Seagulls treating New Oak clash with respect
Bray Wanderers 0
A solitary strike from rising star Jack Moylan decided this contest but, more importantly, it brought the curtain down on Bray Wanderers’ pre-season campaign.
It is an arduous box-ticking exercise that is definitely done for purpose rather than pleasure and Ian Ryan’s side thankfully emerged relatively unscathed from their fixtures.
Ironically, Moylan joined Ryan at Wexford FC in a bid to get some minutes and he left Ferrycarrig Park as one of the hottest prospects in the league thanks to Ryan’s tutelage. Hopefully he can work the same magic on the current Seagulls squad.
As the final whistle blew at the AUL on Saturday afternoon, it surely came as a relief to the Co. Wicklow club who now have Treaty United firmly in their sights.
It was a good test against 2022’s beaten FAI Cup finalists and, with the benefits of playing time under their belts, Ryan felt his squad played their highest level of football to date in their pre-season preparations.
“It was really good. It was probably the best we’ve been for the longest period of a match. We put out a strong team and they did really good. We were really good in the first half and really good throughout really! We probably should have scored a few but overall, it was really pleasing.”
But before all eyes focus on Treaty, Bray have the matter of a Leinster Senior Cup clash against New Oak to content with first. For Wanderers, it is a tricky task to negotiate against a somewhat unknown opposition. For New Oak, it is a chance to pack their ground with locals and attempt a David v Goliath of their own. Despite the potential banana skin, Ryan is relishing the challenge.
“It’s good for us to have something competitive the week before Treaty so we’ll go full tilt at it. It’ll be our only game before Treaty, so we’ll go strong and that’ll lead us nicely into Treaty.
I’m sure for them against a league team; they’ll be out for blood but it’s important for us to compete really well and it gives us a good stepping stone into our league fixture the week after.
“We’ll be treating it with respect, and we’ll be going out to win the game for sure. For us, the bigger picture is obviously the week after, but it’ll benefit us because it is a cup competition that we want to do alright in, but it also allows us to be competitive ahead of the Treaty game.
“I haven’t seen much of them. I’ve had a few people that have seen them and watched them for me, so I know a little bit, but we’ll just try to look after ourselves.”
Two men that definitely will not make the trip to Carlow are Darren Craven and Dave Webster – both will be absent until mid-March. Eoin Farrell, Luka Lovic and Len O’Sullivan will all return to training this week, however.
In pre-season, Ryan seems to have preferred a 4-3-3 formation, but he is reluctant to call it his go-to. He’ll pick the team and tactics that he thinks are appropriate for the risk presented. He is very happy to have such a healthy mixture between youth and experience and hopes that the former take their chance this season to show the league what they’re made of.
“I don’t really have a set system. For me, I need to find a system to suit what we have and suit the players that we have but yeah; we’ll probably go that way but there are different variations of it. When we have everyone fit, we’ll have different options then and some flexibility.
“It’s important to get the right blend and I think we’ve got it right. We’ve got a couple of older ones like Dane (Massey), Webby (Dave Webster) and Chris (Lyons) who have been about, but the bulk of the squad are probably around 23 or below. We have lads looking to make a name for themselves and then lads who might have lost their way and they need to get going again and that’s what we want. Everyone that is there needs to prove a point – that goes for the coaching staff and the players.”
Bray Wanderers: Alex Moody; Max Murphy, Jack Hudson, Cole Omorehiomwan, Dane Massey; Conor Crowley, Guillemo, Harry Groome; Callum Thompson, Jake Walker, Ben Feeney. Subs: Conor Knight, Zach Donohue, Leon Ajala, Scott Browne, Daniel Chucwu, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Jack Ross.