PearceyPlays #FM20 Season 2 Post 14 – Cobh Ramblers – Core Strength – July 2020

Cohesion is Key

June was a very good month, 4 points from 6 in the league and our first silverware.

Over the course of the next 4 months we only have 10 league games and the potential for 5 FAI Cup games if we can somehow get to the final. The added carrot there for the winner is qualification for the Europa Conference League, but that is a distant dream. We have 3 games this month:

I would be very happy with 5 points from 9 this month, a win v either Cabinteely or Longford and a couple of draws. Limerick will be tough but we seem to have the Indian sign over them…

As all the main leagues have now finished here’s who won what:

  • EPL – Man City (89pts), Liverpool (87), Chelsea (82)
  • La Liga – Barcelona (94pts), Athletico Madrid (85), Real Madrid (81)
  • Serie A – Juventus (84pts), Napoli (82), Inter (79)
  • Bundesliga – Bayern (70pts), Schalke 04 (63), RB Leipzig (59)
  • Ligue 1 – PSG (97pts), Lyon (81), AS Monaco (71)
  • Europa League – PSG 2 Lazio 0
  • Champions League – Liverpool 3 Bayern 2

Below are the attribute changes and stats from the month of June (xG showing for all games since we started in the First Division, now without Penalties, which since the patches have started occuring more frequently and were skewing the results).

Some useful increases (I especially love determination increases), though one of the 17yo’s, Rory McGrath has dropped off the cliff for some reason – I looked and he hasn’t been injured, very strange.

A great month stat-wise from many perspectives, especially for pass completion and the more attacking aspects of our game.

We are now only 3.8 goals under what we should have had in our 26 games. Removing penalties has normalised the results a bit.

Same for Keepers, when Penalties are removed it normalises the figures a bit. Mylod is 2.7 goals above the curve, whereas Luca Gratzer goes from strength to strength. Lee Syeacy off Longford is not having a good time of it, 12.5 goals more let in than should have on average over his 26 games.

Eoin McCormack & Ben O’Riordan in the top 10 now, contributing 4.8 goals more than they should have done on average. Enda Curran for Limerick has dropped off a fair bit after a couple of poor games. David Hurley & Ian Turner are 3rd and 4th worst in the league (Out of 154 players who have either scored or had more than 4 shots) – They owe us 6 goals between them 🙂

3rd in Manager of the month for June.


Dylan Thornton

  • 20yo, 5ft 9in
  • Captain of Bohemians U19 IRL
  • Very Solid Centre Mid option
  • Comes in as 2nd best player at the club

We welcome Dylan Thornton until the end of the season – a very solid centre mid who will battle David Hurley & Eoin Porter for a place, or will slot into a midfield 3 very nicely. He also looks a bit of a unit for his height (Strength 7 in game though)

My favourite screen. If its a monthly performance summary results from previous months shouldn’t enter into it. our win v Limerick in the Cup Final was rated a B- FFS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yet the 2-2 draw v U.C.D. was an A-.

Our U19 have had a friendly against Killester Donnycarney, winning 1-0, Owen Wall with the goal.

3rd July – Cabinteely(H) – First Division

Cabinteely come to Cobh on a fair July evening, 6th v 7th, Cabinteely 5 points back but having lost 5 games more. Their recent form is LLWWL, wins against Bray & Athlone, the recent loss 3-0 to a resurgent Shelbourne. Their squad is very much on a par with us, their two standout players being loanees Steven O’Malley (MR) and Ross Tierney (STC), who has 11 goals from 17 games in the league.

I’ve gone a little bit more Cautious in regards to Mentality today, but have gone back to the 4-4-1-1 as Ekanem is a bit knackered. We welcome new loanee Dylan Thornton into centre-mid as a BBM & 17yo John Douglas at left-back. John really isn’t far off of Kevin Taylor now, and if he can step-up like Lyamine Mihoubi has this season it will be a bright future for Cobh down the left, perennially the most difficult area of the team to get good players for. Cabo go with a 4-4-2.

FT Cobh Ramblers 0 Cabinteely 0 Att 357 (25 Away)

A slow start to the game, a few chances to each side but nothing of note. Ross Tierney had a goal ruled out for offside in the 18th minute and we were heading balls over the bar for fun. A quiet half, 0-0 it finished. Getting Kev Taylor on for John Douglas, who made a fair few mistakes. We need to inch him into the team slowly. Also going 4-5-1, Porter to DLP(D) to try and link the lines up.

Still lacking quality at the start of the second half. Nolan on for Mihoubi in the 72nd minute, wingers up the pitch a bit. Byrne on for the last 15, DM BWM(D), we go 4-1-2-3. relatively happy with a draw. Can we nick it?? No. 0-0 it finished, possibly the match of the save with the least of anything in it. We had 1 shot on target out of 11!!! But I’ll take the point. Let’s have a bet on how long the Key Highlights will be 🙂 🙂 🙂 24 seconds, 2 highlights 🙂 Eoin McCormack Man of the Match with a 6.8 🙂 🙂 🙂

An interesting week, Limerick falling to Shelbourne who are now 3rd, and Drogheda coming from 1-0 down after 89 minutes to beat U.C.D. and stay unbeaten (That’s a rage quit right there – especially when I collated the xG, they absolutely battered U.C.D.). Athlone get a point v our next opponents Longford in the Midlands derby. Just 8 goals in the 5 games.

We have a few more contract extensions in:

  • Shane Supple (GK Coach, £40/wk)
  • Charlie Lyons (20yo DC, £75/wk)
  • Geraint Hall (Head of Youth Development, £60/wk)

Pleased to keep Charlie for another year as he attempts to push his way into the first team. Also to keep Shane as he’s definitely at the top end of what is available to us in the staff market, as is Geraint.

Cobh U19 beat Cabinteely U19 2-1, 17yo MC Ryan Keogh & 17yo AMR Paul Caulfield with the goals.

As we have 2 weeks between games for the majority of the rest of the season I’ll be popping a few friendlies into the mix – Leeds AFC (Cork) are the first of these.

FT Cobh Ramblers 3 (Evan Murphy 6, Insall 26, McCormack 87) Leeds AFC (Cork) 0 Att 112 (21 Away)

A routine friendly with lots off changes – The goals were an Evan Murphy header, a Jamie Insall header (On Trial) and a McCormack 1-on-1 late on. Steven Nolan has pulled Ankle ligaments in the game – out for 2-3 weeks.


Carrick Hill

  • 18yo, 6ft 4in
  • Comes in from West Brom on a Free – He is with them still IRL
  • Centre Back
  • 2nd best player in the team by CA, behind Eoin Porter
  • £75/wk
  • 4* CA

Sometimes a player falls in your lap. Carrick is one of these, he came asking for a trial 🙂 At West Brom IRL, 6ft 4in, some work required but he is already our best centre-back by a star. Welcome.


Kane Lewis

  • 22 yo, 6ft
  • DR, can play other defensive positions
  • Started his career at the Brentford academy, was picked up by Liverpool before moving to The New Saints in Wales (Where he still is IRL)
  • 4* CA

Kane was sitting in the player search and was one of a few I asked to trial. As he is a DR, Charlie Fleming will move over to left-back and play inverted to get them both playing together. Very solid, £200/wk is a calculated gamble based on us getting c. £400/wk back through releases at the end of the season/moves in this window. Nice to have an ex-Liverpool player at the club 🙂 Currently the 3rd best player by CA.

The Season Preview is a good way to see if the game thinks you have demonstrably strengthened your squad. We were 9th at 25/1:

A decent move, now 8th and 14/1. Pleased with the 3 signings we have made. There will be a proper cull at the end of the season.

Our U19 had another friedly, beating Maynooth Town 2-0, Triallist Jamie Insall with another goal, and newly arrived loanee Dylan Thornton with the 2nd.

France maintain their international domination beating a resurgent Italy in the Euro Champs Final. Scotland were the best of the home nations, losing 1-0 to Spain in the Quarters. England went out in the Second Round to Croatia (again) on penalties, Ireland lost to eventual semi-finalists Denmark 1-0 AET. Wales finished bottom of Group F (Germany, Croatia, Hungary). Northern Ireland didn’t qualify.

The Derry City application wasn’t successful. Without any badges getting a better club than Cobh will be a real struggle, so I think I’m going to have to tough it out and keep trying to improve the squad.

Player Leaving

Stephen O’Connor (D/WB L) has gone to U.C.D. Reserves on a Free. He played for Cobh before my time at the club but hasn’t played a game during my tenure. He was on a Non-Contract, and moves to U.C.D on the same, appearance fees only.

17th July – Longford (H) – First Division

Longford (8th) have a really strong squad – If my scouts are to be believed only Eoin Porter and my two new signings Carrick Hill & Kane Lewis would have a chance of getting in their team. They have been playing some really aggressive tactics (4-3-3, 4-2-4) and it seemingly hasn’t been working for them. The season preview has them 4th @ 5/2, yet the manager still seems to be on the right side of the Longford Board (Stable job security, I’m 2 steps up at Very Secure).

They have not won a game since the start of April (Shelbourne) but have drawn their last 2 (Bray & Athlone)

The title of this post is now key – Core Strength & Cohesion. I’m really hoping 2 new defenders wont affect things too much but I’ve definitely opened us up to some more mistakes. I think it will be worth it in the long run. Lewis starts at right-back, Fleming goes over to the left, inverted (Though he can play normal on the left). Hill comes in, O’Riordan goes to DM. We stay Balanced, but may go cautious to draw Longford out even more. Longford today go with a 4-3-3, we play wide down the wings and see which style prevails….

FT Cobh Ramblers 3 (Turner pen 23, McCormack 47, 86) Longford 1 (Evans 79) Att 392 (42 Away)

2nd minute, Mihoubi heads over from 2 yards – hope that isn’t a portent of things to come. But in the 23rd minute Mihoubi gets the ball and gets scythed down by Cleary. Penalty Kick Cobh. Turner steps up, and…………..scores!! Bottom left, the keeper didn’t move (Did the strange dive in place animation). 1-0 Cobh. Deserved after dominating so far. Longford came back into the game a bit but were mainly restricted to shooting from range. Turner & Lewis are already starting to gel, which is a lovely thing to see. A good half of football, 1-0 Cobh, 2-0 on chances, both clear-cut to Cobh.

The 2nd half started like the first, but this time with a goal. Lewis advanced 40 yards unchallenged into the box, crossed to Mihoubi, who tapped back in to McCormack, heading well into the bottom left of the Longford net. 2-0 Cobh, Eoin’s 13th of the season as a TM. More of the same please. Mihoubi is causing issues on the left. Some superb football being played by the boys. Just noticed they are playing a new Keeper (Paul White, just come in on a free, last played with Kettering in the Vanarama North in England) – I seems Lee Steacy and his abysmal xG rating (12.5 goals let in over average – 54 in 26 games, should have been 41.5 on average) has caused Longford to diversify its GK Portfolio… First sub on 65, Lewis off (First game in a while), Lyons on, Fleming back to right-back. 78 gone, Owen Wall on for Mihoubi, who had run his socks off. It was 2-1 in the 79th, a direct 22 yard free kick past a flapping Adam Mylod…. We only seem to let goals in from set-pieces. Squeaky-Bum now, should have been a nice easy last 10. But in the 86th we (hopefully) secured the 3 points – an Owen Wall cross flicked by a Longford defender, Ian Turner picks it up, puts it back in an Johnny-on-the-Spot McCormack was there to head in his 14th of the season from 6 yards. 3-1 Cobh. Longford just hitting the ball long now, difficult when your centre-backs are 6ft & 6ft 4 🙂 Plus when you are offside a lot. Lynch on for Fleming with a couple of minutes of injury time left. 3-1 it finished, very nice result indeed 🙂 7.1 for Hill and 6.9 for Lewis 🙂

Limerick are slipping, a 0-0 and 10 men for the 2nd half v an Athlone Side picking up it’s 7th point of the season. Drogheda continue on and are now 4 points clear. Shelbourne are looking dangerous though (5-1 Wexford) – they play Drogheda next (31st July) in a real 6 pointer. U.C.D. have fallen off as well, 0-0 with Cabo. We are still 9 points off the play-off spots with 8 games left, but we are only 2 points behind Bray in 5th and 7 points clear of 7th. Plus we need just 3 points more to match last season’s points total, and also we are on 0 Goal Difference (Ended last Season on -4). We just need U.C.D. and Bray to keep dropping points…

I’ve noticed in the last few games our attendances were a bit higher, so I decided to have a quick look as I capture attendances when I collate the xG info.

So since Shelbourne (last home league game in May – 267 Home Fans) we have jumped by 80/90, and the Longford game had 350 Cobh fans attend. We need this to keep going up, every little helps, and at £9/ticket we are looking at another £7-800 per game gate receipts, which pays for 1/3rd of the player wage bill!!

Our U19 lost 2-0 to Cork City U19, Daire Doherty getting a 7.2 up front without scoring!

Then I had a inbox that I wasn’t expecting.

Very interesting one. Steven is worth £3.7k. Note Steven’s agent says he is not interested – This is Finn Harps’s 2nd string by the way. Lyamine Mihoubi is very much my starting left winger but as he is so young I think I need to keep Steven in the squad. I rejected the offer.

The two Eoin’s in the First Division team of the week 🙂

The first round draw for the FAI Cup has happened:

There’s a word for that draw 🙂 At least we are at home, we should get a decent gate v the 11-time winners that are 5 points clear at the top of the Irish Premier Division and are currently 1-0 up in the Champions League 2nd Qual Rnd v Young Boys with the Away leg to come…… If we can somehow conjour something up (Knowing they’ll still be in Europe even if they lose to Young Boys as they go into the Europa league Qualifiers, so may pop a weakened team out) at least 4 Premier Division sides will not be in the 2nd Round, and at least 4 non-league sides will be…

As we are getting free weeks at this point in the season I slipped another friendly in – Friday 24th July – we entertain Killarney Celtic from one of my favourite places on Earth, Co. Kerry.

FT Cobh Ramblers 3 (Ekanem 2, Ebbe 49, Thornton 52) Killarney Celtic 0 Att 105 (4 Away)

This friendly was set up for Carrick Hill & Kane Lewis to continue their integration into the team and to get more match fitness. It was total rotation apart from those two, and the first half was expectedly disjointed, with an Ekanem header from an English free kick all to show. The 2nd half started off well, after a few changes, with a 20 yard strike from 6ft 6in TM triallist Dean Ebbe (Like Yao Ming shooting 3’s) and a Dylan Thornton 30 yard thunderbastard in the first 7 minutes. Plenty of rotation in the rest of the half and it finished 3-0.


We only had a head physio (Orla McSweeney) and have had a 2nd physio turned down in the past. But we’ve been able to sign Aaron Meade. Best we can get at the money we can pay – 5 Physiotherapy 🙂

Our U19 lost 1-0 in a friendly to Mervue Utd.

Deadline Day – one of our U19’s, 18yo David O’Brien (DC) went out on loan with them to the end of the season. And another U19, Liam O’Donovan (GK) will go to Bohemians on a £110/wk deal as of 1st January 2021. 1.5* CA at 18 wit this setup, I don’t think he would have approached Adam Mylod in terms of CA TBH.

And as deadline day passed both Ben Hanrahan & Victor Ekanem withdrew their transfer requests, acknowledging nobody wants to sign them – its a nice touch. Now we only have Ben O’Riordan worried that Carrick Hill will take his place (Even though I’m playing him as a DM and have told him as much).

31st July 2020 – Limerick F.C. (A) – First Division

We make the Friday evening trip over to Limerick to face a side that have been top of the table for all but 5 games this season, but find themselves 2nd after not winning in 4, losing 3 and drawing their last game out v Bottom-of-the-Table Athlone Town. As such I’d give us a shout here – we’ve not lost since 22nd May v Shelbourne. That said Limerick are still favourites, though their squad is no way near as strong as Longford… Strange Times.

Bray v U.C.D. will be of great interest to us – we’re 2 points off Bray and 9 from U.C.D, so a Bray win would be brilliant.

A team that is picking itself currently, only a few tactical tweaks following the Longford win, plus Ben O’Riordan back as the main threat at attacking set pieces (Even though Carrick Hill is 6ft 4in Ben has a fine track record here). Hoping to draw Limerick out and hit them on the Counter as we’ve done well this season. Limerick go with a 4-4-2.

FT Limerick F.C. 0 Cobh Ramblers 0 Att 1,762 (41 Away)

Limerick flew out of the gate but we nearly caught them on the break in the 4th minute, Turner hitting the side netting. Hill at the back is mopping up most of Limerick’s aerial game which is superb. It’s been pretty dominant from Limerick, so I’ve gone Balanced and moved the forward line up to Lower on 30 mins. And we started coming back into it a bit, with a few forays forward. 0-0 at HT, the boys have defended magnificently & Mylod has made some great saves.

A couple of tweaks (Porter to AP(A), Hurley to BWM(S)) and we nearly scored in the first 25 seconds, McCormack fed by Porter, the keeper making a good save. Limerick are playing such a high line they are forever going offside. Taylor on for Lewis just after 60 minutes (he’s still getting up to fitness) – Charlie Fleming back to DR, Taylor DL. Youngster Daire Doherty on for McCormack on 75, he’s been impressing in the U19 games, and can play as a PF(A). Nolan on for Mihoubi for the last 5. A few squeaky-bum moments but it finished 0-0, a superb point in a really difficult game.

Bray & U.C.D. somehow draw (Bray played more than 90 minutes with 10 men!!!) and at the top Drogheda win the 6-pointer v Shelbourne thanks to a Colin McGarvey goal. Longford continue to be awful and the battle at the bottom between Wexford and Athlone ended up all square. We are now 5 unbeaten in the League 🙂

So that’s July 2020 done. 5 points as expected, very happy defensively now with just 1 goal conceded in the 3 league games but we need to think about the attacking side of the game a bit in the close season. 7 League games and the FAI Cup left this season.

Two very good months gone, August gives us 2 league games and and amazingly difficult cup tie. Below is a roundup of the matches this month gone.

Cobh Ramblers July 2020 Roundup

Hopefully August will bring good league results and a potential giant-killing 🙂 🙂 🙂 See you soon.

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