Date: 7:45 p.m. July 9, 2010
Venue: Carlisle Grounds
Right from the word go, it was evident that there was only going to be one winner from this game, as Sporting were looking that bit sharper in the final-third, and looked like they had plenty of ammunition in their artillery. Having said that though, it was actually Bray who had the first meaningful chance of the game, as a fine cross by raiding full-back Dane Massey on six minutes was met by the in-form Shane O'Neill, but he couldn't direct his effort on goal from a very tight angle.
This would prove to be the only danger from Bray in the opening half however, and Sporting very nearly took the lead on nine minutes when a clever free-kick by Lorcan Fitzgerald was latched onto by Kenny Browne, whose effort was saved low by Bray 'keeper Brian Kane. The rebound fell to defender Ger O'Brien, but his shot was cleared off the line by midfielder Chris Shields.
The Seagulls were really let off the hook on this occasion, but they would get no such luck three minutes later when Conan Byrne's ball from the right was scrambled home by veteran striker Glen Crowe from a distance of six yards. In truth, this goal had been coming for a while, and it seemed like only a matter time before the Morton Stadium-outfit doubled their lead.
This is exactly what happened on 19 minutes, as Kirby finished coolly from 12 yards after Kane had stopped Zayed from tapping in O'Brien's delivery. The remainder of the opening half saw Sporting operating very much in cruise control, and they would have registered a third goal after 22 minutes if it wasn't for some last-gasp defending from the returning Danny O'Connor.
Bray did have a brief spell of danger on 39 minutes when O'Neill received the ball just inside the area with six first-half minutes remaining, but the elusive striker slipped at the wrong moment and ended up scuffing his shot. Had he not slipped, there may have been an opportunity for Bray, but equally former Bray man Zayed hit the post in injury-time with a right-footed strike.
After the break, Sporting continued to dominate, although they didn't have quite the same penetration now that O'Brien and Byrne had been withdrawn from the right flank. Both these men had been instrumental in Sporting's good play in the first period, so it was understandable that their performance level dropped off slightly.
As in every game of this nature though, there was always a chance that the losing team could force their way back into the game in the blink of an eye. This very nearly happened eight minutes into the second half when left-winger Jake Kelly received the ball from a long Derek Prendergast clearance. He kicked his effort past Fingal goalie Brendan Clarke, who had come running off his line, but new signing Colin Hawkins was on hand to stop his attempt from rolling into the net.
This proved to be no more than an aberration unfortunately, as Sporting once again resumed control of the game. The impressive Crowe hit the post on 57 minutes to show that he was still eager to increase his scoring rate. His strike partner Zayed also hit the post from a Colm James cross four minutes later, but Bray weren't so lucky on this occasion as Kirby was on hand to bury the follow-up shot to the top corner of Kane's goal.
Any chance that Wanderers had of getting something from this game had effectively gone with this goal, as the three points on offer were more than wrapped up by the FAI Cup Champions at this point. Indeed, Bray were lucky that they weren't further behind, and Sporting hit the woodwork for the third time with 16 minutes left, as Crowe hit it for the second time with a low drive from just inside the area.
As the game entered into the final 15 minutes of play, the game became something of a damp squib, as Bray tried with their might to get a goal that would add some respectability to the final score line. This goal never looked like arriving though, and Sporting Fingal held on for a convincing in the end, to move up to third place in the table.
Bray Wanderers: Kane; S O'Connor (Mitchell '16), D O'Connor, Prendergast, Massey; Mulroy, Shields, Kavanagh (R Doyle '63), Zambra (Byrne '84), Kelly; O'Neill.
Subs not used: D Doyle, A O'Connor.
Sporting Fingal: Clarke; O'Brien (James '34), Williams, Hawkins, Fitzgerald (Quinn '68); Byrne (Dawson '45), Browne, Finn, Kirby; Crowe, Zayed.
Subs not used: Gannon, Quigley.
Referee: R. Winters (Wicklow).
Extra Time Man Of The Match: Alan Kirby (Sporting Fingal).