Sheppard leads way for Galway to ignite early optimism
One of Galway United's seasonal objectives is to be a resilient team at Terryland Park, and this triumph brought a dash of optimism to the Corribside club.
Though only 902 paying spectators filed through the turnstiles, those who braved the cold were treated to an interesting encounter that featured a decisive contribution from one of Galway's close-season recruits Karl Sheppard.
Bray did settle well, and could have hit the front after only 40 seconds, but Robbie Doyle dragged a shot wide. As the half wore on Galway improved significantly and they took the lead in the 21st minute courtesy of Sheppard. Gary Curran burst into the Bray area and though Brian Kane saved his initial attempt Sheppard swept Galway ahead.
Sheppard's ability was evident again in the 27th minute as Galway added a second goal. Bobby Ryan's crafty pass down the right flank allowed Sheppard skip past Dane Massey before drilling a cross to the back stick. Left-winger Derek O'Brien timed his run perfectly to supply an assured finish.
Admirably, Bray responded and in the 41st minute a Galway lapse in concentration was punished as substitute Philip Knight gathered possession following a Shane O'Neill cross, and squeezed a shot through a cluster of bodies.
Galway ought to have scored on a couple of occasions in the third quarter as Sheppard and O'Brien spurned chances. Fortunately for them sufficient damage had been inflicted.
Galway United -- Ryan; Conneely, Heary, McKenzie, Meynell; Ryan (McBrien 76), Foley, Curran, O'Brien; Molloy (Keane 83), Sheppard.
Bray Wanderers -- Kane; Doyle, Byrne (Knight, 35), O'Connor, Massey (Georgescu, 83); Baker, Kavanagh, Shields, Kelly (Tyrell 57); O'Neill, Doyle.
Ref -- A Kelly (Cork).