Kelly's stunner sets Wanderers adrift
Soccer, SSE Airtricity League First Division: Limerick FC 1 Bray Wanderers 0
A stunner from Limerick skipper Shaun Kelly stunned the Seagulls and left them eight points adrift in the title race - with an extra game played.
Seven minutes from time, Limerick right-back Shaun Kelly lined one up from distance and let rip to inflict a fifth defeat in 11 matches on Gary Cronin's charges.
After winning three of their first four league outings, Bray Wanderers have only picked up seven points from the proceeding seven ties and need to hit a run of form or risk being left behind with the midway point of the season on the horizon.
Ex-Cabo striker Joe Doyle boosted Bray hopes as he had recovered sufficiently from a hamstring problem suffered on April 5th to take a place on the bench.
The visitors were the favourites at Market's Field; Limerick were without a win in three amid rumours of unpaid wages and possible new investors at the club - something not welcomed by all fans who let their feelings be known on the night.
That same set of fans nearly had something to cheer very early on as ex-Cork City attacker Connor Ellis might have broken the deadlock after four minutes. Left-back Shane Tracy used his wand of a left foot to create the opportunity for Daly who had snook between Hugh Douglas and Darragh Gibbons but Ellis turned it over.
Derek Daly had actually attempted the first shot of the evening after two minutes but it barely warmed the palms of Jack Brady.
Chances were limited; a few speculative efforts by Darren Murphy and Lee Devitt Molloy can consider themselves lucky to be included in the half-chance column even but Wanderers should have struck first blood on 21 minutes when Dean O'Halloran escaped clear down the right flank and his centre was perfect for Daly who appeared to have the simple task of just guiding it home but the winger somehow failed to hit the target from less than 12 yards out.
Jake Ellis managed to fare slightly better than Daly minutes later from the edge of the box as he hit the target but it was straight down Brady's throat.
The sides continued to trade hopeful - but ultimately hopeless - shots although Ellis had a decent chance when picked out by William Fitzgerald's cross from the left but the striker's header failed to trouble Sava.
With Cronin's hair already greying following the first sitter squandered, he was left reaching for the Just For Men after O'Halloran was guilty of passing up a golden opportunity shortly before half time. McGlade provided the creative spark and laid on the pass for O'Halloran but the winger drilled over from 12 yards when he really should have buried it.
Sava had relatively little to do in the first period but he was called into action early in the second period. Central midfielder Darren Murphy started the move with a pass for Conor Ellis and he in turn fed Ger Barry. Barry then returned the ball to Murphy who struck a powerful strike but Sava showed good reflexes to tip it over the bar.
There were two close calls at the other end when Lims defender Killian Brouder earned a massive pat on the block with a brilliant block to deny Dylan McGlade and Wanderers did then find the net but it was immediately ruled out for offside.
Hometown hero Dylan Barnett was next to try and break the deadlock but his 25 yard free went whistling over the crossbar.
Gary Cronin didn't want to settle for a point so Joe Doyle was called upon 20 minutes from time but unfortunately instead of grabbing all three, Bray would go on to kiss goodbye to any points thanks to Shaun Kelly's moment of brilliance. A bit like Vincent Kompany on Monday evening, nobody expected anything when the defender looked up from 25 yards but he unleashed a thunderbolt that offered Sava with no hope.
Dylan McGlade almost went one better when his pearler from 30 yards had Brady similarly beaten but it whizzed narrowly wide much to his despair and it was another evening to forget for the Co. Wicklow club.
Limerick: 1. Jack Brady; 2. Shaun Kelly, 5. Killian Brouder, 6. Robbie Williams, 11. Shane Tracy; 24. Darren Murphy, 8. Jason Hughes; 19. Ger Barry, 12. Lee Devitt Molloy, 31. William Fitzgerald; 10. Connor Ellis. Subs: Kieran Hanlon for Barry (76). Not used: Tomas O'Connor, Adam Foley, Tommy Holland.
Bray Wanderers: 1. Gabriel Sava; 22. Luke Nolan, 15. Darragh Gibbons, 2. Hugh Douglas, 3. Dylan Barnett; 7. Dean O'Halloran, 4. Killian Cantwell, 6. Paul Keegan, 11. Derek Daly; 10. Dylan McGlade; 14. Jake Ellis. Subs: Joe Doyle for Ellis (70); Richie Purdy for Daly (79). Not used: Adam Hayden, Sean Heaney, Andrew McGovern, Brandon McCann, Luka Lovic.
Referee: Alan Carey.
Venue: Market's Field, Limerick.