Difficult opening night for Hendo and his side as delay hurts their preparation

Little did Cobh Ramblers know that when they left Cobh on Friday that it would take 5 and a half hours, when it’s normally a 3 hour drive, for them to get to United Park in Drogheda. Their hired bus amazingly broke down on four separate occasions, three on the way up and once on the way home.

Because of that, Stephen Henderson’s men were only given 10 minutes to warm-up by referee Ben Connolly ahead of kick-off, not the ideal preparation for any team hoping to start off the new SSE Airtricity League First Division campaign with a win.

Tim Clancy’s side were totally blameless, however they did take full advantage of the situation, blasting four goals without reply to win comprehensively.

Striker Mark Doyle 20, scored early and late, with goals from Chris Lyons and the returning Adam Wixted sandwiched in between to give the Boynesiders all three precious points on opening day.

Hendo was full of praise for the opposition saying, “Drogheda were excellent, and they fully deserved their win. It wasn’t their fault our preparations went pear-shaped with the bus breaking down, they were extremely efficient in taking full advantage of our bad luck.”

Ramblers were accused by many supporters at the game of being overly physical, something Hendo said wasn’t the intention, “It was not our intention to be physical. The fact is we were so far of the pace we couldn’t get near them. Any genuine attempts to win the ball were late, more through lethargy than badness.”

The Cobh boss explained the situation regarding the delay in his side getting to United Park and was pretty scathing about the circumstances, “It took us 5 1/2 hrs to get from Cobh to Drogheda. The players getting a 10 minute warm up was dangerous for them, and because of the lethargy it could have been dangerous for the opposition due to mis-timed tackles. Last season we kicked off at 9pm to facilitate a UCD team that arrived late. The last time we had a bus break down we were also given just 10 mins to warm up against Cabinteely. There is either a plan to facilitate genuine cases of teams arriving late or not. That’s what is frustrating.”

When asked if the club would be making an official complaint to the league Hendo said, “No, we won’t be onto the FAI, simply because there is no point.”

The now face into a real tough encounter next weekend as they host a vastly rejuvenated Athlone Town team, buoyed by victories over Dundalk in the Leinster Senior Cup and Wexford in their opening league game. Hendo knows it’s an important game, “Athlone are on a high after two great victories against Dundalk and Wexford. They will be full of confidence while we will need to put Friday behind us very quickly and try get our season kick started. We have a great group of lads who should be hurting. We have to use that hurt in a positive way and try win the game.”

Photo Credit: Larry McQuillan/Drogheda United

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