Bray Wanderers 1 Usher Celtic 4

Bray Wanderers 1 Usher Celtic 4

Bray’s bid to reach a fourth Leinster Senior Cup final in the club’s history ended in disappointment on Monday evening.

The Seagulls conceded to Usher Celtic inside the opening 22 seconds at the Carlisle Grounds in their Semi Final of the competition.

Having drawn level just before half time, Wanderers then fell 2-1 behind right on the interval.

The Leinster Senior League side then struck two unanswered second half goals to advance to the decider against Bohemians, Wexford FC, or Shelbourne.

Skipper Dave Webster and midfielder Darren Craven made their first starts of the season in a revamped Seasiders line-up from the side who’d faced Galway three days previous.

Zach Donohue made his first start of the 2023 campaign with Stephen McGuinness, Conor Davis, Ger Shortt, Callum Thompson, and Conor Knight also included in the starting XI.

The U19 trio of Scott Browne, Leon Ajala, and Ben Clarke made the substitutes bench.

Play had barely started under the evening sunshine when the visitors took the lead.

A miss-placed pass gave possession to Jordan Buckley. He wasn’t tackled in the box with the striker cutting the ball back to Calvin Douglas. His low effort inside the penalty area took a nick off a defender on it’s way past Stephen McGuinness.

Wanderers levelled matter the 42nd minute.

Guillermo Almirall won possession in midfield and burst forward to slip the breaking Shortt clear. He evaded the last defender and rounded Karl Lynam before slotting into an open net.

But on the stroke of half time, the Dubliner’s regained the lead.

With no foul awarded when Webster seemed to be impeded, Buckley cut in off from the left wing. He fed Josh McMahon, but Donohue challenged only to divert the ball past McGuinness to his own net.

Any hope of a Seagulls comeback was wiped out as the away outfit added two more scores by the hour mark.

On 52, Buckley gathered pass down the right channel. He gathered and embarked on a mazy run that left a litany of opposing players in his wake. He then played a slide rule pass to play Wayne Walker into the left channel of the box with the winger scoring with a low finishing from the outside of his right boot.

The win was rubber-stamped in the 60th minute. Buckley was sent clear along the left flank with a ball over the top. He then cut back into the box and squared low for Douglas to get ahead and low right-footed from eight-yards.

Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness; Conor Knight (Max Murphy 34), Jack Hudson, David Webster (Lorcan Fitzgerald 61), Zach Donohue; Darren Craven (Ben Feeney 61), Luka Lovic (Ben Clarke 35), Guillermo Almirall, Callum Thompson, (Scott Browne 75), Gerard Shortt, Conor Davis.

Subs not used: Leon Ajala, Alex Moody.

Booked: Shortt 28, Clarke 40.

Usher Celtic: Karl Lynam; Paul Keane, Declan Brennan, Leroy Staunton, Darren McDonnell; Adam McMahon (Anthony Grouse 85), Josh McMahon (Barry Fox 78), Calvin Douglas, Gary Gannon (Garreth Kilkenny 59), Wayne Walker (Mark Higgins 67); Jordan Buckley (Thaigh Keogh 82).

Subs not used: Glen O’Donnell, Shannon Christopher.

Booked: Douglas 53.

Referee: Gavin Colfer (Wicklow).

Pictures: Peter Minogue.