UCD -v- Bray WanderersThu, Aug 30 2012
This Friday night, 10th placed UCD begin life “post Paul Corry” with a home tie against ninth placed Bray Wanderers (kick-off 7:45pm). Having recently been called up to Noel King’s Republic of Ireland under 21squad, the exciting midfielder capped a great month with his recent switch to Sheffield Wednesday. Speaking to www.ucdsoccer.com, UCD manager Martin Russell underlined the importance of Corry’s transfer for all involved.
“The signing of Paul Corry to Sheffield Wednesday is a significant move for all concerned. Paul leaves us having completed his studies and now can focus on making his way in the professional game with a top championship club. He has been a valuable team player since his arrival. I know he values the philosophy that the club beholds, and his move for me demonstrates that you can continue your footballing aspirations without sacrificing your education.
“Far too many Irish players leave too early for too little. When I originally signed Paul I told him that UCD was the best option for a lad his age and I hope more like him will follow in his steps in the future.
“He has progressed in both football and academic pathways and everyone here wishes him the best.
Russell was keen to look on the positive however, with Corry’s departure providing an opportunity for others to step up and follow his lead.
“It’s not easy to lose someone of Paul’s calibre, but it now gives others an opportunity to progress, and this has been a feature at the club for a long time. All the lads will miss Paul, but can also use his rise up the football as a source of inspiration.”
On the field, the Students have improved their form of late. Recent victories against Cork City and Shelbourne were no more than Russell’s charges have deserved, as their attractive brand of football finally began to put points on the table. A win against Bray would see them close the gap to three points, as UCD look to avoid an end of season play-off for survival. Bray have had the upper hand in recent league ties between these clubs however, something Russell is keen to reverse.
“We go into this evening’s game trying to buck the trend of our recent matches against Bray with our opponents gaining far too many points for our liking. Bray have consistently proven a difficult team to beat and Pat, as always, will have them geared up.”
“We all know by now in this competitive league that you really have to work to secure points , Bray also need to add some to their tally in order to avoid any playoff.”
On the injury front, UCD are still missing the injured goalkeeper John Kelly (thigh), while top scorer Graham Rusk (shin), midfielders Chris Mulhall (groin) and Tom O’Halloran (groin) and striker Cillian Morrison (ankle) are all long term absentees.
Sean Russell (groin) will be out for two weeks but Dean Clarke who missed Monday’s cup game with a hip injury trained on Wednesday and will be fit to take his place in the squad. Samir Belhout also trained on Wednesday after a broken bone in his foot and will also be in the squad.
Bray Wanderers come into Friday night’s game with some form of their own. Unbeaten in five, Bray will look on this Friday’s game as a perfect chance to put distance between themselves and the bottom two and consolidate their place in the Premier Division. If they are to do so however, they will have to do so without their leading goalscorer Jason Byrne who misses out through suspension. Bray are not a one man show though, with goalkeeper Darren Quigley keeping four clean sheets in the last five games, and Kieran “Marty” Walters continuing to attract the plaudits.
Last time out in the Premier Division, Bray Wanderers added their 23rd point of the season with a 0-0 draw at home to Derry City. Speaking during the week about the game, Bray’s Director of Football Pat Devlin said "It was a good performance especially with the players we had missing on the night. It’s a game we should have won, and we certainly would have done if we had taken our chances".
Back to the task at hand this Friday Bray will be going for a hattrick of league wins against the Students this season, but this is something that Devlin is not taking for granted:
"Games between Bray and U.C.D. are always tight and the result can go either way,we will need to be at our best if we are to get the three points". Devlin added, "U.C.D.are a very good side".
Referee: Neil Doyle.
Bray have beaten UCD in their last six league meetings, with the Students not registering a league win in this tie since 2010. That year however they did beat them 6-0 and 4-0.
Only Sligo, Drogheda and Shamrock Rovers have scored more goals than Bray this season (28), however Jason Byrne has scored twelve of these goals is suspended for Friday night’s tie.
Bray Wanderers welcome Reading to the Carlisle Grounds this Sunday afternoon for a friendly game (kick off 4pm). Bray have already welcomed Scunthorpe United, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bradford City and a Liverpool XI across the water for pre season friendlies this summer, but have lost all of them.
UCD 6/4, Draw 11/5, Bray Wanderers 17/10.
UCD 2-1 Bray Wanderers.
UCD injury news: John Kelly (thigh), Graham Rusk (shin), Chris Mulhall (groin), Tom O’Halloran (groin), Cillian Morrison (ankle) and Sean Russell (groin).
UCD suspension news: None.
Bray Wanderers injury news: None.
Bray Wanderers suspension news: Jason Byrne.
Brian Fitzgerald is a Dublin-based reporter who has followed Cork City since the mid 1990's. Brian can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on twitter @B_Twitzgerald