1st round) and drawing 1 since. Their scout report is formidable though, up there with Galway, so they definitely have the players to do damage. Bray Wanderers are only 2 points behind them now so this is a must win for them. We pretty much have nothing to play for now so I will stay with the 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow Press.
Hanrahan & Leonard start up top as a PF/AF combination, pressing forward doing the donkey work, AF being Johnny on the spot. Hurley & Mulgannon are the Carilleros, shuttling between the lines and generally being awkward. Everybody else is as is. Drogheda go with their normal 4-4-2 wide, hoping our 4 v 2 overload in central midfield will cause them issues.
FT Cobh Ramblers 0 Drogheda Utd 1 (Chris Lyons 56) Att 302 (61 Away)
An almost kit-clash today, and an almost 22-second goal to Cobh; a rapid Cobh start to the game all in all, we could have been 3 up inside 5 minutes if not for the Drogheda keeper Luca Gratzer. Lots of chances to Cobh, but poor finishing letting us down. A really good first half though, 0-0 but 58% possession, 12 shots (Though only 5 on target) and 79% pass completion. Drogheda don’t really look like they are at the races… We know what that means in the second half don’t we!!
The inevitable – Drogheda go 1-0 up in the 56th minute – Chris Lyons with a volleyed finish from a deep cross, pretty much out of nowhere. Doherty on for Hanrahan, wingbacks onto attack, positive from balanced, underlaps on. Then O’Riordan goes to a back 3, wingbacks up, 3-4-1-2, trying to get an opening. Henry on for Hurley just before 70. Turner on for Fleming, up to Defensive Winger on Support. And we had chances, Leonard hitting the post in the 81st minute whilst clear on goal, but it wasn’t to be. A 1-0 loss whilst bossing the game.
Stats-wise we had possession, pass completion, chances all on our side, very promising for this formation in my opinion, if we had forwards who could stick the ball away (And if 1-on-1’s weren’t so bad in the ME)
Interestingly Drogheda goalkeeper Luca Gratzer takes over from Adam Mylod as the most efficient keeper in the league since I started compiling xg Data, with regards to the least goals conceded per shot on target.
Drogheda, Longford & Bray are all in the mix for the playoff spots, Wexford continue their pull away from the bottom with a comprehensive win away at Longford.
The day after our game Galway & Shelbourne played out a 0-0 – Galway were on top but couldn’t get the crucial goal, and as such Shelbourne is still 3 points clear with 2 games left. Guess who plays them next……………
On the 15th October Limerick & Cabinteely played out a 2-2 draw – this means with 2 games left we can only finish 7th now, being 7 points clear of Limerick in 8th and 8 points behind Cabinteely in 6th. This means £7,750 prize money. We are currently £7,550 in the red, but with 3 more home games this season (2 league & a friendly) we may break even – hopefully enough for me to go for my first coaching badge…….
Friday 18th was also free, so I got a friendly v UCC (Univesrity College Cork) to give the 4-4-2 Narrow another run-out.
FT Cobh Ramblers 2 (Evan Murphy 19, Leonard 84) U.C.C 1 (Fraher 41)
Pretty poor, though if you look at the stats there were 8 blocked shots today. Nice to see Cian Leonard score a 1-on-1 though.
Our U19 took Maynooth Town to the cleaners in a friendly, 6-2, goals from Ian Turner (2), Bri Murphy, Steven Nolan, 18 yo midfielder Michael O’Rourke & 18 yo striker Connor Farrelly.
25th October – Cobh Ramblers v Shelbourne
Shelbourne ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelbourne_F.C. ) arrive at St. Colmans Park after a trip from Central Dublin for this Friday Night game. They have been a mainstay of the First Division since 2014, and IRL were promoted as winners in the 2019 season, so their in game position at the top of the table is to be expected. They were champions-or 2nd through the early 2000’s until issues with debt led them to being demoted to the First Division in 2007. They could definitely be described as a ‘Sleeping Giant’ of Irish football.
They come into today’s game knowing a win will almost certainly assure them of the title, being 3 points and 9 goals clear of Galway in 2nd.
Their scout report is obscene – not one of our players would get on the bench, so I’m not expecting anything today, but i want to make it tough for them.
O’Riordan is out after 4 yellows got him banned for a game, so I’ve reverted to a 3-5-2 – Charlie Lyons in at the back, Porter back into central midfield, Doherty on Defend up front, with the other 2 midfielders scurrying around as BWM’s. Not many instructions, just go out an be a nuisance. Shelbourne start with their usual 4-4-2.
FT Cobh Ramblers 1 (Doherty 19) Shelbourne 0 Att 310 (65 Away)
The difference in class wasn’t particularly obvious – Cobh had plenty of the ball in the first 10 minutes. Shelbourne looked a bit nervous TBH. And the breakthrough came in the 19th minute – A Leonard cross (He looked off when he got the ball initially) was powerfully headed home by Doherty. 1-0, and we were good for the lead and playing some really nice football. And that’s how the half finished – 53% possession, but both teams only had 1 shot on target – our issue is headers not being good enough (Cian Leonard in the main, even with his 13 Headers attribute)
The second half began with Shelbourne on the front foot, as would be expected with their season in the balance, but Cobh still had chances and possession, and played some lovely football. Henry on for Hurley on 65. BWM FTW!! Ryan Keogh for Mulgannon on 70 (Keogh is a 16 yo DM/CM, 2* current, 4/5* Potential with brilliant mentals for his age – 16 Teamwork, 15 Bravery, 12 Work Rate). It wasn’t a case of hanging-on here, we were definitely an attacking threat. Final sub on 83, Hanrahan on for Daire Doherty, who went off to a standing ovation. The time ticked away, and you were waiting for a sucker punch…..but it never came!!!!!!! 1-0 Win v top of the table, so proud of the boys, and we have a new formation/style that works!!!!
And we were good for the win – by chances, possession, pass completion, tackles and headers. A superb day at the office! So many key passes today, Eoin Porter with 7 alone! Dominant. Charlie Lyons with MotM as well, a brilliant performance.
Galway will be beside themselves – 2 dropped points v Bray Wanderers meaning the title is still firmly in Shelbourne’s hands. Also we will finish the season with better than a goal-per-game, which is a decent stat when all the board wanted was for you to not finish bottom.
The day after our U19 drew 2-2 with Usher Celtic, Bri Murphy & 16 yo Centre Back Axel Bernet with the goals.
3 of the lads in the team of the week for the First Division – James McSweeney, Charlie Lyons and Eoin Porter.
31st October – Cobh Ramblers v Athlone Town
Athlone Town AFC ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athlone_Town_A.F.C. ) make the 137 mile journey from the very centre of the island of Ireland to face us this thursday evening in the last game of the season, knowing they will finish the season bottom regardless of the result, and as mentioned before we will finish 7th regardless.
Athlone had a brief flirtation with the Premier Division in 2014 but otherwise have been First Division fodder at all times this century. They finished 8th in 2016 & 2017, 10th in 2018 and IRL 8th in 2019. the scout report isn’t favourable to them either so we ‘should’ win but we all know FM has a habit of making bottom-placed teams stronger than they maybe should be when playing against a human manager.
After the amazing result against Shelbourne we go again with the 5-3-2 WB Press – Is the double BWM setup a bit OP?? maybe just having that energy is enough at this level to unlock teams, as we certainly made a ton of chances, and Eoin Porter slightly further back made 7 key passes against quality opposition. Athlone go with a 4-1-2-3 DM Wide – hopefully this will again creat a mismatch in central midfield. Charlie Fleming is suspended after 4 yellows so Winger Ian Turner takes his spot, Mulgannon starts instead of Henry, Lyons keeps his spot after his heroics v Shelbourne so O’Riordan, back from his ban is on the bench.
FT Cobh Ramblers 1 (Porter 29) Athlone Town 2 (George 76, Moore 89) Att 279 (7 Away)
We’re in our change strip tonight v the tangerine Athlone, and it was a brisk start, though Athlone look like they want to play as well and not shut up shop. Cobh started toi exert their authority but again were very wasteful, and again the keeper was superb, but we went 1-0 in the 29th minute, a Turner corner bouncing in the middle of the area, allowing Porter an easy tap in. 1-0 at HT, the stats were shocking (16 Shots v 3, 10 On target v 1, 55% Possession, 74% Pass Completion) – Apparently their keeper Darcy Lawless (1st Senior Game this season) has made 9 saves and is on a 6.7…………
Second half – much of the same to start, Athlone defending like demons. So many corners! Then a real shame, Eoin Porter going off hurt in the 59th minute with a Groin Injury – lets hope its not a 3 month plus injury so he’s available at the start of next season as he’s a star player for us. Henry on for him, Keogh on for Mulgannon. Our last sub of the season, Hanrahan for Doherty in the 68th minute. Athlone came back into the game, and they equalised in the 76th minute, a George header after a poor clearance from a corner (Seems to be the only way we let goals in). 1-1. And of course they scored again, 89th minute, a long ball over the top, Moore definitely looking a yard offside but not flagged and he scores the 1-on-1. 2-1 Athlone it finished, what a stupid fickle game FM is, why do we keep playing it?
Eoin Porter – Out for 6/7 Weeks with a groin strain – Have a nice off-season recovering Eoin!
And that’s a disappointing end to the season – We definitely need a quality striker (for this level) as we are so wasteful up top.
And it happened! Shelbourne stumbled at the last, a 2-0 loss to Cabinteely, with Galway beating Wexfor 3-2 means Galway go up as champions, Shelbourne, Longford and (Tomorrow in game) the winners of Drogheda & Bray (Or Drogheda with a draw) go into the playoffs.
And the final playoff place is taken by… Drogheda, after a 2-2 draw, Mark Doyle with an 83 minute goal for Drogheda sealing the spot.
In the next post we will look at the season (Well, the bit we were involved in anyway, the 9 league games & 3 FAI Cup matches), look at attribute changes, Stats, what xG tells us with regards to the teams, keepers and players, All the end of season stuff, the playoff results and all that good stuff before working towards the end of the year. See you then.