Conor Clifford 91+ pen

First Division

Carlisle Grounds
13 Aug 2021

The time-honoured cliché was close to the tip of the pen throughout this encounter, a game that flowed from end to end but with little advantage evident on either side.

It desperately needed a goal to put some determination behind their attacks, which on both sides seemed to peter out, sometimes without any apparent intervention by the defence.

A lot of good ball was played on both sides, and yet both seemed at times to be chasing possession as if they hadn't enough of it already.

It took an error to separate the teams, if bringing an attacker down in your area can be so described. Conor Clifford stepped up to the inevitable spot kick and buried it past Tadhg Ryan.

The game had been finely balanced in terms of play all through despite the home side having if anything more of the possession, especially in the latter part of the second half.

The visitors gave notice that they were intent on victory, winning a first-minute corner which came to nothing and bringing Brian Maher into play a minute later when he had to be at full stretch to punch away a Jack Lynch cross.

Bray gave the same warning within minutes, Brandn Kavanagh with a well-weighted through ball intended for Joe Doyle, but the front man slipped in his attempt to get his head to it, and it had passed him anyway.

Almost every attack at either end was followed by a counter-move, Kavanagh brought down by Charlie Fleming in the tenth minute, and Stephen Christopher firing wide from a long ball a minute later.

A long throw down the line from Mark Byrne found Richie O'Farrell well offside, but also well ahead of the racing official and thus unflagged, but it turned out to be too long in any case.

A short bout of head tenis involving Doyle and Darren Craven eventually ended up with Tadhg Ryan, and a subsequent foray by Craven and Kavanagh was headed clear by the Treaty defence.

Midway through, Marc Ludden fired a long free (for a handball) in the direction of Melody, who was both offside and too far from the ball. That followed another overrhit pass, this time for Christopher, who in his turn slipped and missed the opportunity.

On the half hour, O'Farrell scuffed a shot straight at Ryan at the end of a move which wasn't really intended for him in the first place. A couple of minutes after that, Sean McSweeney got away with a fairly obvious deliberate handball, though it didn't achieve much.

With time running out, another good attack by Bray could find no way through the tenacious Limerick defence, but the visitors' captain managed a shot at Maher, while Ryan got out to claim a Dylan Barnett attempt, which might have been a cross for Doyle, who was on the keeper's shoulder.

In the ginfal surges before the break Craven shot higha dn wide after a good run by Barnett and McSweeney had a wild shot which came nowhere near the Bray net.

The Seagulls were the more active in the early part of the second period, with a move that began when Andrew Quinn, under pressure, kept the ball in play at the endline and the clearance resulted in a Bray corner, which in turn led to a Bray throw on the far side and a Craven shot that missed the target.

In the 53rd minuted. a beautifully timed tackle by Quinn in the Bray penalty area dispossessed Melody, who had received unmarked and seemed free to shoot.

The sides exchanged further corners without result, Bray shots appearing to fly unerringly to blocking Treaty bodies, unless they were off target, as were Craven on 65 minuted and McSweeney two minutes afterwards.

Ryan Graydon, just on as a substitute, came close with a shot from a narrow angle that flew across the face of goal untouched, and a Matt Keane effort which was going very narrowly wide brought a first serious dive from Maher.

Christopher was the next player to escape sanction for play from an offside position, but in fairness the official was racing to return to the play from a substitution.

A Barnett corner caused Ryan a little trouble but having dropped it he recovered the ball and from the clearance reached Treaty sub Willie Armshaw on the left, but McSweeney was unable to reach the latter's cross.

In the final minutes of normal time, Bray talisman Gary Shaw won a corner, but Quinn's head could only help Barnett's flag-kick to the far sideline.

With Bray now encamped in the Treaty half, the defence were sustaining serious pressure, and when Fleming charged into O'Farrell's back as the Bray man waited for a cross-field ball, Referee Kevin O'Sullivan instantly pointed to the spot. Clifford drove low to his left, but Ryan dived to his own left and left the net wide open.

There was time for attacks at each end before the final whistle, Shaw blocking a Ryan clearance but not in the direction of the net, and Graydon snatching at a shot after good work in front of the Treaty goal, while Fleming got a head to Ludden's dangerous free, but Maher got his hands to it.

Mícheál Ó hUanacháin

Bray Wanderers: 1 Brian Maher; 8 Mark Byrne, 15 Daniel Jones, 4 Andrew Quinn, 3 Dylan Barnett; 6 Conor Clifford (c) ; 14 Richie O’Farrell, 11 Brandon Kavanagh, 27 Callum Thompson, 16 Darren Craven; 9 Joe Doyle
Subs: 5 Aaron Barry, 7 Ryan Graydon (for Thompson 67), 10 Gary Shaw (for Doyle 78), 17 Luka Lovic, 18 Sean Callan (for Kavanagh 93+), 22 Steven Kinsella, 25 Kian Clarke (gk), 28 Sam Verdon (for Craven 78)
Treaty United: 1 Tadhg Ryan; 2 Charlie Fleming, 25 Mark Walsh, 6 Anthony O'Donnell, 3 Marc Ludden; 12 Matthew Keane, 44 Jack Lynch (c), 15 Edward McCarthy, 18 Stephen Christopher; 10 Sean McSweeney, 7 Conor Melody
Subs: 8 Joe Collins, 11 Alan Murphy (for Melody 57), 16 William Armshaw (for Keane 78), 17 Joel Coustrain, 19 Josh Quinlivan, 22 Sean Oyibo (for Christopher 93+), 28 Liam Buckley, 30 Sean McCormack (gk), 33 Andri Haxhiaj
Referee: Kevin O'Sullivan

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