U17 Match Report – Bray Wanderers 0 Shelbourne 1

Bray suffered a narrow 1-0 loss in their opening EA SPORTS MU17 LOI Group A game of the 2024 season.

It a fixture that could have gone either way, or easily finished in a draw, a goal midway through the first period at Berryfield Park in Enniskerry on Sunday afternoon by Republic of Ireland U16 cap Finn Sherlock proved decisive.

A sweeping 23rd passing move started in their own half saw the visitors claim the crucial score.

Started by Cillian Ryan, he found the breaking James Bailey. He then picked out the run of Dan Ring. Just outside the left of the penalty area, he then slipped in Sherlock whose low attempt found the far bottom corn er of the net.,

Wanderers best opportunity in the opening period came in the 43rd minute. Ethan Cheese’ low cross from the left was deflected goalwards with Philip Cooney ghosting in only to see his sliding cross-range volley going just over from ten-yards.

After the break, the Dubliner’s nearly doubled their lead. From a 52nd minute short-corner, Patrick Brides’ header hit the bar.

The hosts came more into the tie after that.

From some great wing play by Ethan Cheese wide left, his cross was deflected to Billy O’Neill.

The Irish U16 striker acrobatically struck a 12-yard overhead kick. But his international team-mate Ali Topcu produced a brilliant fingertip saver to divert the ball onto the crossbar and over.

Then in the 76th minute, a free was played out to the right flank. Substitute Sean Hennelly delivered a low centre to the six-yard area. Cooney got there ahead of Topcu. The ball dropped just wide with a goal-kick awarded although the attacker seemed to be fouled by the goalkeeper in the process.

The Reds almost snatched a second score in the first minute of time added on. Sherlock cut the ball back from the left byline. It came to Ryan who drilled just low but just wide of the far post.

Elsewhere in the section, Finn Harps beat Derry City 3-2 at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium while Bohemians overcame Dundalk 3-2 at Oriel Park.

Bray Wanderers: Alex Forde; Conor Lougheed Jack Nolan, Luke Smith; Max Free, Alain Kizenga, Ronan Dawson, Ethan Cheese; Rhys Knight, Phillip Cooney; Billy O’Neill.

Subs: Cristiano Bramley, Bailey Shelley, Sean Hennelly, Aidan Kane, Ryan Owens, Flynn Ryan, David Winkler.

Shelbourne Ali Topcu; Taylor McCarthy, Mario Omozee, Raymond Offor; Patrick Brides, Arber Ferizaj, Alex Flynn, Finn Sherlock; James Bailey, Cillian Ryan; Dan Ring.

Subs: Max Ferguson, Brian Okanume, Lee Dunne, Alex Carlile, Thomas Toth, Raphael Dike, Sebastian Fravega, Finn Moylan.

Referee: Joe Byrne (Wicklow ISRS).

Pictures: Ethan Finnerty.

* Bray are due to face Drogheda United away on Sunday March 3rd next.