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Sunday 22 July 2018

Nightmare start!

Soccer: Leinster Senior Cup, Bray Wanderers 1 St Patrick's 3

Corey Galvin on the ball for Bray Wanderers
Corey Galvin on the ball for Bray Wanderers

Daniel Gorman at the Carlisle Grounds

Bray Wanderers hit an iceberg as soon as they left port but they steadied the ship somewhat before sinking.

The Seagulls were 0-3 down inside the opening 10 minutes as their search for a first ever Leinster Senior Cup rumbled on for another year.

Hugh Douglas - the club's newly appointed vice-captain - restored some pride in the second period but there was no recovering from their early disaster.

With Conor Kenna absent through injury, Bray started the tie with a 19-year-old and 22-year-old at the heart of their defence and 17-yea-old Alex Nevin between the posts.

Despite such a torrid start, Wanderers recovered and were the better side in the first period - even if they relied on Nevin to bail them out on numerous occasions in the latter stages.

It really was the stuff of nightmares for Mackey in the first 10 minutes.

A free kick from the right flank lead to the Pat's opener. Owen Garvan curled in a delicious delivery that may well have found the net independently but debutant Ryan Brennan made sure as he helped it on its way with a deft header against his former club.

Fast forward 60 seconds and a free kick from the left flank yielded a second for then visitors. This deadball suited the right boot of Graham Kelly better and ex-Aston Villa youngster Kevin Toner applied the finish with his forehead - also on his Saints bow.

To be 0-2 down after seven minutes was a disaster but it was to get worse. In the 10th minute, Conan Byrne escaped the attention of Kevin Lynch on the right wing and fired in a low cross that Christy Fagan - far too easily - dispatched with ease.

As Bray waited to restart, Mackey could be seen having a quiet word with Darragh Noone - what he was saying is anyone's guess.

The hosts earned a corner in the 17th minute. Gary McCabe swung it in and although Hugh Douglas won the battle to meet it, he was under severe pressure and couldn't keep his effort on target.

Rookie Alex Nevin - although not at fault for any of the opening three goals - was lucky not to concede a fourth on 26 minutes when Dean Clarke picked out the in-rushing midfielder with a left-wing cross but Kelly glanced the header when he should have planted it and Bray escaped.

Sean Heaney took matters into his own hands in the 33rd minute as he intercepted on half-way and surged forward with the ball. He tried to slip in Greene but the attacker was well marshalled by Lee Desmond who blocked his shot.

Bray threatened from a set piece when Darragh Gibbons nodded on McCabe's delivery after Galvin had been fouled but Brian Maher confidently watched it wide.

Wanderers' purple patch continued when Kevin Lynch darted onto a loose ball and got a march on Conan Byrne. He drilled in a low cross and found Paul O'Conor but the midfielder contrived to skew it wide from eight yards.

Galvin dodged and weaved past a couple of players on the edge of the area and only had one thing on his mind but his attempted curler to the top corner was tame and easily saved by Maher.

Conan Byrne went close to adding a fourth on the stroke of half time but his curling free kick dropped a few inches wide of Nevin's goal.

An early Bray goal would have completely changed the complexion of the second half and they almost got one too. McCabe wormed his way along the left byline and squared it for O'Conor. This time, his strike was on target but this time, Maher pulled off a superb reflex save to deflect it over.

The arrears were reduced in the 67th minute by Hugh Douglas. John Sullivan chipped a diagonal ball into the area and the Bray right-back out-muscled his man and drilled his shot past Maher.

And the deficit was so agonisingly close to being reduced to one when Aaron Greene - from inside his own half - spotted Maher off his line and went for the spectacular. He struck the underside of the crossbar and Maher counted his blessings.

From a tad closer in, Greene looked menacing again only for his thunderous 15-yard drive to be blocked and McCabe skied the follow up.

Conan Byrne could have settled the tie with eight minutes of normal time remaining as he weaved through the Bray defence. He chipped it over the sprawling body of Nevin but it finished the wrong side of the post.

Nevin continued to prove himself as a solid shot-stopper and - despite conceding three goals - he should be a proud young man for how he acquitted himself.

Pat's enjoyed a flurry of late chances to put the final nail in Bray's coffin but a combination of good goalkeeping and brave defending just about kept them out.

Bray Wanderers: 29. Alex Nevin; 2. Hugh Douglas, 5. Sean Heaney, 15. Darragh Gibbons, 3. Kevin Lynch; 8. John Sullivan, 6. Paul O'Conor; 22. Darragh Noone, 21. Gary McCabe, 7. Cory Galvin; 10. Aaron Greene. Subs: Rhys Gorman for Gibbons (64); Daniel Kelly for Noone (64); Shane Flynn for Lynch (82). Not used: Dylan Hayes, Calvin Rogers, Ger Pender, Jake Ellis.

St. Patrick's Athletic: 16. Brian Maher; 17. Simon Madden, 5. Lee Desmond, 4. Kevin Toner, 3. Ian Bermingham; 6. Owen Garvan, 8. Graham Kelly, 11. Ryan Brennan; 7. Conan Byrne, 9. Christy Fagan, 18. Dean Clarke. Subs: Darragh Markey for Kelly (64); James Doona for Clarke (64); Jamie Lennon for Brennan (78). Not used: Michael Barker, Ian Turner, Michael Leahy.

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