The Springfield Ramblers Schoolboys and Schoolgirls Football Club facilitates the playing of schoolboys’ and schoolgirls’ football in Cobh for the boys and girls of the town from the ages of 5 to 16 years. The club was formed when the Springfield Club and the Cobh Ramblers Schoolboys clubs amalgamated to provide a single dedicated outlet for the playing of soccer for youngsters in Cobh.
Schoolboys’ soccer in Cobh began in 1959 when former President of the FAI Pat O’Brien and several other far seeing committee members started a football club for the young people of the town. The idea of formulating the youth club came from the late Mr O’Brien and its first Chairman was the late Paddy Kelly of Thomas Street who had been associated with the old Springfield club. The new club was funded by Church gate collections, weekly raffles and subscriptions.
Springfield have won many honours since then, at all ages. It has become a nursery for many stars, most recently Stephen O’Halloran, now with Salford City. The club has had many representatives at International level at all ages.
The Cobh Ramblers Schoolboys Football Club was formed in the late nineties to provide coaching and playing facilities for boys and girls from the ages of 5 to 10 years. With the popularity of soccer in Ireland at an all time high there was a whole new generation of children who were crying out to be involved in the game. With the introduction of their Saturday morning Academy the Cobh Ramblers Schoolboys Club provided a fantastic outlet for these kids to play football in a controlled and organised environment. The success of the Academy was borne out by the huge numbers of children who participated each week.
As these children progressed to an age where they could take part in the competitions run by the Cork Schoolboys League the Cobh Ramblers Schoolboys’ Club took on the challenge of providing the coaching role for their development. The most notable success of these efforts is the achievements of Stephen Ireland as a top class player at Aston Villa.
Cobh has had a long history of participation in soccer in Cork with many teams participating in league and cup competitions over the years. There is great credit due to the many of these players who have contributed to the continuing development of the game over the years by sharing their experience and expertise in providing coaching and guidance for the development of the younger people in the town.
As the Cobh Ramblers Schoolboys Club continued to participate in the Cork Schoolboys League there was a realisation that the resources of both clubs were at breaking point. Trying to provide for two schoolboys clubs in Cobh was proving to be an impossible task, stretching the resources of the town from the point of view of player numbers, coaching staff and training and playing facilities.
To the credit of the officers of both clubs the Springfield Schoolboys Club and the Cobh Ramblers Schoolboys Club decided to amalgamate to consolidate the state of schoolboys’ football in Cobh. The Springfield Ramblers Schoolboys Club was formed from this amalgamation. The club has gone from strength to strength and continues to field players at all ages in the Cork Schoolboys League while the Academy continues to provide coaching and playing facilities for the younger boys and girls in the town.
Along with the success of the players mentioned schoolboys’ soccer clubs in Cobh has achieved International Representative Honours with the following players: U21- David Myler, Schools-Martin Deady, Youths- Michael O’Shea & Peter O’Halloran, Schoolboys- Peter Nolan, Ross McCarthy, Jason Abbott, Cathal O’Hanlon & Jordan Tarrant Lowry.
A new era began for the club at the start of the 2010-2011 season with the opening of Springfield Ramblers Astro Turf Pitch at the VEC Grounds in Carrignafoy. The club’s teams have been training on the pitch since the opening and all the players and coaches are thrilled with the new state of the art surface. The club has taken on a big financial commitment to fund this facility and hopes that the fruits of the venture will pay off with the success of the teams in the Cork Schoolboys Leagues. The facility will be funded by the payment of annual subscriptions of players on all teams. The pitch is used mainly for club training sessions on week nights but is also available for hire outside of these times. The Official Opening Ceremony for the new facility took place on May 21st 2011 and was performed by former Ireland International Ray Houghton and CEO of the FAI John Delaney. The grounds were rededicated as John Murphy Memorial Park to the memory of the club’s former member and officer John Murphy.
This occasion came at the end of a very memorable week for the club as on the previous Sunday the club’s U16 side playing under the Cobh Ramblers banner became the first Cobh side to win a National Cup competition when they beat a formidable Belvedere side containing nine international players by a goal to nil in a thrilling final of the SFAI U16 Barry Cup. This was a fantastic achievement for the team, manager Niall Abbott and coaches Mossie O’Mahony and Frank Collins. It was more remarkable as the achievemet broke the mould of continuous success by the big Dublin clubs in the competition. The side became only the fourth team from outside the capital to win the trophy. The U16 side had a great season as they also finished runners-up in the Premier League and reached the semi-final of the local cup.
The week was even more memorable again because the club’s U12 side managed by Steve Quinlan and Eoin O’Sullivan won the Premier league title. It was obvious to all involved in the club that a new era had started for the club with the opening of John Murphy Memorial Park and the success of the teams on the field of play and that the club was becoming a major player in schoolboys league football.
The achievements of the Under 16 team in the National Cup were given official recognition by the town when they were awarded a civic reception by Cobh Town Council on Friday February 3rd 2012.