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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
A clearly life changing experience, that'll hopefully make Conor a stronger man

July became a horrible month for Cobh Ramblers despite doing rather well in the league as they lost their position at the top of the table for the first time since early March.

After a quiet June period, Cobh were firing on all cylinders as they entered July with a 5-1 win over Longford Town at St. Colman’s Park.

Cameron Moore opened the scoring for Cobh before attacking midfielder Eoin Porter scored his first of the game to double his clubs lead.

There were goals just before and after the half-time break from Danila Bogdanov and Gordon Walker respectively to make it 4-0. Eoin Porter was able to complete a brace to put Cobh five goals ahead going into the final fifteen minutes.

Young Cobh goalkeeper Alan O’Sullivan was unable to keep a clean sheet this time though, with Longford’s Aaron Dobbs managing to sneak a consolation goal late on in the game.

The Rams went from here straight into a friendly against local rivals Cobh Wanderers where they defeated them 4-2. Cobh were already 3-0 up by the sixth minute of the game after goals from Adam Williams, Gordon Walker and Matthew Lamb. Conor Meade pegged the Ramblers back twice but was ultimately unable to retrieve the difference with Tom Allen making sure Cobh Wanderers were defeated.

Cobh Ramblers returned to divisional action against Athlone Town and managed to win two games in a row, beating the First Division strugglers 3-1 at home.

The action mainly took place in the second half thanks to a penalty from Ian Turner and goals from open play by Cameron Moore and Danila Bogdanov.

A week before their league matchup with the same opponent, Conor McDonald arranged a friendly against their upcoming opponents Galway United at St. Colman’s Park.

Galway were defeated 2-1 with goals from Cobh’s Cameron Moore and James McSweeney despite Charlie Fleming being sent off just before half-time.

However, Cobh’s fortune wasn’t replicated in the game against Galway that mattered in the Airtricity First Division. In front of a 815-strong crowd at Eamonn Deacy Park, the two sides couldn’t find a way past each other in a scoreless draw that saw Cobh drop into 2nd place as Drogheda who have gone ten games unbeaten in the league.

This leaves Cobh drifting two points behind the new league leaders Drogheda United - the preseason title favourites - despite having a much better goal difference.

Further down the league, Limerick have burst into the play-off positions ahead of Galway United and Longford Town. Wexford have also been going through a rich vein of form under James Keddy having not lost a game in six matches with club legend Danny Furlong proving his worth, lifting his boyhood side from the foot of the table to 7th place.

Finn Harps have severely struggled throughout all of this season after being relegated last season and sacked their manager Aaron Callaghan at the beginning of July but even his replacement Ian Morris has not as yet improved the situation. They find themselves second-bottom to Athlone Town and have shown no real glimmer of hope.

Upcoming Fixtures:
Douglas Hall (H) - Friendly
Dundalk (A) - EA Sports Cup Semi-Final
Shelbourne (A) - Ford Cup 1st Round
University College Dublin (H) - Friendly
Wexford (A) - League
Drogheda United (H) - League

tedbro20: It's a huge problem for Conor that is clearly affecting his performance at work, just by looking at where the club is.
Syb: As soon as he does come out of this position in his life, he will be stronger. At the moment, it's a matter of when he begins to make his way out.
Is there anyone available [young or old] that is currently unattached that could come in and give the spark required to save your season? Scoring doesn't seem to be the problem, so maybe a DM/CB or GK would tighten things up.

Got faith you can turn things around, but Conor needs to get his head right!
Let's hope you're not throwing it away when it matters the most. Drogheda have been in formidable form.

Shelbourne sign four from Ramblers

Irish Premier League outfit Shelbourne have been very busy around the East Cork area as they have snapped up three new players from overachieving Cobh Ramblers.

Charlie Lyons, Matthew Lamb and Adam Williams have all made the switch from the First Division to the top-flight over the summer transfer window in Ireland. Current Cobh top scorer Cameron Moore has also agreed a pre-contract to join Shelbourne on a free transfer in January 2021.

Charlie Lyons was the first to depart in late June despite making 51 appearances for the Ramblers in the past two seasons and he flourished under Conor McDonald this season in particular at left-back.

Matthew Lamb was a Cobh Ramblers youth product, having come through the clubs underfunded youth system in 2015 as one of their rising stars, making his first-team debut in 2017. Despite heavily featuring throughout the 2019 campaign, the central midfielder has not been as involved this season due to the increased competition in his position.

Perhaps Cobh’s most disappointing loss as of this window is the 17-year-old Adam Williams, who was brought in as a trialist in January before being offered a pre-contract for when he turned 17. Including non-competitive friendlies and Under-19 fixtures, Williams had scored 17 goals in 2020 and looked sure to be involved more in the 2021 campaign but he has followed his teammates Lyons and Lamb to Shelbourne this summer.

The future transfer of Cameron Moore at the end of his contract this season will be the most gutting loss to the Cobh faithful as he has been on fire since arriving from Stalybridge Celtic in January on a free transfer. The 20-year-old has scored ten goals in 17 starts this season in the First Division with more coming in the cups and has been showered with praise from the fans and the local press.

Conor McDonald came out amongst the announcements made by Shelbourne and accused the Premier League club of dirty tactics.

McDonald said, “It is surprising to see so many players make the move to one club to another, not something that I have seen a lot in my time following football transfers.

“I know a lot about football business, a graduate in the area, and I think there has been some tapping up of our players as well as some poor professionalism on show by a club as respectable as Shelbourne who did so well to get promoted last season.”

Central midfielder David Hurley also joins Cameron Moore in moving on in January, having signed a contract with Longford Town at the end of the ongoing Irish season.

James: Sadly all of the expiries from England and abroad are all used to being on higher wages than we can afford currently so this window has been a bit of a disaster, really.
Scott: Indeed, it’s an awful time to slip but thankfully there is enough time to drag it back.
J_ames's avatar Group J_ames
4 yearsEdited
Never have I ever seen a club sign 4 players from 1 club in such a short space of time, bar if it's me returning to a former club to take 'my' players! Incredibly unfortunate to lose them, but that's the unlucky part of being a D1 team :<

EDIT: I've sometimes found that players wage demands drop considerably after spending time at a club on trial, so that might be a workaround that you could attempt. With 4 players departing, the squad will need to be rejuvenated.
Nice reports!
Clubs can swoop in very easily to tempt players away at levels like this. It's gutting to see some useful players depart, especially Williams and then Moore eventually. I really hope this doesn't break Cobh's promotion bid.

Cobh Ramblers managed to get back on top of the league in August in what turned out to be one of the more memorable months as Cobh boss for Conor McDonald as he also managed to qualify for his first-ever cup final.

August began with a 5-0 win in a friendly over Munster Senior Premier League outfit Douglas Hall with five different scorers. Ian Turner, Cameron Moore, Cian Leonard, Eoin Porter and Sean Doyle all helped Cobh to get off to a good start in what was to become a very important month for the club.

Conor McDonald then took on his first competitive game of the month as the Irish champions Dundalk faced Cobh at Oriel Park for the EA Sports Cup Semi-Final in front of a 3,600 crowd.

Dundalk currently sit 18 points ahead of 2nd place Shamrock Rovers in the Premier League, well on course for their third Airtricity Premier League title in a row. Dundalk are also the reigning champions of the EA Sports Cup, having beaten Shamrock Rovers 2-0 in the final in 2019.

However, they were embarrassed by the team placed in 2nd at the time in the division below as Cobh ran out 2-1 winners.

Dundalk’s Georgie Kelly opened the scoring, leading both sets of fans to believe that the game would be a walkover despite Dundalk’s earlier defeat at the hands of Cobh in a friendly match in June.

Cobh captain Jamie O’Hara drew the Ramblers level shortly after from the penalty spot to make it 1-1 before a decisive 34th minute goal by loanee Danila Bogdanov - a goal which delighted Cobh Ramblers and Shamrock Rovers fans alike, seeing the current Premier League leaders being struck down by their shared striker.

With Bogdanov’s goal proving to be the winner, it means Cobh Ramblers will take on Bohemian in the EA Sports Cup Final at Oriel Park next month.

Next up after the joys of cup victory in the EA Sports Cup, Cobh then had to face Shelbourne in the Ford Cup First Round in the aftermath of recent tensions between the two clubs due to Shelbourne signing a large quantity of Cobh’s prospects over the summer transfer window.

Despite an early goal to put Cobh ahead by the in-form Bogdanov, Shelbourne were the winners on the field as James English and Mark Timlin both scored to knock Conor McDonald’s side out, with Cobh’s assistant manager Stuart Ashton accused of not shaking Shelbourne manager and his predecessor Stephen Henderson’s hand after the match had finished.

Cobh plugged the gap between the cup fixture and their league game against Wexford with a friendly against divisional and promotion rivals University College Dublin and drew 0-0 with them at St. Colman’s Park.

In Cobh’s return to league action, they drew 1-1 with in-form Wexford whose recent run of form has lifted them from the bottom of the league and safely into mid-table.

Without a doubt, the biggest match of Cobh’s month was the final league fixture against Drogheda United who took their top spot last month for the first time since March.

Conor McDonald’s side did not just defeat the league leaders, they obliterated them on the St. Colman’s Park pitch with a 5-0 destruction of Roddy Collins’ team.

Danila Bogdanov began the scoring, much to the delight of the Cobh fans who were expecting a tight fixture. Joint top scorer Cameron Moore doubled Cobh’s lead before captain Jamie O’Hara added a third to see Cobh out.

Both Moore and O’Hara completed a brace each in the late second half to finish off Drogheda and return Cobh Ramblers to the top of the league, taking a two-point lead over Drogheda United in 2nd place.

University College Dublin have also seized an opportunity throughout Cobh and Drogheda’s bad spells of form in the past few months to rack up points so they are now an immediate threat to the top of the table, only three points behind 1st place.

Further down the table, the Play-Off race is well and truly on with three teams in the running to try and reach the final Play-Off spot that Longford Town are currently in possession of. Galway and Limerick sit one point behind 4th place Longford but it is them and Limerick who have the advantage with a game in hand over Galway with only five games remaining in the league season.

Upcoming Fixtures:
Cork City (H) - Friendly
University College Dublin (A) - League
Avondale United (H) - Friendly
Bohemian (N) - EA Sports Cup Final
Finn Harps (A) - League

James: I was shocked to see it in my inbox pretty much every day with a different player every time! I tried delaying offering contracts as well as your trial theory but their demands wouldn't drop low enough - we have the second lowest wage bill in the division after all!
Wolf: Thanks mate!
Scott: It's very easily done, especially with a club like ourselves who can't offer a decent wage even at our level!
And that's how you regain your position at the summit. ;) A monumental victory against Dundalk too. To be in the final is a terrific accomplishment in itself.
Some great results this month, glad to see you back on top of the table. Hopefully this means that Conor has sorted his life out a bit away from the football pitch.

In regards to transfers: damn! Maybe if players are out of contract long enough their demands will drop low enough, but it sounds like your owner might need to pump some cash into your wage budget.
Just catching up... posted like five updates in two days Jack haha!

Crazy to see your squad raided like that...

Also, why do people like Ringo haha?

Conor McDonald has made history with Cobh Ramblers as he has led his First Division side to the club’s first-ever League of Ireland Cup with a 2-0 win over Premier League Bohemian.

Dundalk’s Oriel Park was packed out to its 4,500 capacity as Dublin-based Bohemian brought the majority of the attendance with an estimated 700 fans travelling from Cobh to watch their team in the final.

Cobh Rambler’s had never won the competition in their 98-year history but finished runners-up in 2018 as Derry City took the honours in that final. Bohemian on the other hand have won the competition three times in 1974, 1978 and most recently in 2009 against Waterford United.

Onto the game, the first fifteen minutes were evenly contested before a Jamie O’Hara corner ball was nodded home by centre-back James McSweeney who is in his fifth season at the club. The 17th minute header was McSweeney’s sixth goal for the club since arriving from Cork City in 2015.

Shortly after the half-time restart it was Cobh’s top scorer Cameron Moore - joining struggling Shelbourne in January - who bagged Cobh’s second goal of the game and ultimately the finish that sealed Cobh Ramblers’ name on the trophy.

Cobh Ramblers captain Jamie O’Hara won the Man of the Match award after his assist for James McSweeney’s opener as well as a superb performance as holding midfielder.

Along with half of the total gate receipts, Cobh took home a €13,000 prize for winning the trophy.

The trophy is Conor McDonald’s first piece of silverware in his career as he looks to take charge of the First Division title race and secure Cobh’s promotion to the top-flight by October.

Scott: A great month all-round in the league and the cup, although I would prefer to be more comfortable at the top!
James: Indeed, I think Conor is looking to finish this season and look at sorting his personal problems. The owner certainly needs to think about investing more in the team otherwise we could be looking at a very short stay in the top-flight if we get there!
Griffo: It's disappointing to say the least about Shelbourne. About Ringo, I'm not sure :)) He's just a happy chap I suppose!
A trophy in the bag, major congratulations to Conor! History has been made, hopefully he win the league for an unlikely double!
What a win. First bit of history being written into the history books for Conor

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