SHAMROCK ROVERS 1 BRAY WANDERERS 0
Friendly, Tallaght Stadium, 5 February 2022
A goal midway through the second period saw Shamrock Rovers record a 1-0 success on Saturday morning over a resilient Bray.
Amid wet and windy conditions at Tallaght Stadium, the 2021 Premier Division champions avenged last month’s 3-2 loss against the Seagulls at Roadstone.
It was a good work-out for Wanderers who made no less than seven changes to their starting line-up from the midweek outing against Drogheda United.
In total, 16 players got game time into the legs as the 2022 season opener against Cork City approaches.
The Hoops fielded a much-changed line-up too from the fixture between the clubs a fortnight ago.
Graham Burke did not feature at Roadstone. But the attacker almost made his presence felt this time round after five minutes. He collected a short corner off the left flank. Then skipped between two opponents before flashing a low drive across the six-yard box.
The Wicklow side almost made the most of a defensive mix-up on the quarter hour. Paul Fox nipped in as Alan Mannus came to collect in the box. But the ball rebounded wide off the winger off target.
Former Bray player Aaron Greene fizzed a low shot wide of the far post on 33 before goalkeeper Michael Kelly denied Aidomo Emakhu on 41.
The second half saw both skipper Hugh Douglas and ex-Hoop Seán Callan made brave blocks inside the penalty. Just before the hour mark, Emakhu’s cut-back hit Kevin Knight. But Kelly smothered before the goal-line.
The deadlock was broken on 69. A short corner from the left was cleared. The loose ball fell to Emakhu who volleyed to the net from 14-yards in a crowded box.
On 74, a low centre from the left saw Emakhu strike close in. But Kevin Knight made a vital block.
Bray Wanderers: Michael Kelly; Seán Callan (Dan Blackbyrne 83), Hugh Douglas (c), Kevin Knight; Zac O’Neill (Conor Knight 83), Vilius Labutis (Callum Thompson 83), Conor Clifford, Karl Manahan (Dean Zambra half time), Paul Fox; Kurtis Byrne (Darragh Lynch 83), Rob Manley.
Subs Not used: Stephen McGuinness, Eoin McPhillips.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Sean Gannon, Oisin Hand, Barry Cotter; Rory Finn, John Ryan, Richie Towell, Conan Noonan; Graham Burke (Justin Ferizaj 64); Aaron Greene, Aidomo Emakhu.
Sub not used: Leon Pohls.
Match report: Paul Dowling
Pictures courtesy of Shamrock Rovers