THE FIRST few weeks back in Division 2 have challenged Bray ladies first side.
Strong performances but strong opposition have meant a loss of points in these early games. Last weekend's match against Loreto seconnds would be no different.
Arguably the best team in the division, Loreto were always going to make life difficult for Bray, especially on their own pitch.
The tie was dominated by the Beaufort side from the offset and despite Bray battling hard, they became disorganised. Half time saw the Bray girls 4-0 down.
Some strategic changes and inspirational words from coach Fred OToole meant Bray started the second half with their heads up.
The following 35 minutes was much improved and despite conceding two more well worked goals, the game was more even, some determined play from Serena Rush in the centre meant more attacking opportunities in the closing stages. Goalkeeper Laura McCarthy fought hard and made some excellent saves.
A tough day for Bray but they push on to next Saturday when they take on Trinity at home with three points firmly in their minds. BRAY LADIES seconds faced a formidable side in the form of Botanic at home on Saturday.
Bray started well and controlled the game for the first half. Centre mid Kim Leonard was unlucky not to find the back board late into the first half when the Botanic keeper just got a toe to the ball.
At half time the sides remained deadlocked. The second half saw steady play from Bray with plenty of oportunites for Bray to score.
Against the run of play Botanic scored to put them one up. Bray battled on and were soon rewarded with Megan Shelley found the back of the net from inside the circle.
With both teams fighting for the three points it wasn't to be Bray's day when Botanic took a quick free and found the goal. With six minutes to go Bray had run out of time and were disappointed to lose three points at home. Next week they are away to Alex in the first round of the cup. A BEAUTIFUL sunny Saturday set the tone for the match which was to enfold.
In high spirits due to their previous wins, the thirds went onto the pitch confident - even more so due to the fact that Pembroke only had eight players for the first quarter of the game.
However, the lack of opposing players was more of a hindrance than a blessing even though it must be said that Bray retained possession of the ball for the most part.
The next quarter of the game saw the pitch fill up nicely with 11 players for each team, leading Bray back to the structure they know so well.
With this new found structure, Bray regained the strength which saw the ball into Pembroke's circle no less than five times within five minutes.
The exceptional support and quick passing of our mids, Clara O' Shea, Heather Storey, Nuala McGann and Claire Prendergast pushed Pembroke's defence to its limits.
The first goal of the match was a stunning strike from the top of the D by Hannah O'Connor via an attacking short corner.
Thus, with our confidence growing, Bray began to play more on the offensive, which lead to the beaut of a goal - set up with a powerful sweep by Clara O'Shea, touched into the circle by Claire Prendergast and powerfully pushed into the goals by Aoife Gillen.
Two goals in and half time hadn't even happened- we were feeling great! The third goal followed shortly, another by Aoife Gillen, with the same ferocity as the one before. Unfortunately, Pembroke had their own wild card, a player who managed to score two goals for them. However if it wasn't for the spectacular tackles made by our backs and sweeper, Clare Murry, Molly Dodd, Hannah O'Connor, Sarah Finnegan, Sam Henson and Tara Smith, the outcome of the game would have been much different.
The second half of the match saw our forwards press up into the circle, knowing that our mid-fielders would get them the ball no matter what. Pembroke did step up their game in the second half, which saw forwards Erica Duggan and Niamh Duffy haggling their players for the ball high up the pitch, before their chance of a goal disappeared.
The fourth goal of the game was scored once more by our very own Aoife Gillen, with another strong push into the goals. Although Pembroke were now playing more defensively than offensively, they did make it into our circle a good few times and even managed to get two short corners.
However, our defenders were just too good for them. With Aisling Carthy in goals, what were they expecting anyway? The fifth and final goal of the game was a calm walk into Pembroke's circle by Heather Storey; taking a free she glided into the circle, took on their goal keeper and easily pushed the ball into the goal, with no fuss or hassle. Thus ended our game with Pembroke 8, leaving the Bray thirds with a warm glow of pride for a great season ahead. BRAY FOURTHS faced Glenanne for their first league game at home this weekend. Bray started out strong and there was great defending particulary from Jess and Roweena.
The midfielders Sonya, Amy and Annabel fought relentlessly for each ball.
There were some great runs up the wing from Lorna and Sarah. Asia and Amy were quick on the ball and created some wonderful opportunities but unfortunately we didn't score this time.
Glenanne got a goal in the first half. Bray were strong in their defense coming into the second half and Roweena and Becky ensured with some wonderful play that the opposition didn't build on their first goal and didnt increase their lead. Bray had some wonderful opportunities to score in the second half but a goal didn't materialize from them.
It was a wonderful first match for Bray fourths and coach Audrey Collins was absolutely delighted with the players performance!