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Saturday 18 November 2017

Stroll for Saints as Wanderers exit Leinster Senior Cup with a whimper

Ian Bermingham of St Patrick’s Athletic and Karl Moore of Bray Wanderers keep their eyes on the ball
Ian Bermingham of St Patrick’s Athletic and Karl Moore of Bray Wanderers keep their eyes on the ball

Daniel Gorman at the Carlisle Grounds

Bray Wanderers' Leinster Senior Cup adventure didn't even flicker before being firmly extinguished by St. Patrick's Athletic.

Bray Wanderers 0 St Patrick's Athletic 4

Christy Fagan, a striker heavily targeted by the Seagulls in the off-season, was instrumental in victory; bagging two goals and putting one on a plate for Alex O'Hanlon.

Fagan's first half brace added to captain Ian Bermigham's opener before ex-Liverpool youngster O'Hanlon tapped home Fagan's tee-up.

It was definitely not the result Harry Kenny would have expected or wanted against a side he had a 100% record against last term but actors aren't judged on dress rehearsals and neither should Wanderers on this, despite the tie's limpness.

A bright start quickly dimmed as Jonathan Lunney bamboozled Kevin Lynch wide on the Pat's right.

His cross was temporarily rebutted by Hughie Douglas but it fell to Bermingham and the defender managed to squeeze a low drive to the net via the inside of the post from 22 yards.

Bray's task doubled in difficulty four minutes later. Lunney impressed again with more fancy footwork and a clever pass down the right for Conan Byrne. Saints' number 7 drilled in a cross and Fagan showed his striking prowess as he adjusted to stick it to the roof of the net at the back stick.

The first chance of the match had actually fallen the way of the hosts.

Douglas was impeded as he tried to round Bermingham and won a free. Lynch whipped it into the middle and skipper Conor Kenna's flick had Barry Murphy scrambling across his goal as it sailed wide.

Bray's deficit should have been halved midway through the first half. Darragh Noone's corner dropped at the feet of John Sullivan a mere six yards out but his attempt to hack home was thwarted as it rebounded off a team-mate.

An interception from Lynch saw him launch and almost finish a Bray counter. He pounced on a wayward pass and fed Pender. The lone striker sprung Dylan Connolly down the left and he picked out the in-rushing Lynch.

His run had been tracked however and his header was blocked and snuffed out.

Debutant Keith Buckley called Murphy into action in the 35th minute and the shot-stopper smartly turned it behind.

A game of pinball arose from the ensuing corner but Pender's prodded effort was shovelled off the line by Murphy.

Pat's went from defence to attack instantly. Fagan lead the charge from the right. He had options flooding into the middle but he continued to gobble up the space the Bray defence offered and he then made them pay as he smashed a superb finish into the far bottom corner.

It could even have been 0-4 before the break as O'Hanlon chipped a cross across the penalty area to Conan Byrne.

He generated sufficient power with his header but it floated wide by a matter of inches.

A fourth would arrive early in the second half and Bray were the architects of their own downfall.

Tim Clancy misplaced a pass, Fagan seized the opportunity and with only Kenna and Cherrie standing between him and a hat-trick, he unselfishly squared to O'Hanlon who did the rest.

Clancy then immediately walked from the pitch and it appeared to force Harry Kenny into a reshuffle. Gary McCabe had looked set to enter the fray but instead Derek Foran was hastily readied for action to replace the departed Co. Meath man.

Pockets of home fans remained and were almost given the scant reward of a consolation goal.

First, John Sullivan's half-volley from Moore's corner kick found the crossbar and then Hugh Douglas had a header tipped over the crossbar by Barry Murphy.

It was an evening to forget for Bray but the result will not live ling in the memory.

The league opener against the Saints in 16 days will be their real judge of character.

Bray Wanderers: 1. Peter Cherrie; 2. Hugh Douglas, 4. Conor Kenna, 21. Tim Clancy, 19. Kevin Lynch; 3. John Sullivan; 10. Karl Moore, 22. Darragh Noone, 6. Keith Buckley, 16. Dylan Connolly; 17. Ger Pender. SUBS: Derek Foran for Clancy (53); Ryan Brennan for Noone (59); Anto Flood for Pender (72). Not used: Ryan Brown, Mark Salmon, Gary McCabe, Aaron Greene.

St. Patrick's Athletic: 25. Barry Murphy; 2. Michael Barker, 4. Gavin Peers, 5. Darren Dennehy, 3. Ian Bermingham; 11. Jonathan Lunney, 6. Pat Cregg, 24. Alex O'Hanlon; 7. Conan Byrne, 9. Christy Fagan, 20. Billy Dennehy. SUBS: Rory Feely for Peers (45); Kurtis Byrne for Fagan (64); Graham Kelly for O'Hanlon (64). Not used: Conor O'Malley, Lee Desmond, Aidan Keena, Sam Verdon.

Referee: Alan Carey.

Venue: Carlisle Grounds, Bray.

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