League Preview: Bray Wanderers -v- Bohemians

Fri, May 19 2017


Harry Kenny’s men have been enjoying a fine start to the season which sees them sit second in the table behind only the undefeated Cork City.


With just one loss in their last five as well as fine wins over Shamrock Rovers and champions Dundalk, the Wanderers faithful must be overjoyed with the prospect of a top three finish.


The Seagulls have been potent on the attack this year scoring 29 goals, which is the second highest tally in the league, again only behind Cork.


Gary McCabe has been ever present in the midfield this year and has contributed 12 of those 29 goals, the former Shamrock Rovers man is unavailable however through suspension.


Also missing out through suspension is fellow midfielder Mark Salmon, while long term injuries Kevin Lynch, Hugh Douglas and Conor Earley are doubtful and in need of fitness after featuring in a training game against Ireland Under 21s during the week as they continue to recover.  


Bray were 3-0 winners away to Finn Harps last week thanks to goals from Gary McCabe, Ryan Brennan and Aaron Greene.


“We were delighted to come away with the three points up in Finn park last Friday and scoring three excellent goals,” said boss Kenny.


“We have two very tough games coming up starting with Bohs on Friday in the Carlisle and away to Drogheda on the Tuesday. It also helps that players will be available from injury as the next two weeks will be demanding prior to the season break.”


It could be a historic season for the club as they have never finished in the top three since entering the league in 1985, their highest finish being 4th in 2000/2001.


The club have only played in European competition twice, once in 1990/1991 where they lost to Turkish side Trabzonspor in the qualifying round of the Cup Winners Cup, as well as in 1999/2000 where they were defeat by Grasshoppers of Switzerland in the first qualifying round of the Uefa Cup.




Having collected just three points in their last five games and currently occupying the final relegation spot, The Gypsies know exactly what is needed of them if they are to avoid falling through the relegation trap door.


A run of just one win in eight has seen the club fall into the relegation mire, and they will need to fight every step of the way in order to keep their place in the division next year.


The Gypsies come into this game off the back of a 2-0 loss to fierce rivals Shamrock Rovers last Friday night and will be looking to dust themselves off and collect maximum points against a formidable Bray side.


Eoin Wearan remains unavailable due to a cruciate ligament injury, while Ismail Akinade is also side lined as he continues to recover from the surgery he needed to have his spleen removed.


Captain Derek Pender is expected to start despite coming off last week due to a groin injury.

Striker Dinny Corcoran also returned last week as he managed his first full 90 minutes having returned from the knee injury he suffered against Galway.


This is the forwards third spell at the club having returned from a brief stint at St. Patrick’s Athletic last year, and his presence was missed as his teammates managed just three goals in his absence.


"You could see in his performance that he hadn't played,” manager Keith Long pointed out after the defeat to Rovers.


"He's fit but there's no fitness like match fitness, so it is a huge positive that he got the 90 minutes. We didn't expect him to see out the full game but he will be all the better for it now," he added.


Long went on to speak on the effect the loss to Rovers had on the squad stating; “It's not easy for anyone at the club when you lose, especially to Rovers. Everyone was hurting. Training earlier in the week wasn't a nice place to be for anyone.


"We had a full house last week that were right behind us and we don't want to disappoint our fans. It's up to us now to go out, show what we are capable of and put things right.”


The last time these two sides met back in March, a brace from Corcoran as well as a Keith Ward strike capped a memorable comeback as Bohs came back from a 2-0 deficit at half time to snatch all three points.


"There is plenty of fight and spirit in this team, they're certainly not lacking that.” Added Long as he turned his attention to the task at hand.


"But previous games have no bearing on this game. Bray are up to second for a reason. They're an excellent team. But we know our results have to pick up and we will not be found wanting."


Referee: James McKell.




Former Gypsie Keith Buckley scored Bohemians only goal against his current club in the Seagulls 2-1 win in the Carlisle Grounds back in September.


There are five current Bray players who were once on the books at Dalymount Park, with Keith Buckley, Karl Moore, Aaron Greene, Lee Steacy and Anthony Flood all having pulled on a Bohemians shirt during their careers. Meanwhile Ishmail Akinade, Paddy Kavanagh, Derek Pender are the only players in the Bohs squad to have spent time in County Wicklow. Current Bohemians full-back Dylan Hayes spent a short period at Bray as a trialist back in January before he re-signed with the Gypsies.


Bray last five: WDLWW

Bohemians last five: LLWLL




Bray 8/13; Draw 14/5; Bohemians 9/2.



Bray Wanderers 2-1 Bohemians



Bray Wanderers:

Injured: Daragh Noone (Thigh)

Doubtful: Hugh Douglas, Conor Earley, Kevin Lynch.

Suspended: Gary McCabe, Mark Salmon.



Injured: Eoin Wearan (Cruciate), Ismail Akinade (Recovering from surgery).

Doubtful:  None.

Suspended: None.