Leinster Senior Cup
Two first half goals proved enough to secure a Leinster Senior Cup Semi-Final place for the Seagulls.
Both Conor Davis's penalty at the half-hour mark and Joe Power's fortuitous strike late in the first period were first club goals for the players.
The hosts survived late pressure from the Hoops, including a fine low shot from Justin Ferizaj which Stephen McGuinness touched but couldn't stop.
Match Report from the
Bray Wanderers are possibly just 180 minutes from ending their trophy drought. That is thanks to a superb team display that saw the First Division side dump out reigning Premier Division champions Shamrock Rovers.
First half efforts from Conor Davis and Joe Power – both their first goals for the club – saw the Seagulls advance to the semi-finals of the Leinster Senior Cup.
Ian Ryan made six changes, with only Davis, Power, Cole Omorehiomwan, Max Murphy and Guillermo Almirall retained in the starting XI from the stalemate with Longford Town.
Bray signalled their intent as early as the second minute. Ben Feeney turned Stephen McGuinness’ clearance into a good pass as he held off his man. He was forced wide though and could only fire into the side netting.
A Max Murphy cross from the right broke for Feeney in the area and he swivelled to greet it. A deflection saw his effort steered wide.
Greystones native Simon Power showed why his pace is both a blessing and a curse in the 12th minute. A long ball sent him scampering clear at full tilt. Jack Hudson did incredibly well to stick with him stride for stride before executing a perfect tackle as last man. That would be Power’s last act as he appeared to damage his hamstring.
Simon’s brother Joe floated a cross towards the back stick on 24 minutes. Conor Knightly deftly nodded it back to Feeney, but it was ever so slightly out of reach for the attacker who fouled his man as he lunged for it.
Guillermo Almirall showed he has more than just silky skills in his locker as won possession cleanly 30 yards out. He tried his luck, but it took a nick on the way through and went out for a corner kick.
The first goal arrived in the 30th minute. Jack Hudson fizzed a ball down the right channel. Feeney, as he did all evening, won the 50-50 ball. He delivered a cross from the right that looked set to be cleared but Davis charged in on the defender’s blindside and was sent tumbling by the defender. Davis dusted himself down and smashed it down the middle.
Rovers offered a rare threat when Darragh Nugent surged out of midfield and made inroads down the left flank. His low centre was met by Conan Noonan, but it struck a Bray defender in the back and was cleared from danger.
A flurry of activity in the Rovers area eventually led to goal number two. Feeney did brilliantly initially to dance along the left by-line and his cutback was shovelled behind by Pohls.
The resulting corner was cleared out to Zach Donohue who saw his name in lights when he took aim from 30 yard. A huge deflection saw the ball spill for Feeney 12 yards out and Pohls did extremely well to deny him.
That resulting corner was also cleared away. Joe Power re-delivered from the left and Cole Omorehiomwan was inches from getting his head to it. But it mattered not as it sailed directly into the far corner of the net.
It would have been a nervy interval for some Seagulls fans who took a punt on their side when they saw they were available at 10-1 to overcome Rovers. And those nerves would have been jangling when Stephen McGuinness was called into action twice in the first five minutes after the restart.
After a whimsical pirouette, Justin Ferizaj released Liam Burt down the left channel. McGuinness advanced to narrow the angles and blocked from the former Bohs ace.
Another Ferizaj pass sent Onesime Tembe clean through on goal, but he also was unable to beat the Kilpedder shot-stopper.
Sandwiched in-between those chances, Feeney somehow failed to score when Power’s free kick found him at the back post. Feeney got something on it to nudge it goalwards, but it was hacked off the line.
Feeney’s luck in front of goal continued to abandon him on 73 minutes. Time seemed to stand still as he made space for the shot 12 yards out, but it was far too close to Pohls who got his body behind it.
The Hoops almost made Bray pay when they missed a glorious chance to halve the deficit with 16 minutes left on the clock. Ferizaj’s cross went over the head of Max Murphy which meant Burt only had McGuinness to beat. He took the ball down neatly but then blasted over the crossbar.
Max Murphy is one man who has impressed defensively this season, but he also showcased his attacking instincts on Monday. He powered forward and just kept going and going until he was in the box, and it took a smart save from Pohls at his near post to repel the effort.
Rovers did pull one back two minutes from the death through Ferizaj but Bray withstood the late pressure.
The icing on the cake for Ian Ryan was being able to bring on Darren Craven for the final nine minutes; his first appearance of the season following injury.
Bray Wanderers: 25 Stephen McGuinness; 18 Max Murphy, 12 Cole Omorehiomwan, 4 Jack Hudson, 24 Zach Donohue; 21 Guillermo Amiral, 6 Luka Lovic (c) , 23 Joseph Power ; 20 Conor Knight, 15 Ben Feeney, 10 Conor Davis