Bray strife escalates as angry players 'consider employment options'
Limerick FC 0 Bray WDS 1
Chaos at Bray Wanderers escalated over the weekend as statements from players and officials highlighted the growing rift at the club.
Immediately after Saturday's late win over basement side Limerick, when David Scully scored the winner after overseeing the team's pre-match warm-up, a statement released through the Players Football Association of Ireland (PFAI) raised issues of alleged delays in payments.
Club chairman Denis O'Connor responded yesterday by claiming "clerical issues" caused three players to receive their wages late last week and that players and staff are now up to date with payments.
He also denied the existence of any transfer or registration embargo, as evidenced by the presence of new goalkeeper Peter Cherrie in the starting line-up.
The public spat arrived in the wake of manager Trevor Croly's resignation on Thursday.
Croly had been recruited in May on a three-year contract but didn't last three months before quitting, along with his assistant John Gill.
O'Connor, who is leading an attempted buy-out of the club, said they are considering their position regarding Croly's contract.
Owen Heary and Don O'Riordan are believed to be the front-runners to take over as manager.
As for the players, last week's problems appear to have been the tipping point, with their statement confirming that "trust between the players and club officials is beyond repair."
Captain David Cassidy, who took on a coaching role from the Markets Field stands on Saturday, stressed that the club's inability to pay its players for the second time this season was completely unacceptable.
He said: "The players have been left by themselves and left without payment. Some players got payment and it bounced. That's completely unacceptable for a professional football club.
"It's not the first time it's happened where there has been a mix-up with players' payments, and people are questioning whether they want to be at this club any more."
The statement from the squad reaffirmed that stance: "We wish to publicly state that some players are considering their employment options unless there are drastic changes."
O'Connor, meanwhile, claims the playing staff have been invited to "clear-the-air" talks this week, expressing confidence that all issues can be addressed successfully.
The Seasiders managed to put a hugely turbulent week behind them by taking all three points courtesy of Scully's 90th-minute free kick.
Lee Lynch should have put Limerick ahead on 58 minutes only for Cherrie to deny the midfielder from point-blank range.
Bray had the advantage of an extra man for the final 30 minutes after the dismissal of Sean Harding for two bookable offences and it eventually undid them.
Limerick Martin Russell was left to chew over his team's latest defeat.
"We were well in the game and we had a massive chance to go ahead but 30 seconds later we're down to 10 men. That's a reflection of how tight the game was," he said.
"As has been the case during the season, those tight margins have gone against us. It's hard to take and it's frustrating, but when you're down to 10 men for so long, it's going to be difficult."
LIMERICK FC - O'Donnell; Harding, Price (O'Connor 56), Williams, Tracy; Duggan, O'Conor; Turner (Rainsford 70), Lynch, Russell; Clarke.
BRAY WANDERERS - Cherrie; Douglas, Cooney, McNally, Barker; McEvoy, Sullivan; McGlynn (Hanlon 78), Kelly, McDonagh (Scully 84); Lyons (Omwubiko 72).
REF - R Harvey (Dublin)