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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 14 November, 2018
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'I saw people crying today... that's what football does'

Cobh Ramblers boss Stephen Henderson hailed his young side following their shock win over Dundalk.

Stephen Henderson embraces a steward at the final whistle Cobh Ramblers manager Stephen Henderson embraces a steward after their win over Dundalk. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

COBH RAMBLERS WERE in dreamland last night after their stunning 1-0 victory over Dundalk in the semi-finals of the EA Sports Cup.

A second-half goal from Chris Hull made the difference at St Colman’s Park, as a team with an average age of 20 overcame Stephen Kenny’s side, who they’ll face again at Oriel Park this Friday in the opening round of the FAI Cup.

It was the second elimination in the space of five days for Dundalk, who were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday after suffering a 4-0 defeat to AEK Larnaca in Cyprus.

“We were asking if we could have a little bit of luck against Dundalk,” Ramblers manager Stephen Henderson told Cork’s RedFM. “They’re a really, really good side, as we all know. It didn’t come down to luck in the end. It just came down to an unbelievable team performance by our lads. Every one of them were magnificent.”

Dundalk, who rested several key players, trail Cork City by two points in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division but they have the advantage of two games in hand. It has been a disappointing season so far for Ramblers. Having challenged for promotion in the past two seasons, they’re currently in eighth place in the First Division.

Henderson, who fielded five teenagers in the win, said: “Why can’t we do that every week? That’s the question we’ll ask the lads. If we can sustain those kinds of performances, we’re winning First Divisions with that kind of performance. They were absolutely magnificent.

“I’m just so happy for the players, for the coaches and for all the volunteers and supporters who have been around this club for years. I saw people crying today… that’s what football does. It was an absolutely magnificent day. Great crowd here, the pitch looks fantastic, a brilliant win and I’m on cloud nine.”

Cobh celebrate Christopher Hull's goal Cobh Ramblers players celebrate after Chris Hull's winning goal against Dundalk. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Appearing in the club’s first senior national final in their history, Ramblers will face 10-times winners Derry City — who had a 1-0 victory over Sligo Rovers — in the decider. A date and venue has yet to be confirmed, but Henderson is hoping it’ll be held in East Cork.

“It’s going to be fantastic. It’s a coin toss but I hope it’s here. We’ll fill this place out,” said the former Cobh Ramblers and Dundalk goalkeeper, who guided Ramblers to the League of Ireland First Division title back in 2007 during his previous spell in charge.

“It’s brilliant for the club. We’re coming up to 100 years [in existence]. All we have [won] in League of Ireland football is a First Division and a Munster Senior Cup. Now we’re in a situation where we can get an EA Sports Cup.

“We’ll be playing Derry with the intent of trying to win the game. We’ve shown here that we’re quite capable of beating anybody on our day, provided that kind of performance follows us.”

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Paul Dollery

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