LS Cup SF
Date: 7:45 p.m. July 19, 2010
Venue: Carlisle Grounds
Given that Bray Wanderers have suffered three league defeats at the hands of UCD this season, including a morale sapping 6-0 defeat on this ground back in early May, the expectation was that UCD would be providing the attacking thrills and spills in this game. But from the kick-off it was the Premier Division’s basement boys who made things happen and forced their opponents into prolonged periods of concentrated defence.
The first chance fell as early as the second minute when John Mulroy played Shane O’Neill through the middle. Only a beautifully timed saving tackle from Michael Leahy kept things scoreless.
Ian Tuohy was lively on Bray’s left wing and with Jake Kelly behind him as a make-shift left back, there was a constant stream of forward moving traffic for the students right back Michael Kelly to deal with.
As it turned out the breakthrough came from the opposite side of the pitch when Daire Doyle floated a free kick into the UCD box from the halfway line. Danny O’Connor rose highest and headed into the danger area where ‘keeper Billy Brennan really should have gathered the ball. Instead, Mulroy rose with him and somehow came away with the ball at his feet. One deft cut-back later and Shane O’Neill had driven in Bray’s opener.
This should have provided a wakeup call to a UCD midfield that contained such talented performers as Chris Mulhall, Paul Corry and Greg Bolger. But it didn’t and with Mulhall isolated on the right and UCD providing only occasional passages of slick passing that came to nothing, Bray continued to dominate.
Just six minutes later Shane O’Neill drove in his second of the night following a long ball from Tuohy that was expertly headed into his path by Mulroy.
Apart from a free kick from Paul Corry that curled around the Bray wall but was gathered low down by Brian Kane and a Corry shot that whistled high over the bar it was a half in which the home side thoroughly deserved their half time lead.
Nor did they waver as the second half began. Mulroy and O’Neill continued to work well together up front and Graham Kelly, a recent signing from Derby County, showed the kind of composure and vision that an apprenticeship in the Championship might suggest.
But with both Mulhall and Stephen Roche coming in from their wide positions to play a more active part in proceedings the visitors did acquire a more forward moving momentum.
With an hour gone that trickle of initiative had turned into a steady stream and shortly after Graham Rusk had worked his way in from the left and poked a shot inches wide of Kane’s near post, the visitors pulled one back.
In the 64th minute Bray failed to clear a Paul Corry corner and Greg Bolger shot back into the pack from the edge of the area. Robbie Creevy was the man who hooked the ball home at the far post.
This might have set up a dramatic finish to this game but, five minutes after the students played themselves back into things, Shane O’Neill struck for the third time. It was Bray substitute Robbie Doyle who fashioned the chance, knocking a smart ball through to his strike partner who coolly booked his team’s passage to the final of the Leinster Senior.
To their credit UCD battled on. Rusk ran tirelessly along the frontline and Bolger and Mulhall became considerably more influential. Both Ciaran Kilduff and Dwayne Wilson came on with twelve minutes left in an effort to bolster what would have been a most unlikely revival. But there were certainly enough chances over the final twenty minutes for the situation to have changed dramatically.
Dwayne Wilson blew a promising chance into the stomach of Kane and Andy Boyle had a shot hacked away by the excellent Adam Mitchell. Then, with just three minutes left Robbie Creevy headed a Mulhall corner against the underside of the crossbar and Bolger, incredibly, headed the rebound high up and over.
A minute later Mulhall played Kilduff through the off-side trap but as he tried to round the ‘keeper, Kane plucked the ball off his toe. That was the final chance and as the whistle blew Bray celebrated their passage to the final of the 2010 Leinster Senior Cup. The students leave with nothing.
Bray Wanderers: Brian Kane; Daire Doyle, Dave Webster, Adam Mitchell, Jake Kelly; Ian Tuohy, James Kavanagh (Dane Massey, HT), Graham Kelly, Danny O’Connor; Shane O’Neill (Adam O’Connor, 89), John Mulroy (Robbie Doyle, 61).
?Subs not used: Shane O’Connor, Chris Shields, Nicholas Byrne, Dean Zambra.
Bookings: D O’Connor (12), Adam Mitchell (23).
UCD: Billy Brennan; Michael Kelly, Andy Boyle, Michael Leahy, Ciaran Nangle; Robbie Creevy, Greg Bolger, Paul Corry (Dwayne Wilson, 78), Chris Mulhall, Stephen Roche (Ciaran Kilduff, 78); Graham Rusk.
Subs not used: Ger Barron, Evan McMillan, Gareth Mathews, Paul O’Conor, Keith Ward.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Shane O’Neill.
Referee: Rob Rogers
??Attendance: 150 (estimate).