So, where to start?
Last month was really tough – we should have gotten points in 3 out of the 4 league games, 3 dodgy penalties against… I’m going to have to make changes plus have a think about next steps, be it with Cobh or without.
Firstly lets have a quick look at the monthly stats.
Some good attribute rises – Eoin Porter moving on leaps-and-bounds.
Highlights of the stats are good crossing completion by Ian Turner and left back Alan Murphy, good chance creation by Ian Turner, Good shots on target percentages, dribbling attempts and interception numbers per 90. Lots of mistakes though in the month just gone – none for goals however.
We are now bottom of the xG team stats – we scored almost 4 goals less than we should have done in May. Bray however scored almost 5 more than they should have done….
Adam Mylod had a mare of a month, letting in just under 2 goals more than he should have done. Luca Gratzer continues on as the best in the league by a fair way. Mikey Quinn had a terrible month for Cabinteely, letting in over 5 goals more than he should have on average.
Chris Lyons & Jaze Kabia move up after very good months for them. David Hurley & Ian Turner not so good. Enda Curran continuing on with his good xG form as well.
The board are still OK – they wanted us to be competitive so 6th isn’t a bad position.
Dynamics are OK, and I have excellent support.
Finances are relatively stable, though it will continue getting worse without an act of god (Or The Chairman as he is also known).
So, what to do? The transfer window starts near the end of June so I can see if I can juggle the squad a bit and maybe get a couple of players that will make the first team better. Or I seriously start looking at moving on.
One available job stands out – Coleraine in Northern Ireland. They have twice the wage budget (£200k) I currently have and as they are at the top level of football in Northern Ireland there’s always a chance of some Euro Conference action (Linfield & Larne are pretty much out of every team’s league up there)
Derry City in the Irish Premier are insecure currently as well. Wage budget £664k, 3rd in that division….
So I’ve put in a cheeky application for the Coleraine job, we shall see if I’m even given an interview (Doubtful but it gives me an idea of where I sit as I currently don’t have any coaching badges – not through me not asking by the way!!!)
Our squad depth isn’t at all bad – I’d like another very good midfielder and cover for Ian Turner, but with our finances I think it will be very difficult to improve the first team in any meaningful way. Therein lies our/my problem.
So to June 2020. 3 Games.
Expectation – 3 points and a gallant loss in the cup final. U.C.D. will be a tough one as I debut a formation and tactic change. Limerick are flying and Athlone should be an easy enough win……..
5th June 2020 – U.C.D. (H) – First Division
U.C.D. come into the game on a WLWLW run of form, having beaten Athlone 4-2 last time out. We are not in form, so a change is required.
So we invert the midfield triangle and push the wingers up. This give Ekanem a chance at DM. Alan Murphy starts at left back as Kevin Taylor has been poor since April. Initially going with a Carillero/Mezzala partnership in Centre Mid, but we will play with that. McCormack supporting to try and close the gap between the Midfield & Forward lines. Also Counter Pressing now, that may get turned back off. U.C.D. go with a 4-3-2-1 Christmas-Tree-of-Doom, we shall try and play around them.
FT Cobh Ramblers 2 (McCormack 31, O’Riordan 77) U.C.D. 2 (Keaney 10, Mahdy 45+2) Att 343 (7 Away)
A fairly good start, but yet again we are jumped at a set piece – Keaney wit a near-post header from a corner. A few tweaks to defending corners made. “Show Some Passion”. Then Hurley heads a blinder from a deep free kick – hits the bar (of course it does)… But a decent bit of pressure pays off – 31st minute, a succession of Fleming crosses are charged down, but one gets over and McCormack bullets a header past Kearns. 1-1. Fully deserved. Pretty end-to-end after the goal. And just before half time the big FU – Mahdy heading in from a free kick. Free Kick Defence instructions now jiggled about. HT, 2-1 down. Again we lead on chances, possession, shots, just not goals.
Yet again we start well, with McCormack missing a one-on-one and Hurley heading against the bar again from a free kick. adding insult to injury Ekanem tapped in the rebound but was given IMO offide incorrectly…. Taylor on for Murphy on 60. U.C.D. hit the post in the 64th, Evan Murphy clearing off the line. Mihoubi on for Nolan. Again we’ve wasted some glorious chances tonight, but we got our just-deserves in the 77th minute – a low-ish corner volleyed home by Ben O’Riordan!!! 2-2. Can we push for the win? McCormack missing another 1-on-1 after a lovely through-ball. Leonard on for McCormack as a Poacher, get off the last man and run. The claret wave got so close a number of times in the last 5 but it wasn’t to be. 2-2, and another superb performance. I must set those defensive set piece instructions up again before we play Limerick.
Looking at the stats how have we not won that – 4 chances to zero, 2 woodworks, 57% possession, 14 key passes v 4….
Limerick go 4 points clear after Drogheda (Who are still unbeaten in the League) drop points v Wexford. Shelbourne again show their class v a Longford side who are really under-performing (They are 9th with the 2nd biggest wage budget after Shelbourne….).
Our U19 lost 2-1 to Galway U19, Daire Doherty with the goal and a Man of the Match performance.
Cheeky F**kers – “acceptable fit for the club’s somewhat scaled back vision of the future”. Suggest money troubles though, so it may be a blessing. My problem is my reputation (5%, no badges) so I may have to step backwards (Scottish lower leagues for instance) before I can go forwards.
Ben makes team of the week – Easy when a defender scores.
10th June 2020 – Limerick F.C. (N) – Munster Senior Cup Final
We’re at Turners Cross in Cork tonight, home of Cork City for the Munster Senior Cup Final, where we face a limerick side who are 4 points clear at the top of the First Division, but also who we beat in our last meeting 2-1.
We pull our wingers back, going 4-1-4-1 DM. Taylor & Mihoubi are in for Alan Murphy & Nolan. If we can play like I know we can we might spring an upset. Limerick are going with their 4-4-2.
FT Limerick F.C. 2 (Farrell 31, D. Murphy 60) Cobh Ramblers 3 (Mihoubi 7, 69, McCormack 77) Att 924 (202 Cobh fans)
It’s a beautiful June evening, 23C at 7:30pm, and Limerick start with their high-press. But absolute scenes in the 7th minute. I changed Mylod to distribute to the Target Man as both forwards for Limerick were stopping up playing it to the defenders. McCormack heads down to 17 yoMihoubi, who ghosts past a Limerick defender before slamming it into the top left hand corner, off the post and bar…. 1-0 Cobh! Big-game player in the making??? McCormack as a TM(S) is sitting in the pocket and keeps winning the ball. The game is very much Cobh’s in the first 15. Limerick are still really dangerous going forwards though. And a break gets them back in it, Farrell finally finishing. 31 minutes, 1-1. Cobh had a few really good moment just before half time but we go in 1-1. Limerick have ad 3 chances to our 0 but we have had 62% possession and 10% higher pass completion. Mihoubi is having a lovely time of it too.
We still look really fluid going forward, I’ve focused play down the left with both Taylor & Mihoubi on Attack. Mihoubi has the right-back in his pocket tonight. Then out of nowhere a long ball over the top finds Oluwa, who’s 25 yard strike rattles the woodwork… Limerick really come at us and in the 60th minute the go 2-1 up, a Connolly cross broght down by Curran, whose pass-cum-shot finds Darren Murphy, who taps in from 10 yards. Bollocks. But the boys rallied, and it was 2-2 in the 69th minute. That boy Mihoubi again. Turner was freed by a lovely Hurley ball, and his cross found Mihoubi in space at the back post. His header nestled beautifully in the bottom left of the net. 2-2, 69 minutes gone. And in the 77th minute absolute scenes!!!!!! A deep free kick swung in by Turner, and McCormack was on hand to steer a header past a flapping McGuinness in the Limerick goal. 3-2 Cobh!!!! 202 fans, 11 players and a few staff going are going crazy!!!!! A 2 goal turnaround in 8 minutes. Mihoubi comes off to a standing ovation, Nolan on, 82 gone. Fleming is shattered, so Lynch on for him. 87 gone. Constant Limerick pressure now. Last sub, Byrne on for Hurley. 90th minute. Demand More!!! 5 minutes added on…….
Cobh Ramblers win the Munster Senior Cup Final 3-2 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Statistically we bossed the game in all but chances, where we scored 3 from no chances versus Limerick’s 6… But 60% possession, 403 passes completed v 259. £6,760 into the kitty too, but £5k out in bonuses :). 21 boys got medals. Also we are P3 W2 D1 v Limerick this season.
Now interestingly the day after the game I saw in my news feed a Declan Devine had taken over at Coleraine. His previous club was Derry City….. Applied 🙂
Interestingly in this game the Irish First Division is rated below the East of Scotland First Division, Tier 7 of Scottish Football, the English Regional Premier Divisions, Tier 7 of English Football and the 2nd tier of Welsh Football.. So a job in the Lowland League in Scotland for instance would be a big step up (34 places currently). The Irish Premier however is ranked just below the English League 2 and above the Scottish League 1….So a move to Derry, however unlikely, would be a huge step up.
19th June 2020 – Athlone Town (A) – First Division
As you can see above tonight we travel to an Athlone side that has a record this season of W2 D2 L15. However we were one of the draws, 1-1, in a game where we had 8 chances…. There is a certain amount of dread with this one, we’re in a bit of a no-win situation, even if we do.
Same tactics as v Limerick. With supposedly poorer teams I don’t want to go attacking as it leaves too many gaps. Playing balanced will hopefully draw them out a bit and give us some space. Mihoubi is on fire so he keeps his spot, and I hope he can gain a better partnership with Kev Taylor. 3 of our back 4 are a yellow away from a 1 game ban…. Athlone go with a 4-1-2-3, their wingers pushed up compared to ours.
FT Athlone Town 1 (Gorman pen 45+1) Cobh Ramblers 3 (Porter 22, O’Riordan 61, Leonard 90+3) Att 191 (28 Away)
A really good start from the boys, and an O’Riordan goal ruled out in the 2nd minute for offside – marginal at best from an Ian Turner deep free kick. Good pressure. And the payoff, 22nd minute, a headed clearence falls to Porter, who belts a 22-yarder past the outstretched finger-tips of Aaron Myles in the Athlone goal. 1-0 Cobh, Porter’s first of the season. As per always after a goal the opposition come back into proceedings, with a couple of dangerous breaks, but it was still Cobh’s game for the taking, Hurley heading over the bar with the goal at his mercy (Will he ever score?). And then another f**king penalty for pushing, against Fleming. Gorman stepped up and scored. 1-1, 45+1!!!!!!!!!!!! their only shot on target of course. 1-1 at HT. Pushing Turner on a bit, he’s been a bit quiet in normal play these past few games.
All Cobh again at the start of the second half. But it took until the 61st minute for the breakthrough. Another Ian Turner Free Kick, another Ben O’Riordan-at-the-far-post-unmarked header, his 5th goal of the season from Centre-Back. 2-1 Cobh. Mihoubi off for Nolan on 66. A few tucks and tweaks in Centre-Mid, attempting to shore things up a bit. Athlone coming at us a bit now, 20 mins left. Leonard on for McCormack for the last 10, play off the last man again and give them something to worry about with the ball over the top. And after a few hairy moments we made it 3 – a break from an Athlone corner with all the Athlone boys up left Leonard free, who scorched one past Myles 1-on-1 (!!!!!!) from just inside the box, after being played in by Nolan. 14 seconds from Athlone’s corner to Cobh’s goal. Looked a bit offside at the pass though…I’ll take it 🙂 Proud of the boys for getting over this potential stumbling-block and getting a great Away win. It finished 3-1. Surprisingly Athlone had more chances than us, but only had 3 shots on target.
Limerick lose their 3rd game of the season at home to Drogheda after playing the 2nd half with 10 men Drogheda’s lack of losing have dragged them into the title fight. Both U.C.D. and Shelbourne win convincingly to make it a 4-horse race at the top. Bray are dropping off the pace with a 0-0 v Longford, meaning we are 3 points off of them and 5th, but 9 points off of the playoff spots with 10 games left. We got 29 points last season, so we are well on the way to bettering that, which was my main aim.
So that wraps up the competitive games for the month (next game is on 3rd July). 4 points from 6 and a Cup win, a really good turnaround following the shitshow that was May. 10 league games left, I’d be very happy with 15 points from those games, which would leave us on 37. which would only have been good enough for 7th last season. Thinking it will be 6th this time round, and as we were expected to finish 9th I reckon that would be a good result. Instead of taking a friendly on the 26th I’ve upped the training intensity for the guys, I want to see if we get any benefits from it.
Key highlights from the 3 games are below.
Our U19 won 2-0 at home to Kerry, Daire Doherty & 18yo DC Tom Barrett with the goals, leaving us 7th in the U19 South Division (U.C.D., Cabinteely & Kerry are below us, 4 Premier Division U19, Bray & Limerick above).
So fullbacks and attacking midfielders expected in the youth intake. a left fullback that can become wingback-ish would be very nice indeed. Otherwise it sounds like trash.
Eoin Porter in the First Division team of the Week after his banger v Athlone Town.
And we get to the start of the transfer window. I’ve offered all of next year’s contracts (Up about £150/wk overall) and I expect to release about £500/wk worth of players. We are currently £500/wk below our new wage budget of £2600/wk( Up from £2400/wk), As such we will have about £850/wk to play with to try and improve the squad bot in this window and at the start of the 2021 season.
I’ve moved John Douglas (17yo, DL, 5ft 8in) up to the first team as I want to give him some time – he’s very close to Kevin Taylor currently (2.5* CA, 4.5* PA), likes playing in the wing-back role and has amazing mentals for his age.
29th June – we have our first Contract Renewals:
- Evan Murphy (21yo DC) – £70/wk
- David Hurley (21yo MC & Vice-Captain) – £100/wk
- Adam Mylod (23yo GK) – £70/wk
- James McSweeney (20yo DC) – £80/wk
- Kevin Taylor (22yo DL) – £65/wk
- Charlie Fleming (22yo DR & Captain) – £160/wk
- Ian Turner (31yo MR) – £220/wk (Last season most probably)
The core of the current team have renewed, contracts starting 1st November 2020. Taylor & McSweeney may struggle to get game-time.
30th June – More Renewals
- Ben O’Riordan (23yo DC) – £85/wk
- Daire Doherty (18yo STC) – £35/wk
- Eoin Porter (21yo MC) – £110/wk
- Eoin McCormack (25yo STC) – £160/wk
Basically most of the lads 3* CA & above have been offered contracts and have signed already.
And that wraps up June 2020. 3 matches next month, all in the league.
2 very winnable games & 1 very tough one – I’ll let you decided which are which. See you soon.