This Easter Saturday marks the return of Longford Town to St.Colemans Park in Cobh. Thirteen years have passed since “De Town” last visited the County Cork venue and to mark the occasion LTFC.ie reporter Kieran Burke (@burko77_) spoke to Cobh Ramblers star, Conor Meade.
Q1: This is your second spell with Cobh Ramblers Conor, having played with the club during their first spell in the league. How special is it to be back playing with Cobh in the LOI nine years later. Did you ever think you'd see it happen?
A1: To be honest, I doubted the clubs comeback due to the difficulties it ran into in recent years but we’re all delighted it’s got its LOI status back and credit must go to the FAI for making it happen.
Q2: Talk about coming back with a bang! A 5-0 opening day win against Wexford Youths in front of an 800 strong crowd. Surely you couldn't have imagined a start like that especially with such little preparation time?
A2: It was great giving the fans a win like that, especially after being out of the league for so long. But it's only 3 points and there is a long season ahead.
Q3: The fact Cobh did not know whether they would be playing in the LOI or not this season meant you started pre-season training much later than the rest of the teams. It certainly doesn't look to have affected your side’s fitness levels, is this perhaps down to the amount of junior league players in the side?
A3: Yes, we signed a few from the Munster Senior League so fitness wouldn't have been a major issue but of course there's always room for improvement.
Q4: While there are a lot of junior league and under-19 players in the squad, the manager did bring in some experienced heads such as Davin O'Neill. This must have been a huge boost to everyone at the club?
A4: Of course, it was a massive signing and I was surprised Cork City left him go. But we’re delighted to have him on board as he's proven himself in the First Division and Premier Division and he's a good guy. He's someone our under-19’s can look up to also.
Q5: Last weekend you earned a point away to Athlone Town but this week it’s a visit from the other Midlands side, Longford Town. Are you confident?
A5: Yes, you have to be confident going in to every game. We won't be under estimating Longford as I predict them to make a strong challenge for the league this year.
Q6: Despite defeat last time out, Tony Cousins Longford side are one of the favourites for promotion. My question however is, do you rate yourselves as promotion candidates or is this simply a year of consolidation considering it’s your first LOI campaign in years?
A6: To be honest we're just taking it game by game and working hard on and off the pitch. The most important thing is that this club is securely placed in the LOI for many years to come.
Q7: This is Cobh's first home game since that 5-0 win versus Wexford. Are you looking to make St.Colman's Park a fortress?
A7: Definitely, we fancy our chances against anyone in the division, especially at home!
Q8: Many First Division fans comment that the long journey for away sides to Cobh gives you an advantage but they seem to forget you have to do the same travel as they do. Having played away from home twice this season just how draining have you found it?
A8: Certainly the travelling takes its toll but as you said it evens itself out for every team.
Q9: At the age of 28, you have shot to prominence with your goal scoring exploits in recent weeks. Should a Premier Division club come in for you in the near future would you consider it as it maybe your last chance to play at a higher level?
A9: I'm working hard to improve. My aim is to play at the highest level and I don't see why it can't be with Cobh.