Homepage image courtesy of Jason O'Callaghan
It may have been a scoreless draw, but it this Tolka Park encounter couldn't quite be described as a bore draw. Shelbourne and Bray Wanderers both had clear chances to win the match, but neither were able to take advantage.
The home side's best chance of the first half, which they controlled well, came after 21 minutes, when Glen Cronin met a Paddy Kavanagh cross at the far post. He headed the ball against the underside of the crossbar but Darren Quigley was able to gather it up easily enough.
Not long later ex-Redsman Jason Byrne went close for the visitors, but his arching shot from just outside the box was too high. The Seagulls only really came into the match after that chance, around the half hour mark, but they failed to create any clear-cut goal chances.
The Seagulls – aiming to secure their place in next season's Premier Division with a win – continued to push up in the second half. A defensive mix-up between Chris Bennion and Brian Shortall nearly ended up in a Bray goal, but Shels always looked eager to counter.
A superb solo effort from Paddy Kavanagh almost yielded a goal for the winger against his old club after 54 minutes. His mazy run into the Wanderers box wasn't picked up and Quigley had to be at full stretch to push his shot away.
The industrious Paul Byrne would have deserved a goal had he scored on 61 minutes. He almost capped an exquisite short passing move also involving David Cassidy, Kevin Dawson and Paddy Kavanagh, but he wasn't quite able to get on the cross in front of the gaping Bray goal.
Byrne did find the net minutes later, finishing low after Bray failed to clear their lines. But the goal was ruled offside, leaving the Reds to plan another in a seemingly endless barrage of assaults on the Bray defence. It was the away side's turn to counter-attack then, but Marty Waters' 73rd minute shot, which grazed the crossbar, was as close as they got to scoring for a while.
Bray attempted to ramp up the pressure in the last ten minutes, when Shels had to clear two successive corners and a Jason Byrne clearance away. Daire Doyle also had a chance to turn a Mary Waters shot in, but the ball ended up over the bar. With five minutes left the match had its second goal ruled out, when an offside Jason Byrne nodded an Adam Hanlon cross past Bennion.
In added time at the end of the match, Shortall blasted a shot towards the Bray goal after a long punt up-field by Bennion. It looked like it had the Seagulls 'keeper beaten, but it spun over the bar
Shelbourne: Chris Bennion; Ian Ryan, Andy Boyle, Brian Shortall, Sean Byrne; Paddy Kavanagh, Glen Cronin, Kevin Dawson, David Cassidy, Barry Clancy (Conan Byrne 67); Paul Byrne (Philip Gorman 86).
Subs Not Used: Paul Skinner, Gareth Matthews, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Stephen Hurley.
Booked: Shortall (81).
Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley; David Webster, Adam Mitchell, Danny O'Connor, Dane Massey; John Mulroy (Daire Doyle 79), Dean Zambra, Kevin O'Connor, Sean Houston (Adam Hanlon 69); Kieran Marty Waters (Dean Marshall 90), Jason Byrne.
Subs Not Used: Brian Kane, Lee Dixon, Shane O'Connor, Yani Georgiev.
Booked: Massey (49), Mulroy (55).
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Paul Byrne (Shelbourne).
Niall Farrell is our correspondent at Tolka Park, covering the goings-on at Shelbourne. You can visit Niall's website for further information and contact details- niallf.net.