Cobh Ramblers took all three points in Saturday night’s Airtricity First Division game against Finn Harps thanks to a first half header from Rob Waters.
It was the first of two trips to Cork that the Finn Park men face in eight days, as they travel on Sunday next to face Avondale in the last eight of the cup.
It was an eventful game for the former Cork City and Dundalk midfielder as goalscorer Waters was sent off late on for a late tackle on Damien McNulty.
Cobh came into the game having drawn with Wexford Youths at home last Saturday night while Harps had registered only one defeat in twelve at the hands of Shamrock Rovers B in Finn Park.
Finn Harps burst into the game and had a Sean McCarron shot saved by Robert Hallahan foot after only a minute. This was followed up moments later by Seán McCarron’s attempt being blocked with the rebound from Pat McCann being blocked away by Alan O’Flynn.
Harps had their best chance of the opening half on twelve minutes when a Pat McCarron cross into the six yard box was chested by Josh Mailey into Rob Hallahan’s hands with the goal at his mercy.
On 20 minutes Rob Waters headed a Martin Deady corner just over the bar at the clubhouse end.
On 32 minutes Kynan Rocks was fouled by a Keith Cowan tackle. Referee Eoghan O’ Shea issued Cowan with a yellow card. Stephen Kenny hit the resulting free high into the Harps six yard box where Rob Waters rose highest to head it in and put Cobh in front.
There was still time for a McCarron free kick to be well saved by Hallahan from twenty yards as Cobh went in at half time ahead.
The second half began with both sides showing great commitment but not much came in the way of shots at goal.
The first chance of the second half fell to Mailey who saw his shot saved from the edge of the box after Hallahan had mishit Andy O’ Connell’s long back pass.
Ramblers were trying to press for a second goal with Stephen Kenny being denied by a smart save from Winn while moments later Alan O’ Flynn ran on to a through ball and hit his shot wide when he had the goal at his mercy.
Michael Funston and Mailey both had attempts but they were blocked by Craig Burns and O’Flynn who were leading the Cobh defence.
Cobh had one last chance to double their lead on seventy eight minutes when Alan O’Flynn hit a shot tamely at Winn from in front of the goal.
Finn Harps forced a string of corners but nothing came of any of them as O’Flynn and Hallahan in goal kept Finn Harps at bay.
The game finished on an unsavoury note as Rob Waters was sent off for a late tackle on Damien McNulty that caused both benches and players to exchange in a bit of pushing but it settled down after a few minutes and Cobh ran out winners.
Cobh Ramblers: Shane Hallahan, Eoghan Murphy, Anthony O’Donnell, Andy O’Connell, Craig Burns, Brendan Frahill, Martin Deady, Alan O’Flynn, Kynan Rocks, Robert Waters, Stephen Kenny Subs: David Curran, Andrew Neville, Robert Lynch, Nathaniel Eumbo, Keith O’ Flynn, Bobbi Donoghue, David Browne
Finn Harps: Conor Wynn, Caoimhin Bonner (Jordan Loftus 72), Ciaran Coll, Keith Cowan, Damien McNulty, Tommy McMonigle, Ger O’Callaghan (Brian McGrory 56), Pat McCann, Seán McCarron, Josh Mailey, Michael Funston (Gareth Harkin 56) Subs: Shaun Patton, Carel Tiofack, Cathal McDaid.
Referee: Eoghan O’Shea