UCD 4 (O’Neill 3, Sloggert 34, Waters 45, Swan 73)
Bray Wanderers 3 (Brennan 46, 50, 56p)
FAI Cup, Belfield Bowl, 20 May 2016
Bray Wanderers exited the 2016 FAI Cup at the Second Round stage tonight, but not without drama.
It was a match that had everything except a red card: seven goals, three of them a hat-trick, and that on the losing side; as well as a penalty and a missed penalty.
The visitors trailed at the break by what seemed a convincing winning margin of three goals, only to regain equality in a ten-minute spell at the outset of the second half, Ryan Brennan completing his three-in-a-row with a penalty.
And when Ryan Swan put the College ahead with more than twenty minutes remaining, it looked like the start of a next phase in a tightly-contested cup match.
With good chances for both sides in a fast-moving game, victory could have been anyone’s, but although Bray defender Hugh Douglas netted in time added, the offside flag denied the Seagulls a replay some would argue they had earned.
The whistle had barely died away when former Bray man Kieran “Marty” Waters received wide right from Gary O’Neill. He cut inside, skipped a challenge and drew a foul some 20m out.
Gary O’Neill stepped up and hit a stunning free which flew right into the top left.
Moments later, the College skipper had a go from a similar distance when put through by Greg Sloggett, but Peter Cherrie managed to get down to stop.
Karl Moore then made a dash up the right to beat Dan Tobin before whipping the ball across the face of the goal, where Dylan Connolly met it at the back post but couldn’t keep his volley down.
Then Brennan released Connolly up the left to carry along the line, but his cross was poorly judged and Niall Corbet was able to gather.
Douglas was the next to embark on a trademark run up the right before pulling back for Dean Kelly, whose strike took a slight deflection on its way just above the bar.
A quarter of an hour in, O’Neill chose to float another free towards the danger zone, but it just missed the head of Swan and went out of play.
Ten minutes later Jason McClelland was clipped by Brennan and this time O’Neill drove the dead low toward the target, Cherrie parrying before it was cleared.
The third of a series of Bray flag-kicks reached Douglas, but he headed wide, and when Brennan sent a ball to the cente of the UCD area, Robbie Creevy tried to flick it goalwards but Corbet claimed.
Somewhat against the run of play, the home side then doubled their advantage, when Dylan Watts received high up the pitch and played back to Slogget at the edge of the area.
Taking a touch, the latter then fired low and hard from 20m to the bottom left corner.
As the break neared, Bray thought they had reduced the deficit when the ball was squared by Connolly towards Brennan who duly netted. However, a free out was given instead, due apparently to a handball by a Bray player in the build-up.
To that disappointment was added the Students’ third. Sloggett slipped the ball through to Waters who split the defence before dinking it above Cherrie.
Within 40 seconds of the re-start, Connolly’s centre fell to Brennan in the area, and he fired firmly home from close range.
And little more than five minutes later the winger scored again, Kelly’s chested layoff bouncing invitingly in front of him on the edge of the area.
O’Neill was responsible for Bray’s equaliser less than five further minutes in, bringing Kelly down in his run on goal and giving Brennan the opportunity to put it away from the spot.
On the hour mark, Swan had a chance to restore a UCD lead when put through by Sloggett, but he fired into the side netting, and Sloggett himself got on target minutes later, Cherrie turning it round his post.
Just after that, a stroing Bray build-up ended in a goal-kick, and in the counter-attack, Swan was fouled by Conor Kenna, but O’Neill shot fractionally high from the penalty spot, the ball hitting the crossbar on its way past.
It seemed there could be more goals in the game, but the next to arrive was for the hosts.
A long ball forward bounced awkwardly in the box allowing Swan to loft a header above Cherrie to bounce into the net.
Within seconds, Bray might have cancelled that, Moore fizzing a ball across the area for Brennan who puts it over.
Then Waters went on a run up the right and cut inside before firing a shot towards goal which flashed wide.
The next threat to the Bray net came from defender Maxi Kouogun, who broke forward before squeezing the ball towards substitute Jack Watson, whose shot on target beat Cherrie but not the crossbar.
But the last play rested with Wanderers. With bare minutes left on the clock, Creevy got on the end of a Brennan corner, directing his header against the post before it was cleared.
And minutes later, Brennan prodded a ball over the UCD keeper, but Kouogun got his leg in the way to hook it out as far as Douglas who put it in the net. The flag was raised, however, and that was that.
Bray Wanderers: 1 Peter Cherrie; 2 Hugh Douglas, 6 Alan Byrne, 4 Conor Kenna (c), 24 Seen Harding (yc); 7 Ryan Brennan (yc), 21 Robbie Creevy (yc), 10 Karl Moore, 16 Dylan Connolly; 9 Dean Kelly (yc), 17 Ger Pender
Subs: 8 Mark Salmon (for Kelly 73), 11 Jason Marks (for Byrne 68), 13 Daniel Blackbyrne, 15 Sean Noble, 22 Darragh Noone, 23 Gareth McDonagh (for Moore 80), 50 Aaron Shanahan (gk)
UCD: 1 Niall Corbet; 2 Adam Harney (yc), 4 Maxim Kouogun, 5 Tomas Boyle, 3 Dan Tobin; 8 Gary O’Neill (c), 6 Gregory Sloggett; 7 Kieran Waters, 10 Dylan Watts, 11 Jason McClelland; 9 Ryan Swan
Subs: 12 Josh Collins, 13 Sean Coyne, 14 Jack Watson (for Watts 80), 15 Daire O’Connor, 16 Conor Kearns (gk), 17 George Kelly, 18 Jason Byrne (for Swan 87)
Referee: James McKell
Compiled by Micheal O’hUanachain