Galway united 4 (Devaney 61, Finnegan og 84, Faherty 85, Keating 87), Bray Wanderers 0
Premier Division, Eamonn Deacy Park, 11 Mar 2016
A night to forget for the Seagulls as Galway ran out 4-0 winners of a game that mostly looked a lot closer than that.
Goal-less for an hour, the final ten minutes added three more goals to Kevin Devaney’s opener.
By that stage, though, Bray had lost two players to injury in the first half, and with all three substitutes deployed, Sean Harding’s injury just after the first goal meant they were down to ten men for the final half hour.
And when Paul Finnegan diverted Colm Horgan’s cross past Peter Cherrie, it seemed the night could hardly get worse.
But it did, with Vinnie Faherty and Ruairi Keating both beating the Bray keeper within three minutes.
By the end of the ninety minutes, Referee Anthony Buttimer’s final whistle couldn’t come soon enough for Bray, but they had to suffer a further two during which they were lucky Keating didn’t double his tally.
With 20-20 hindsight, Devaney’s early effort eight minutes in, though Cherrie dealt with it easily, was a token of what was to come.
The Sligoman, with local returned journeyman Vinny Faherty, tormented the Bray defence from the off, though neither got his reward until the match was in its latter stages.
Eight minutes in, Devaney received from Faherty, evaded Harding and shot. The effort was blocked and well saved, but it was quickly followed by an attempt by Faherty himself, from a corner, and Cherrie was kept busy with a Gary Shanahan attack.
The visitors were lucky that Alan McNally’s deflection hit the post rather than the back of the net just after the quarter hour, and Devaney’s next shot was deflected wide.
One of Bray’s few serious goal chances came just before 20 minutes in, striker Dean Kelly pulling a strong volley just wide, but Conor Winn had little to keep him warm in the first period.
Devaney turned provider, but Faherty’s downward header to the winger’s cross was just off target.
Just inside the half hour, a Ryan Connolly corner was deflected towards Cherrie’s net, but he managed to claim at full stretch.
Five minutes later, after a tame enough Kelly shot, Winn launched a long ball for Faherty, who went for glory with Enda Curran lurking at the edge of the area, but shot too high.
With only minutes to go to the break, Faherty recovered the possession he had lost and once again shot too high at Cherrie’s near post.
Only two minutes after the resumption, Enda Curran put the ball in the Wanderers net, but the offside flag was up.
Cherrie was not having the best of evenings, going next to spill a cross from Shanahan, the ball breaking to Faherty, who laid it off for Connolly but the midfielder fired over.
Just inside the hour, Faherty again ignored the Curran layoff option after John Sullivan had played him through, following which he didn’t get a proper connection and ballooned his shot.
But his errors could be forgotten minutes later when Devaney took a ball across the area past two challenges and placed it hard into the bottom corner of the net.
Despite going behind, and then losing Harding with no further substitute available, Bray now produced their strongest attacking football of the night, Mark Salmon only the first to come close to restoring equality.
And with barely a quarter of an hour to go Karl Moore produced a moment of superb defending to deny Curran, and Cherrie punched away well, only for Stephen Walsh to volley back, narrowly missing the bar.
Bray sub Hugh Douglas might have done better with a free header from Ryan Brennan’s corner minutes after that, and inside the final ten, Shanahan was found defending, his header denying Brennan a well-crossed pass.
Winn, too, was busier now, rising to turn out Salmon’s header as Bray stormed the home goal area for a time.
But no sooner were they back in defensive mode than Finnegan got in the way of Colm Horgan’s otherwise unthreatening cross and suddenly the Seagulls were two down and playing ten against eleven – and without a card to blame for it!
As if they had given up at that point, they succumbed tamely to a Faherty lob from 22m a minute later, and two minutes after that Galway sub Ruairi Keating opened his account with the club, bundling the ball over the line after fine work up the right wing by Connolly.
Bray Wanderers: 1 Peter Cherrie; 24 Sean Harding (off inj 63), 4 Conor Kenna (c, yc), 5 Alan McNally (yc), 11 Jason Marks; 6 Alan Byrne; 8 Mark Salmon, 16 Dylan Connolly, 7 Ryan Brennan, 10 Karl Moore; 9 Dean Kelly
Subs: 2 Hugh Douglas (for Marks 58), 17 Gerard Pender, 18 Andrew Lewis (for Kelly 34), 20 Paul Finnegan (for Kenna 19 inj), 21 Robert Creevy, 23 Gareth McDonagh, 50 Aaron Shanahan (gk)
Galway United: 1 Conor Winn; 2 Colm Horgan, 6 Paul Sinnott, 57 Stephen Folan, 7 Stephen Walsh; 17 Gary Shanahan, 8 John Sullivan, 10 Ryan Connolly (c), 14 Kevin Devaney; 11 Vincent Faherty, 9 Enda Curran
Subs: 5 Kilian Cantwell (for Devaney 85), 12 Ruairi Keating (for Curran 74), 13 Cormac Raftery, 15 Conor Melody, 16 Kevin Horgan (gk), 22 Eric Foley (for Sullivan 89), 18 Padraic Cunningham
Referee: Anthony Buttimer
Compiled by Micheal O’hUanachain