Dundalk frustrated as Bray dig in for a point
Dundalk 0 Bray Wanderers 0
With new American chairman Mike Treacy watching from the stands, Dundalk were left kicking their heels in frustration as Bray Wanderers left Oriel Park with a deserved share of the spoils on the opening night of the SSE Airtriciyy League season.
Questions marks hung over the Seagulls ahead of the new campaign but Dave Mackey's men were full value for their point and they might even have taken all three had Gary Rogers not denied Aaron Greene in the dying stages.
The Lilywites, who confirmed the loan signing of Sam Byrne from Everton before the game, huffed and puffed without ever really looking like they were going to blow the Bray house down. Stephen Kenny's side finished the game with six new faces on the pitch and, on this evidence, they could take a bit of time to click into gear.
Half chances did arrive with Robbie Benson hooking an effort over the top inside the opening 10 minutes before Dean Jarvis, making his first appearance since joining from Derry City, fired just wide with a spectacular volley.
Dundalk's best passage of play came in the 19th minute, an incisive burst of one-touch passing ending with Benson's effort saved by goalkeeper Aaron Dillon, a 21-year old League of Ireland debutant on loan from Blackburn Rovers.
Mackey's side grew into it as the half wore on and they almost pulled in front just past the half hour when Cory Galvin worked space for a drive only to see Rogers parry his effort away to safety.
Bray continued to do a fine job of containing the hosts in the second half and Kenny dispatched Hungarian midfielder Kristian Adorjan, Patrick Hoban and Byrne into the fray in a bid to get the winner.
Dillon had to turn a looping Adorjan header over the top in the 72nd minute and Benson drilled one just past the upright two minutes later.
However, the Dundalk onslaught never materialised and it was Bray who almost landed a sucker punch in the dying stages.
Dane Massey's loose pass was seized upon by substitute Daniel Kelly but Rogers made a fine stop to deny Greene and ensure the game finished scoreless.
DUNDALK - Rogers; Gannon, Folan, Massey, Jarvis; Shields, Benson; Connolly (Adorjan 60), McGrath (Byrne 81), Duffy; Murray (Hoban 68).
BRAY WANDERERS - Dillon; Coughlan (D Kelly 74), Douglas, Heaney, Lynch; Sullivan (Noone 62), McCabe, O'Conor; McKenna, Greene, Galvin.
REF - R Rogers