IT took 120 minutes, but Bray Wanderers saw off the challenge of Shelbourne tonight in Tolka Park to progress in the EA Sports Cup.
Impact substitute Jake Kelly was the difference - scoring a hat-trick after his introduction on 63 minutes. Shane Byrne’s brace had initially given Bray a 2-0 lead before Darren Tinnelly levelled the score with a brace of his own.
Bray’s first two goals came within the first ten minutes - and both came on the counter-attack. Shane Byrne’s first goal was on the five minute mark, after Darren Tinnelly’s cross had been cleared from the Bray box. Dave Scully latched onto the clearance and Byrne supplied the finish - striking low into the bottom left corner from the edge of the Shels box.
Four minutes later Byrne scored again in similar fashion. This time a long ball found Bray’s Ciaran Byrne. He fed Shane Byrne who again struck low, this time into the bottom right.
After that opening salvo, Shels tried to up the tempo through some nimble passing moves. Darren Tinnelly did well down the left, with Shane Dolan narrowly missing one of his crosses in front of the Bray goal after 16 minutes.
But Shels always looked a bit frail against Bray’s counter-attacking ability - and Graham Kelly narrowly missed out on adding a third by shooting wide ten minutes before half time.
After the break, it was Shels’ turn to counter-attack. Darren Tinnelly struck sweetly from a few yards outside the Seagulls box on 47 minutes after a long upfield clearance to reduce the deficit.
Tinnelly was the dangerman all night for Shels, and it fell to him to equalise on 67 minutes. The first corner of the match for Shels wasn’t cleared and dropped for Tinnelly at the far post - a simple tap in.
The momentum was with Shels then, but Bray were able to ride out the storm. Attack and counter-attack was how the match went for most of the rest of the half, with both sides dominating for spells of play.
Gareth Coughlan spurned the best chance since Tinnelly’s goals with three minutes of normal time left - shooting wide after being put through on goal. The match entered extra time, but just three minutes later Bray were back in the lead.
Shels gave away a careless free close to their box, and Jake Kelly stepped up to put it under the wall and past Charlie Treacy. In the second period of extra time, the recently-returned Kelly doubled his tally and made sure of the win.
His goal, again on the break, seemed to roll through the net. After much protest and confusion, referee Tomas Connolly awarded the goal. Kelly sealed his hat-trick in the final minute, converting a penalty after Adam O’Connor handled the ball.
Shelbourne: Charlie Treacy; Simon Dixon, Lee Desmond, Ryan Robinson, William McDonagh (Adam O’Connor 60); Stephen Sheerin, Keith Quinn, Gareth Coughlan, Darren Tinnelly; Jake Donnelly (Dylan Connolly 90+2), Shane Dolan (Michael Duffy 57).
Subs Not Used: Nathan Murphy, Jordan Keegan, Philip Hand, Conor Murphy.
Bookings: Shane Dolan (56), Jake Donnelly (90+2).
Sent Off: Adam O’Connor (119).
Bray Wanderers: Shane Redmond; Eric McGill, Robert Maloney, Dave Webster, Adam Mitchell; Dean Zambra, Graham Kelly, Shane Byrne (David Cassidy 90+1), Adam Hanlon (Jake Kelly 63); Dave Scully, Ciaran Byrne (Ismahil Akinade 46).
Subs Not Used: Stephen McGuinness, Niall Cooney, Philip Nolan, Gary Curran.
Bookings: Eric McGill (84), Graham Kelly (89).
Referee: Thomas Connolly.