For the first time this season, Collie O’Neill welcomes his fellow First Division friend, and rival, Stephen Henderson to the UCD Bowl as table toppers UCD face third from bottom Cobh Ramblers in an eagerly anticipated First Division clash in the capital. (Kick-Off is at 7.45pm)
UCD come into this game on the back of a bitterly disappointing South Dublin Derby defeat to Cabinteely at Stradbrook as the Students were punished after mistakes from inexperienced goalkeeper Carl Williams in the first half.
The result meant that the Student’s lead at the top of the table was cut to just the two points by the in-form Drogheda United last time out as Collie O’Neill’s charges never really got going on a far from ideal pitch that played havoc with their planned style of play.
Should Collie O’Neill’s young guns mange to grab that all important victory after a far from ideal May, they could potentially stretch their lead at the top of the pile to five points if Cabinteely do them a favour at United Park against Tim Clancy’s Drogs.
“Friday is going to be a really tough game for us, Cobh were on a great run up until last weeks game against Shelbourne and I'm sure they'll be looking to bounce back quickly,” explained O’Neill.
“Stephen has a young hungry side who have had the better of the games between us over the last two years and I expect Friday to be a really close game.
“We ourselves, just like Cobh, will be looking to bounce back from a defeat last week, so many things just didn't go our way against Cabinteely but can't really argue about the result, we just need to move on and get back to winning ways.”
Last time these sides met, it was UCD who came out on top as goals from defenders Liam Scales and Maxi Kouogun sealed the deal for the table toppers at St Colman’s Park.
UCD are also one of the few unbeaten sides at home in the First Division so far this season as the Students have picked up sixteen points from a possible eighteen – with their only points dropped coming against promotion rivals Galway United back in March.
The Students are without the services of Neil Farrugia, Timmy Molloy and Maxi Kouogun for this game whilst Conor Kearns and Greg Sloggett are both doubts for the clash.
As Stephen Henderson prepares his Cobh Ramblers side for the long-awaited mid-season break, the Dubliner must make another trip to the capital as his Cobh Ramblers face a mammoth away day task against Collie O’Neill’s high-flying Students.
Despite this, Ramblers recent away record has been quite impressive having picked up a positive eleven points on their travels so far this season with their standout result coming against Finn Harps away in Finn Park just two weeks ago.
Speaking ahead of the game with the club’s official social media channels, Cobh boss Stephen Henderson has stated that he is relishing the challenge his side faces on Friday night against UCD.
“We have nothing to lose and plenty to gain. We have been Jekyll and Hyde this year which has been very frustrating.
“We can't afford to be off the pace like last week or we will be in more trouble. On the flip side if we do show up we are capable of beating anybody. It's back to basics for us and I will do what I always do and that is trust the players.”
In terms of team news, Henderson must make contingency plans as Kevin Taylor is a doubt for this evenings game while defender Charlie Fleming is likely to feature at some point after his recent hamstring struggles.
Referee: Raymond Matthews
UCD last five games- LWLWD
Cobh’s last five league games- LWWWL
Collie O’Neill’s Students came out on top last times these sides met at the UCD Bowl as a Gary O’Neill penalty secured the three points for the Belfield outfit. That result came on the back of three successive defeats for UCD at the hands of Stephen Henderson’s Rams.
UCD 2/5; Draw 16/5; Cobh Ramblers 11/2.
UCD 2–0 Cobh Ramblers
Injured: Neil Farrugia (broken collarbone), Timmy Molloy (knee), Maxi Kouogun (ankle)
Doubtful: Conor Kearns (shoulder), Greg Sloggett (groin).
Doubtful: Kevin Taylor.