Bray Wanderers 0 Galway United 2
Two first half goals sent a new-look Bray go down to an opening day defeat in the EA SPORTS MU19 LOI Academy Group A.
Galway took their chances in the first period as they left Ballycorus on Sunday afternoon with all three points in the first match of the 2023.
The home team handed three club debuts to Leon Ajala, Scott Browne and Roland Olakanye their starting 11. With six of last season’s squad retained in the side, another three featured on the bench.
Two of the 2022 U17 panel started with another three on the bench. Brent Culbert completed the panel after making the switch from partner-club Cabinteely FC.
But Wanderers were slow out of the traps in the first half with United taking full advantage.
The Tribesmen broke the dead-lock after 16 minutes.
Ibrahim Keita drilled low across the box from the right by-line. It came to left winger Mark O’Halloran who smacked a first-time drive back into the front post corner of the net from 15-yards.
Keita went close in the 36th minute but home netminder Jack Ross got a vital touch at the expense of a corner.
Seconds later, Steven Healy intercepted but his shot from the edge of the penalty area was deflected out for a corner.
From Adam O’Halloran’s flag-kick, there was a front post scramble. And Keita managed to force the ball over the line.
The second period was a much more even affair as the Green and White’s came into the contest.
After Mark O’Hallorhan dragged a low drive wide on 55, Zach Donohue sliced off target on the hour.
Moments later, Donohoe’s cross was charged down. The ball rebounded to Ben Clarke, but his effort was straight at Kieran McDonagh.
Wanderers had a big penalty shout turned down in the 71st minute when Browne appeared to be pulled back in the box after turning an opponent.
It took a reaction save by Ross to thwart United’s David Tarmey on 72.
In the last minute of normal time, Olakanye played Donohue in on the left flank. Browne just failed to meet the cross. The ball came to the inrushing Jack Murray. But the sub skied over the bar.
In the first minute of stoppage time, Clarke whipped in a free from the right. Olakanye got there ahead of Jack Kehoe to get a touch close in. But McDonagh superbly turned the ball over the bar.
Bray Wanderers: Jack Ross; Leon Ajala, Callum Goad, Zach Nolan, Zach Donohue; Ben Clarke; Daniel Chukwu, Jack Kehoe, Hayden Roche; Scott Browne, Roland Olakanye.
Subs: Gavin Doyle, Don O’Toole, Joshua Kerr, Max Hennessy, Brent Culbert, Jack Murray, Jamie Molloy.
Galway United: Kieran McDonagh; Ronan Bambara, Conor Keady, Evan O’Connor, Milo O’Malley; Adam O’Halloran; Alexander van Strien Murphy, Steven Healy, Mark O’Halloran; Ibrahim Keita, David Tarmey
Subs: Liam Murray, Gerard O’Riordan, Jay Martyn, Ryan Mill, Gradi Lomboto, Brian Cunningham, Gavin Smyth.
Referee: Endrit Malavec.
* Bray make the long haul to Mounthawk Park on Sunday March 5 next to take on Kerry FC. Kick-off is set for 2.00pm.