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Conor McDonald: The Student

Started on 18 April 2020 by Jack
Latest Reply on 8 May 2024 by Michael R Wilson
It is certainly time to shuffle the deck. You might be a Jack but you’re certainly now also the King of Cobh. Hopefully you can find some Aces to bolster your team, and maybe a fair Irish lady to become your Queen.

P.S. I guess my response allows you to consider me a Joker.
Good job holding onto Eoin Porter. He's the man ;)

Ramblers secure Jamie O’Hara’s services

Cobh Ramblers have completed the signing of Jamie O'Hara on a free transfer after his contract with Billericay Town expired.

O'Hara has signed a one-year contract with The Rams after a three year spell at Billericay Town during which he became a Player-Manager.

33-year-old O’Hara, who played in the Premier League for Tottenham and was a £5million signing for Wolves, has become Cobh’s first signing of the recently opened transfer window in the Republic of Ireland and the second transfer since Conor McDonald took charge - Eoin Porter being his first addition back in July.

Now, the former Spurs and Wolves midfielder wants to focus on getting back out on the pitch playing some football, having admitted that first-team manager Conor McDonald played a big role in bringing him to the club.

O’Hara said:
I’m really happy. I sat down with the gaffer the other day and he told me the plans that he had for the club and what he reckons he has in store for Cobh and after my last management spell with Billericay I’m keen to get back on the field and focusing on playing my game rather than having a whole other aspect to the football side of things.

I’m coming to the end of my career, I realise that and to lead this team to success after the years that they have had in the second tier would be such a great thing to experience on my way out of the game.

The new Cobh Ramblers captain did not have the best of times in charge of Billericay, lasting only 62 days in the job before being sacked by the club’s new chairman Paul Baker after winning no games in six matches and losing four on the bounce.

Cobh Ramblers manager Conor McDonald said that he was ‘delighted’ to have attracted such a big player to the club that had an average home crowd of 334 last season.

“O’Hara is a huge signing for us that will hopefully bring a few fans to the ground every Friday night. He is an experienced individual and I think he will thrive among a squad of young, driven players and that is why I have given him the captain’s armband for the 2020 season.” McDonald said in an interview with East Cork Online.

Justice: Now we're just beginning to add those players! I'm not even going to respond to the joke.
Eoin: He remains for another season ;)
A brilliant recruit from Mcdonald. O`Hara has a wealth of experience and shliod guide Cobh to success.
Big reputation. Welcome to the Rebel County!
Are you going to be able to keep o'hara under control after his time in Essex
A marquee signing for Cobh. He will be a useful option to have at a minimum. It'll be interesting to see how Conor assembles the squad moving forward.
Geez pulled a fast one here, no way I thought an ex Prem player would make his way to Cobh

January signalled the beginning of a new era at Cobh Ramblers as the ongoing transfer window in the background of the club’s preseason schedule provided Conor McDonald to build the foundations of a club that he has led for six months now.

The Cobh players returned from their holidays to a friendly against local rivals Cork City at St. Colman’s Park. Ian Turner gave Cobh an early lead from the penalty spot with a third minute opener.

This was cancelled out in the 29th minute by Karl Sheppard and Cork City took the lead just before half-time thanks to former Leeds United striker Eoghan Stokes. Cork City would go on to win 2-1 against Cobh.

Cobh’s first week back was a busy week with a game on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Wednesday evening’s game was against another local rival in Cobh Wanderers who play in the Munster Senior League. New arrival from Stalybridge Celtic Cameron Moore got the first on the board before Ian Turner doubled Cobh Ramblers’ lead to 2-0 which was how the game finished.

In a highly anticipated fixture at St. Colman’s Park, Cobh Ramblers took on the reigning Irish champions Dundalk in the club’s third friendly fixture. In a stunning performance, Cobh ran out 3-1 winners despite Dundalk taking an early lead through Jamie Gray. 16-year-old Adam Williams pegged them back before Shamrock Rovers loanee Danila Bogdanov bagged a brace in the second half.

Buzzing off the back of defeating the Irish champions, Cobh Ramblers were rumbled by St. Patrick’s Athletic at St. Colman’s Park as a Gary Shaw hat-trick saw The Saints run out 4-0 winners, with an extra goal from Darragh Markey.

Cobh’s new divisional rivals were next up in the form of the recently relegated University College Dublin who finished on 26 points in the Irish Premier League last season. Despite an early Cobh opener, UCD walked all over them in the second half with a 3-1 win including an embarrassing own goal from Rams midfielder David Hurley.

McDonald’s men got back to winning ways with a 2-1 win over Shane Keegan’s Waterford. A goal from right-back Charlie Fleming put Cobh ahead in the 25th minute. This was cancelled shortly after the second half restart due to a Colm Whelan goal. Adam Williams did pop up once again, though, with a 78th minute finish inside the six-yard box.

Cobh capped off January with another friendly against Cork City except this was played out at Turners Cross for Cork fan favourite Mark McNulty’s Testimonial after 18 years of service for the club. McDonald’s team suffered another defeat at the hands of Cork as Jason Lyons secured a late victory in a 3-2 result.

Addressing the league before it begins, the First Division now welcomes recently relegated Finn Harps and University College Dublin who replaces last season’s champions Shelbourne and Bray Wanderers - who defeated Finn Harps in last season’s Play-Off Final.

The bookies are in favour of Drogheda United winning the division this season, offering evens on a title win. They do think that this season will be close to call, with Cobh placed at 4/1 odds to win the league and putting them as sixth favourite to win the title.

January has also been a very busy month for Conor McDonald with regards to transfers too as he brings in 17 new faces to the club, starting with former Spurs and Wolves man Jamie O’Hara on a one-year deal on the biggest wage at the club of €240 per week.

Cobh have made use of their new partnership with Premier League outfit Shamrock Rovers as they snap up four of Rovers’ players, three arriving on loan and one on a permanent transfer. Latvian-born Irish striker Danila Bogdanov, right-back Alex Dunne and attacking midfielder Thomas McDermott all join on season-long loan deals and left-back Eric Abulu joins on a free transfer.

16-year-old goalkeeper Alan O’Sullivan looks set to challenge retained keeper Adam Mylod for the starting spot between the sticks. Another 16-year-old is set to shake up the starting spots up-front too, with Adam Williams joining the club and performing well in preseason.

Northern Irish centre-back Jordan Lyttle has joined the club from Annagh United along with Gordon Walker from University College Cork to form what could be the starting pair at the back for Cobh this season.

With the new faces entering the 2020 squad, Conor McDonald has adjusted the squad numbers for the upcoming campaign.

Alan O’Sullivan gets the number one jersey, suggesting that the 16-year-old is McDonald’s favourite out of him and Adam Mylod - who takes up number 25.

The new club captain Jamie O’Hara takes the number four shirt - previously assigned to back-up left-back Charlie Lyons - as his likely midfield partner Eoin Porter takes the number ten shirt.

Last season’s top scorer Cian Leonard switches the number 36 shirt for the number 8 shirt, with Danila Bodganov - on loan from Shamrock Rovers takes the number 9 shirt, suggesting that they could be starting as strike partners this season.

Last season’s Player of the Year winner Ian Turner hands his number 6 shirt to Northern Irish centre-back Jordan Lyttle and he takes the number 7 shirt.

Numbers 31-36 are all assigned to current Under-19 players which could indicate that Conor McDonald is willing to experiment with his homegrown academy products this season despite three academy players being loaned out for the season already.

Eoin: He's a great head to have in a team full of young players for sure, him and Turner wil lead the way I think. Good to see your man getting the number 10 shirt for the season no? ;)
Justice: Who knew he'd end up here when he was balling for Wolves?!
tedbro20: He's a controversial lad who likes the spotlight. It'll be interesting to see how he handles it here!
Scott: Aside from O'Hara, not many other experienced players which was my intention. Keeping Ian Turner and snapping up a head like O'Hara is what I think will bring us success this season.
Griffo: No way was I expecting him to go to Billericay to start with! He seems to have made his bed in the lower tiers and I hope it works for him here.
Backing you for top four, make it happen Jack!!
Just the 36 players
O'Hara will certainly be the experienced head within a crowd of young players. It's an intriguing approach but the focus is evident. Cobh are putting faith in the young-guns. Hopefully it proves dividends for Conor and the club.

February spelled the beginning of the new Irish season and Cobh Ramblers got off to a superb start in the Airtricity First Division as their new signings really showed their quality.

The month began with the rounding off of Cobh’s extensive preseason campaign as they ran out 5-0 winners against University College Cork mainly down to an unbelievable 14-minute Cameron Moore hat-trick and two more by Charlie Fleming and Danila Bogdenov.

Cobh’s final fixture before divisional action was against their parent club Shamrock Rovers whom they had loaned three players and signed one permanently from in the transfer window. Taking place at St. Colman’s Park with Cobh taking home all the gate receipts, a Sean Boyd double for Rovers caused a 2-1 loss with Adam Williams netting a late consolation.

Conor McDonald’s return to league football began with a 4-0 storming of Athlone Town. January signing Paul Fox bagged a brace as all four goals were scored in the second half. Ian Turner scored from a free-kick before Cameron Moore rounded off the scoring with an 81st minute goal.

Next up was one of the league favourites - Galway United - away from home, something that Cobh Ramblers struggled to cope with last season. The new season indicated new fortune, though as Cameron Moore claimed a brace just before half-time to make it 2-0, leaving Dean Dillon to hopelessly score a late consolation for Galway in the 87th minute.

Conor McDonald finally made his debut in the Senior Munster Cup against Mallow United and he made his mark in style as he recorded Cobh Ramblers’ biggest ever victory, running out 8-0 winners in the cup quarter-final.

Shamrock Rovers loanee Danila Bogdanov scored an incredible six-minute hat-trick with his first goal in the 7th minute and his hat-trick being completed in the 13th minute.

Cameron Moore also netted four goals to add to his extraordinary start to the 2020 season. Paul Fox rounded off the scoring to make it 8-0 to Cobh Ramblers as his team marched on into the cup semi-finals.

As the league table stands, Cobh are in 2nd place, level on points with leaders on goal difference University College Dublin and title favourites Drogheda United in 3rd place. Wexford could overtake all three teams on six points with a victory with a six-goal margin against Finn Harps but that seems unlikely given Wexford’s position last season.

Cobh’s Cameron Moore who was signed from the Evo-Stik Premier Division side Stalybridge Celtic in England leads the First Division’s goalscoring charts with one goal every 60 minutes.

Griffo: Well your prediction seems to be heading in the right direction for now!
Justice: Strength in depth ;)
Scott: When I first joined I added my personal philosophy of installing young Irish players into the club and it's safe to say we're doing that, O'Hara and Turner are going to big influences on the youngsters, though.
A fantastic start to the season! UP COBH!
A good start to the league season and even claiming an early away win, something that cost you last season. O'hara is a great signing and as long as he can stay in some sort of shape he will surely still have the technical ability required at that level. A good start and hopefully we can see a promotion push this year.

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