Brandon Kavanagh 21

Bray win 1-0 agg.

Promotion Playoffs, second leg

Eamonn Deacy Park
07 Nov 2021

Bray Wanderers achieved superiority over Galway this afternoon, with a delighful goal scored by Brandon Kavanagh midway through the first half.

In front of one of Galway's best crowds of recent times, almst 4,000 in Eamonn Deacy Park, the Seagulls, having scored somewhat against the run of play, survived a number of scares in the second period, living dangerously with a very physical defensive game.

Signs that there would be no quarter weren't long in coming, a second minute clash between Joe Doyle and Galway skipper Conor McCormack was followed within seconds by a similar encounter between Conor O'Keeffe and Darren Craven.

Within a minute Wilson Waweru had fired an endline shot behind the Bray goal, and David Hurley had volleyed a Gary Boylan cross well over the crossbar.

And for almost the next twenty minutes, the home side was dominant, Brian Maher claiming a high Mikie Rowe header and a Waweru shot from his right in rapid succession.

The first of a series of Galway corners produced the nearest to a breakthrough, returned to David Hurley who fed back into the area and Maher had to be alert to stop O'Keeffe's little reverse flick at the foot of the post.

It took until the quarter hour mark before Bray made their next foray into the Tribesmen's territory, where a Craven shot was deflected out for a corner.

After a couple of minutes' relative calm, Kavanagh took an unpromising ball from halfway, feeding Richie O'Farrell, who raced a couple of steps before playing in towards Craven, who looked like he had to switch feet to tap back into the path of the following Kavanagh, who himself took a step before sending a rocket into the top left of Conor Kearns's net.

The reverse stunned the home side, who were on the back foot for a time, but not enough to open the path for the Seagulls. Conor Clifford and Kavanagh had off-target efforts for the visitors, while Waweru, hitting the side-netting, and Rowe, well off target, came closest for Gaway.

Shortly after the half hour, Waweru, who was to remain a threat throughout, hit the crossbar from close range following a fine save by Maher from a deflected Rowe shot.

A Clifford challenge on the Galway striker was fractionally late, but cleared the ball and didn't attract any sanction.

As the break neared, O'Farrell had an effort not far off target, and Doyle was beaten to a long ball by inches by Stephen Walsh. Ryan Graydon won a corner, but Kavanagh's shot when the ball came back to him was loose.

In the final minute, monstrous goalkicks from each end wound up with a clash between Waweru and Maher, the home support incensed that a free against their hero was the decision.

In those circumstances a cagey opening to the second period was on the cards, but both sides opted for further attacking whenever they got an opening.

Killian Brouder cleared a threatening Graydon cross, and within minutes was up in attack, feeding Ruairi Keating, Maher ready for his header.

Galway came close to an equaliser when Maher, coming through a crowded area, failed to clear a McCormack free from near the left sideline, but Craven picked up the pieces.

And minutes later, when Hurley won another Galway corner, Maher's punch fell for Rowe, who couldn't keep his effort down enough.

Just before the hour mark, after Brouder was fouled by Aaron Barry, McCormack's free was faced by a Bray wall which was backed up by a player lying prone behind them, presumably in case of a low ball when they jumped. Nothing in the rules against it, one presumes, since referee Kevin O'Sullivan made no effort to prevent the tactic.

But they didn't jump in any case, and Keating's shot from the dead ball was deflected out for a corner which came to nothing.

Both teams were struggling to create clearcut chances, and any flow in the game was disturbed by a sequence of substitutions, with surges in both directions blunted by stubborn defending.

Within the final ten minutes, Clifford dispossessed Keating at the cost of a corner, which Maher needed two attempts to take care of. Keating himself and substitute Padraic Cunningham both had chances off target, and though Keating went down in the Bray area, it wasn't sanctioned, as he fell over a static Bray foot.

Deep in time added, Kavanagh seemed to have done enough to claim a throw deep in Galway's left corner, but inexplicably the assistant's flag pointed away from the Galway goal.

In the final seconds, Cunningham had a chance to send it into extra time, but his headed effort was simply not good enough.

Mícheál Ó hUanacháin

Bray Wanderers: 1 Brian Maher; 8 Mark Byrne, 4 Andrew Quinn , 5 Aaron Barry (c), 3 Dylan Barnett; 6 Conor Clifford, 16 Darren Craven; 14 Richie O'Farrell, 11 Brandon Kavanagh , 7 Ryan Graydon; 9 Joe Doyle
Subs: 10 Gary Shaw (for Doyle 71), 15 Daniel Jones (for Barnett 70 ?inj) , 17 Luka Lovic (for Craven 67), 19 Darragh Lynch, 20 Ryan Bowden, 22 Steven Kinsella, 25 Kian Clarke (gk), 27 Callum Thompson (for Graydon 79 inj), 28 Sam Verdon
Galway United: 16 Conor Kearns; 2 Conor O'Keeffe, 32 Joe Gorman, 5 Killian Brouder, 3 Stephen Walsh ; 22 Conor McCormack (c), 4 Gary Boylan; 14 Mikie Rowe, 10 David Hurley, 7 Ruairi Keating; 18 Wilson Waweru
Subs: 1 Luke Dennison (gk), 6 Maurice Nugent (for Brouder 60), 8 Dean O'Shea, 9 Padraic Cunningham, 11 Shane Doherty (for Boylan 72), 12 Christopher Horgan, 15 Carlton Ubaezuonu, 25 Alex Murphy, 20 Mikey Place
Referee: Kevin O'Sullivan

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