Twenty-one players saw first team action as Bray Wanderers started their 2024 pre-season series of matches away to Shelbourne at the AUL Complex in Dublin on Saturday afternoon.
No less than ten changes were also made at the interval as the Reds ran out 2-0 winners on a heavy and sticky pitch.
“It was brilliant. What we want is to give ourselves a base defensively which we had worked on during the week. I think it was a great test against a Premier team who had really good attacking movement” viewed Wanderers Head Coach Ian Ryan.
“We got minutes for everyone. And no injuries. So overall, it’s a good start.”
New signings Jimmy Corcoran, Kilian Cantwell, Cristian Magerusan, Shane Griffin, Freddie Turley, and Kieran Cruise all started the opening period with Evan Osam featuring after the interval.
Underage players Leon Ajala, Philip Cooney and Thomas Morgan all got game time too.
Several trialists were also involved to varying aspects during the 90 minutes of play.
“We must do that, just to look after the bodies – minutes wise. It also gives people an opportunity. Our younger lads played a bit as well. They will be important. They are going to be part of the squad as well this season” explained Ryan.
“They are there on merit because how they performed last season and in pre-season this year. We’ve got a few really exciting young players. You add to the experience we’ve brought in as well. The likes of Freddie and Kieran are both still young lads too but have had a bit more first-team experience”.
Ryan continued “We had a couple of trialists in. That’s the norm for us – and probably every other team in the country. People are in with us for pre-season. And we’ll see what happens.”
He also revealed after the match that Kilian Cantwell will wear the first team captain’s armband for the 2024 season. Daren Craven will be the vice-captain.
Fixtures wise, further ties away to Crumlin United and Drogheda United are set-up before the First Division opener against UCD on Friday February 16 at the Carlisle Grounds.
But before that, there is the revamped Leinster Senior Cup, with the Seagulls have been drawn in Group C away to Evergreen FC (Kilkenny) then at home to both Wexford FC and Shelbourne.
“They are games that will take over pre-season although they are competitive. They are good to have. We play Evergreen who are mid-season and a very good amateur side. So that will be a good test for us” concluded Ryan.