10 June 2005
Last to the ball's a ...
Whatever their reputation as a yo-yo club in the League, Bray’s two FAI Cup wins in the last fifteen years make them a team to be reckoned with in that competition, even at the worst of times.
But with last year's shock second round loss to fellow First Division side Kilkenny City on their minds, the Seagulls could have been forgiven for playing safe for a time.
Avondale's preparations hadn't been helped by the fact that two members of their squad, including Noel Hartigan, were unavailable due to holidays.
David Spratt, a supposed injury doubt before the day, turned up fit, while current United manager and former Cork City striker John Caulfield named himself as a substitute, and brought himself on for the final twenty minutes.
His arrival, however, only kept the home side to ten men, and within minutes the Bray's International defender Wes Charles had effectively killed off the tie.
Wes roars in triumph
Avondale did their best, and managed to hold the Wicklow side scoreless for that seventy minutes at Turner's Cross.
Kieran O'Brien should have put Bray ahead inside the opening minute but fired wide after an error by the home side's John Ward let him through.
Avondale went close too, and twice had efforts hit the side-netting, while both Spratt and Andrew Knowles brought good saves from Chris O'Connor.
Mark O'Sullivan forced O'Connor to tip his header over, and later Spratt managed to hit the post from short range.
Alan O'Shea in the other goal made a bright double save from Jody Lynch and Kieran O'Brien, later denying Eamon Zayed twice, and Graham O'Hanlon had a shot saved after the break.
Avondale's hopes took a huge dive just after the hour when Spratt was shown a straight red card after kicking out at Bray skipper Jody Lynch.
The numerical advantage would always tell, especially when added to the gulf in experience and fitness, and eventually Charles headed in from Philip Keogh's 73rd minute corner.
It proved to be a decisive moment, and at a man down Avondale couldn't mount an effective fight back.
Thanking the loyal fans
Bray Wanderers: Chris O'Connor; Graham O'Hanlon, Jody Lynch, Wesley Charles, Hugh Davey, Colm James, Philip Keogh, Robbie McGuinness, Colm Tresson; Eamon Zayed, Kieran O'Brien