Bray Wanderers 3 Dundalk 4
Bray went down in a seven-goal thriller in the LOI U15 Academy on Sunday afternoon.
The Green and White’s were 3-2 ahead with 17 minutes remaining before Dundalk’s late rally saw them take the Group B victory at Ballycorus.
The Lilywhite’s – playing in their away red gear – led 2-0 after 23 minutes. But the Wicklow team pulled one back from a re-taken penalty right at the end of the first period.
Wanderers then scored twice without reply to be 3-2 up after the hour. But the Louth side netted twice in the last period to secure all three points.
The away team opened their account in the seventh minute. Played through by Dapo Annunlopo, Cian Markey rifled a fine 15-yard shot on the run off the right flank to the far corner of the net.
That lead wad doubled on the 23rd minute. Markey weaved his way to the right by-line and crossed low were Jack Martin flicked in at the front post.
But in the last moments of the period, Adam Keene was felled on the line of the left of visitors’ penalty area.
From the resulting spot-kick, Darragh Sherlock struck the cross-bar. However, referee Mark Wynne deemed away goalkeeper John Markham was off his line; and ordered a re-take.
From the second 12-yard dead ball, Markham got a hand to Sherlock’s effort. But the ball found the net.
Nine minutes into the second period, the hosts equalised.
Having won a tackle, Aidan Kane was involved three times in the team move. He then teed up Sean Howard to arrow a low 22-yard shot to the bottom right hand corner of the net.
There was a touch of fortune with Bray’s third score in the 54th minute.
Full-back Ryan Bell Mihaila sent a right-wing cross-shot over from just inside the opposition halfway line. And the ball sailed all the way into the net.
Dundalk made it 3-3 in the 73rd minute as Martin powered in Alex Gaughran’s corner with thunderous header.
With seven minutes of normal time remaining, hesitation in the home defence allowed Martin to complete his hat-trick with a low poke from inside the box.
The result leaves Bray in fourth position on six points with four matches left to play.
Dundalk in third place in the Group on ten points. Shamrock Rovers lead the way on 18 points with Bohemians second on 12 points.
Bray Wanderers: Alex Forde; Ryan Bell Mihaila, Callum Kenna, Noah Byrne, Evan Lynch; Aidan Kane, Sean Howard; Adam Keene, Ethan Cheese, Sean Hennelly, Darragh Sherlock.
Subs: Jake Fulton, Joshua O’Leary, Tadhg Worthington, Max Free, Liam Billings
Dundalk: John Markham; Lee Casey, Vincent Leonard, Roan Hickey, Conor Patterson; Jay Madigan, Shay Casey; Cian Markey, Dapo Annunlopo, Oisin Smyth; Jack Martin.
Subs: Fahd Nii-Adjei Monney, Liam McCabe, Max Halpenny, Joe Smith, Alex Gaughran, Tadhg Gorman, Nathan Keenan
Referee: Mark Wynne (Wicklow).
* A minute’s silence before kick-off was impeccably observed for both Gary Kinnear and Glenn Fulham who sadly passed away recently.