SHORT HISTORY OF BRAY WANDERERS FC
The Bray Wanderers saga began in 1922. A dispute in a local G.A.A. team – St. Kevin’s led to some members leaving that Association and forming a Soccer team to be known as Bray Wanderers. Wanderers won the Miller Shield in 1927/28 which was a very prestigious junior trophy at the time.
The year 1943 saw the resurgence of football in Bray after the demise of the famous Bray Unknowns. Three Bray teams entered Division III of the A.U.L. League. The three teams concerned were Bray Wanderers, Bray C. Y.M.S. and Commercials. There were many great Derby games in that season with Wanderers and C. Y.M.S. emerging as closest rivals.
In 1951 Wanderers reached the FAI junior cup Final and defeated Drogheda United 2-1 at Dalymount Park with goals from Noel Dunne and Billy Devlin. In 1953/54 Wanderers won the F.A.I. Junior Cup again and also the A.U.L. Division I Championship. In 1956 Wanderers defeated Workman’s Club 2-1 in the FAI Intermediate Cup Final. In 1957/58 Wanderers had a very successful season winning the Leinster League for the first time and also the FAI Intermediate Cup for the second time. In 1959/60 Wanderers won the Leinster senior league for the third season in a row.
In 1973 the Leinster Senior League Representatives in Bray was Bray Unknowns. They changed their name to from “Bray Unknowns” to “Bray Wanderers”. The Metropolitan Cup was won in 1976 when Wanderers defeated Parkvilla (Navan) 2-1 in the final at Dalymount Park with both goals from Paul McNaughton. The trophy had not been in Bray since 1924. Despite ground difficulties and all the vagaries of football promotion Wanderers continued to provide Leinster League football right up to the end of Season 1984.
In 1985 Bray Wanderers joined the new League of Ireland Division League. Wanderers lost their opening league game at home to Longford Town but went undefeated in their remaining 17 league games to win the First Division title.
In the FAI cup Bray defeated non-league Rockmount 3-0 at the Carlisle Grounds in round 2. Wanderers then defeated Shelbourne 4-1 on penalties in the first ever FAI cup tie to be decided on penalty kicks. John Ryan scored the only goal in a 1-0 quarter final victory over Galway United at the Carlisle Grounds. In the semi-final Wanderers shocked Derry City to come from behind and win 2-1. In the FAI Cup final John Ryan became only the second player ever to score a hat-trick in the FAI cup final as Wanderers defeated St. Francis 3-0 in the first ever final to be played at Lansdowne Road. Bray Wanderers first venture into European club football saw them paired with Turkish club Trabzonspor in 1990. The first leg of the European cup winners’ cup preliminary round was played at Tolka Park where Wanderers earned a very creditable 1-1 draw with Martin Nugent scoring the Wanderers goal.
In the 1999 FAI cup Bray defeated St. Francis (5-0) and Cherry Orchard (3-0) both at the Carlisle Grounds before meeting Sligo Rovers in the quarter final. In a three game marathon, Bray drew 1-1 away & 0-0 at home before winning the third game 1-0. Bray then defeated the holders Shelbourne 2-1 in the semi-final at Tolka Park. In the final against Finn Harps the sides drew 0-0, then 1-1 in the replay after extra time. In the second replay, Wanderers came from behind with two goals from Jason Byrne to lift the cup for the second time in their history. In the UEFA cup in 1999 Bray were defeated 4-0 in both legs by Swiss club Grasshoppers Zurich.
ROLL OF HONOUR
FAI Cup Winners (2)
1985/86, 1995/96, 1999/00
First Division Champions (3)
First Division runners-up (2)
Shield Winners (1)
FAI Intermediate Cup Winners (2)
National League B Division Champions (2)
Enda McGuill Cup (1)
FAI Intermediate Cup Winners (2)
FAI Junior Cup Winners (2)
1957/58, 1958/59, 1959,60
Leinster Senior League Winners (3)
Metropolitan Cup (1)