Bray Wanderers 0 Cork City 2 (Maguire 67, Sheppard 70)
Premier Division, Carlisle Grounds, 07 May 2016
Two goals in three minutes midway through the second half were enough to see the three points headed Leewards.
First, target man Sean Maguire beat Peter Cherrie with a quick effort from inside the area, and then winger Karl Sheppard completed the job following a corner by substitute Gavan Holohan.
If truth be told, the visitors ought to have been way ahead much earlier, to judge by their play which was predominantly inside the Bray half.
But up to the opening goal they had been unable to make their dominance count.
That the game was going to depend on territory and that Cork would have the better of that was clear almost from the opening whistle, with the visitors winning throws deep in Bray’s end of the pitch.
Following the second of those, Cherrie was in early action, claiming a Kevin O’Connor cross.
Within minutes Cork had the first of what would eventually be seven corners (to Bray’s two), but the home side counter-attacked, Dylan Connolly racing up the right and then toward the centre in pursuit of an O’Connor backpass, his sliding tackle attempt just missing Mark McNulty and the ball.
And if that was a not-quite chance, the Seagulls came closer a minute later, Ger Pender playing a crisp pass for Robbie Creevy, whose attempt was denied by an inspired McNulty block.
Ten minutes in, the Rebels had their firsts serious opportunity to score, when Maguire beat the back four to a high defensive Hugh Douglas header only to head too high himself.
A nice bit of interplay between Pender and Douglas came unstuck when O’Connor muscled the big Bray left-back off one of his trademark line balls.
Sheppard shot very narrowly wide from a Steven Beattie cross, and at the other end Connolly’s knock forward was seen out carefully over the end line by Gearoid Morrissey.
On the half hour, Douglas was rampaging again, following his own throw to regain possession and feeding Pender who didn’t have much time and snatched his shot a little too high.
Morrissey had an effort just over a moment later, and with ten minutes to the break Alan McNally had to concede a corner, Alan Bennett heading high after Beattie crossed from O’Connor’s flag-kick.
A series of fitful passes in front of the Bray area ended with a weak low shot from Buckley which failed to trouble Cherrie, and after a further series of sometimes dangerous-looking moves the Bray keeper eventually smothered Beattie’s cross.
Cork lost Morrissey to injury just before the break, which didn’t come until Bray had their best passage of play, McNulty having to bat away a Karl Moore free, and Douglas failing to keep down his header after the second of a brace of corners.
Cork came out fighting at the start of the second period, Maguire firing an early 25m snap shot over the bar, but they werenm’t having it all their own way, though Alan McNally had to clear off the lline via the post just five minutes in.
Minutes later Maguire netted, but the offside flag had been raised instantly when he moved for the ball, much to the annoyance of the travelling faithful.
Just inside the hour, a promising move between Connolly and Pender ended with lost possession, and a speculative effort by Holohan was low and straight at Cherrie.
Within minutes at the other end, Moore’s volley following a corner was blocked before referee Paul McLaughlin blew for a relieving free out.
And once more, a Cork effort, this time from sub Danny Morrissey, was too close to the Bray netminder.
Then the house fell in when after the ball fell loose to Maguire as Bray failed to deal with O’Connor’s cross and the striker fired neatly to the bottom left hand corner of the net.
It seemed that Cherrie was a little out of position after Holohan’s corner minutes later, and what looked like an unthreatening effort from Sheppard was just wide of his best reach, slithering under his hand and into the net.
In the remaining twenty minutes neither side really showed purpose, though Cherrie did well with a reaction save from Greg Bolger, and though Bray sub Gareth NcDonagh found space to send a nice cross goalwards, there was no green shirt there and Michael McSweeney saw it out.
Bray Wanderers: 1 Peter Cherrie; 2 Hugh Douglas, 5 Alan McNally, 4 Conor Kenna (c), 11 Jason Marks (yc); 10 Karl Moore, 21 Robert Creevy (yc), 8 Mark Salmon, 16 Dylan Connolly; 17 Gerard Pender, 18 Andrew Lewis
Subs: 3 Curtis Murphy, 6 Alan Byrne, 12 Conor Earley, 13 Daniel Blackbyrne, 22 Darragh Noone (for Salmon 77), 23 Gareth McDonagh (for Lewis 63), 50 Aaron Shanahan (gk)
Cork City: 1 Mark McNulty; 18 Michael McSweeney, 3 Alan Bennett, 4 John Dunleavy (c), 14 Kevin O’Connor; 6 Gregory Bolger, 16 Gearoid Morrissey; 10 Steven Beattie, 26 Garry Buckley; 24 Sean Maguire
Subs: 7 Colin Healy, 8 Gavan Holohan (for G Morrissey 44 inj), 9 Daniel Morrissey (for Beattie 63), 11 Stephen Dooley (for Sheppard 88), 23 Mark O’Sullivan, 25 Alan Smith (gk), 27 Ian Turner
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
Report Micheal O’hUanachain