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Stuart Ashton Interview by Eoin Donovan

Cobh Ramblers Head Coach Stuart Ashton is a familiar face in League of Ireland football.

The UEFA Pro-License holder, who played in Cork City FC’s first-ever game in the League of Ireland all the way back in 1984, has experience at all levels in the domestic game.

This season Ashton is pushing for a playoff spot at the Ramblers, who are looking to return to the top table of Irish football after a twelve-year absence.

Stuart: “I’m enjoying my current role as Cobh Ramblers manager,” he told Pro-Scout 3, “I have a great assistant in James Claffey who’s also the Sports Psychologist and I have an amazing backroom team made up of Marc O’Neil who’s the video analyst and my assistant coach Declan Coleman. I hope to get Ramblers back up to where they belong at the top half of the Division One table. Getting to the playoff places is our aim.”

In 1984 Ashton as drafted into the first-ever Cork City team under manager Bobby Tambling. The club, which was formed by former members of Cork Alberts and various stakeholders from across the city, played Munster Senior League side Avondale United in their first game.

Stuart: Playing In Cork City’s first-ever competitive game was a great experience as Avondale were one of the best teams in the Munster Senior League and thankfully we won.”

Stuart: “I was with City from 1984-1986 but couldn’t negotiate a new contract so I moved to Galway for one season in 1986-1987. We qualified for the Uefa Cup that year and played Dutch side Groningen. We wanted to be drawn home first to have a bit of support but unfortunately, we were drawn away in the Hitachi Capital Mobility Stadium and we lost 4-1.”

Stuart: “We had a laugh at them in our home game as a few of their players got sick on the Galway country road next to Terryland park. Unfortunately for us, they had the last laugh by qualifying for the next round.”

Stuart: “After Galway, I took a few years out but Noel O’Mahony signed me for City in 1991. I stayed for two years and left in 1993. Beating Waterford 6-0 in my first game was a great way to start back”.

Ashton returned to City as a youth coach in the late 2000s and was apart of a successful youth team which conquered the underage national leagues. While picking up any piece of silverware that they could, he oversaw the development of future Republic of Ireland international Alan Browne and League of Ireland winners Garry Buckley.

Stuart: “Myself and Paul Bowdren (Bowdy) had great success with the Cork City underage teams. I really enjoyed the under 19s treble of the League, Local Cup and National Cup. Obviously you want to win but for me, it’s more about the players progressing.”