Cobh Ramblers manager Stephen Henderson has urged his side to enjoy the occasion when they host Drogheda United in the first leg of the SSE Airtricity League First Division play-offs.
Cobh are bracing themselves for a fantastic occasion tomorrow night as Pete Mahon’s Drogheda United travel to St. Colman’s Park for the start of the play-offs, with kick-off at 7.15pm.
Henderson’s side sealed third spot in the First Division after a 2-0 win over Athlone Town on the final day of the season and the Cobh manager admitted it was a difficult occasion to come out with a result.
Cobh boss said: “It was the first 30 minutes when I was nervous. We created three or four clear-cut chances and we could have been out of sight but the keeper was excellent and we hit the cross-bar.
“It had me thinking it might be one of these nights. Thankfully, we got the goal which relaxed us. The pitch deteriorated badly in the second-half so it made it difficult but young Matthew Whelan came off the bench and scored the goal.
“We didn’t care about the other result, we had no clue what that result was. We knew if we did what we needed to do, we’d be in the play-offs and at the end of the game, we found out it was Drogheda.”
Drogheda United finished second in the First Division after a remarkable 2-1 win over UCD at United Park on the final day of the campaign.
Henderson knows it’ll be a tough game against United but believes his team has improved throughout the campaign and has praised the spirit in the camp.
He continued: “It’s going to be a great game against two very good teams so we’re really looking forward to it. It is going to be a tough ask for us but we’re there so we just need to enjoy it.
“Remarkably, the players have got stronger and fitter, and really grown into the season. The off-season programme and the gym work which we’ve given them has really grown fruit now.
“We’ve reduced the amount of training that they’re doing, making them enjoyable sessions and keeping the spirits high. We want them to have fun when they play and the training has reflected that.
“We can keep that spirit and momentum going into the play-offs now which is going to be a great chance for us. We went on a five-game winning run, conceding just one goal just through setting the team up in a certain way and letting them enjoy their football.”
With a big crowd expected at St. Colman’s Park tomorrow night, Henderson hopes the club can keep that support at the club in the future and wants his team to attack the occasion.
He added: “We hope to have 2000 people at the game. It’s important to enjoy the occasion and then regardless of the result, make sure those people keep coming back for more.
“We’ll have a go when Drogheda come down to St. Colman’s Park and see how it goes, and we’ll probably do exactly the same when we go up there.
“One of the worst things we could do now is go out of the play-off stage by over-thinking the situation, being too defensive and coming out of the two games thinking what could have been.”