SEAG­ULLS SLIP

Rovers end Bray’s pur­ple patch

Bray People - - SPORT - At Tal­laght Sta­dium DANIEL GOR­MAN

SHAM­ROCK ROVERS 2

McCabe (pen) 6; Heaney 57 BRAY WAN­DER­ERS 1

Scully (pen) 76 SHAM­ROCK ROVERS ended Bray Wan­der­ers’ mini pur­ple patch with an ugly win over the Seag­ulls on Mon­day evening.

Hav­ing been sec­ond best for 75 min­utes, Alan Mathews’ side were given a ray of hope when Dave Scully net­ted from the penalty spot.

The vis­i­tors sud­denly found in­spi­ra­tion from some­where but could not find the goal to pinch a point from the Hoops, for whom Gary McCabe and Sean Heaney were on tar­get.

A day af­ter the an­niver­sary of Je­sus’ res­ur­rec­tion, Eric McGill and Adam Hanlon made their re­turn to the start­ing line-up for Bray af­ter nearly a month out of ac­tion.

Rovers al­most made two changes to their side from their Good Fri­day out­ing and one of those al­ter­ations saw ex-Wan­der­ers favourite Kieran ‘Marty’ Wa­ters re­turn to the fold.

And Wa­ters had a hand in the Rovers opener af­ter six min­utes. He whipped in a cor­ner kick from the left and Rovers left-back Sean Heaney went to ground un­der pres­sure from vis­it­ing cap­tain Adam Mitchell. Derek Tom­ney pointed to the spot and Gary McCabe’s stut­tered run-up left McGuinness mud­dled as he tucked away the 12-yarder.

Wa­ters could have added to the hosts’ lead on 23 min­utes as mid­field ma­gi­cian Ro­nan Finn re­leased the speed mer­chant but McGuinness man­aged to turn Wa­ters’ vi­cious drive onto the post.

Wa­ters then turned provider, slip­ping a pass through for Ciaran Kil­duff. The striker sailed past Niall Cooney with ease but McGuinness pro­vided a sterner ob­sta­cle; charg­ing out of his goal to make the block.

Finn’s show­cased more sublime pass­ing as he picked the ball up in­side the cen­tre cir­cle and sprayed an inch per­fect pass be­yond Mitchell and Kil­duff. The lat­ter brushed the for­mer aside but McGuinness had again raced out and hacked clear be­fore Kil­duff could pick his spot.

McGuinness al­most ru­ined all his good work shortly be­fore the break when he played his pass straight to McCabe. The winger tried to curl the ball into the empty net but Niall Cooney was on the cover and man­aged to head the ball away to bail out his goal­keeper.

The Kil­coole shot-stopper was beaten again in the 57th minute though. McCabe bended in a cor­ner and this time, Heaney was not hauled to the ground and in­stead he de­light­fully guided a header into the top cor­ner.

With Rovers clearly feel­ing the game was won, Hoops boss Trevor Croly made two changes; send­ing on Robert Bayly and Ea­mon Zayed and the lat­ter al­most scored with his first touch, only for Eric McGill to charge back and make a vi­tal in­ter­cep­tion as he headed be­hind.

Si­mon Mad­den then handed the Seag­ulls a route back into the tie. David Cas­sidy fizzed in a cross from the right and as he went to con­test it, Is­mahil Ak­i­nade was floored by Mad­den. With Gra­ham Kelly hav­ing been re­placed by Gary Cur­ran two min­utes ear­lier, Scully took the re­spon­si­bil­ity and his smash down the mid­dle did the trick and sud­denly Wan­der­ers could sniff a point.

With Adam Mitchell de­ployed up front as an emer­gency striker, Bray squan­dered a lev­el­ling chance with two min­utes of nor­mal time re­main­ing.

Cas­sidy’s volleyed cross was nod­ded on by Mitchell and broke for Cooney but the cen­tre half could not get the re­quired power on his header and it dropped harm­lessly for Mur­phy to col­lect.

Mitchell was again in the spot­light when he ended up on the floor af­ter Hanlon’s cor­ner kick but de­spite the pleas of the de­fender, Mathews and Barry O’Con­nor, Tom­ney waved play on.

Rovers would have ended the match on a high note had it not been for McGuinness. A wasted pass from Hanlon al­lowed Wa­ters to race into the Bray half. He prod­ded the ball through for McCabe but when he shot, McGuinness flew to his right and pulled off the save.

Next up for the fly­ing McGuinness and the Seag­ulls is sec­ond placed Dun­dalk at the Carlisle Grounds on Fri­day evening.

Top Form: Stephen McGuinness (Bray Wan­der­ers): De­nied Sham­rock Rovers on sev­eral oc­ca­sions with some su­perb saves.

BRAY WAN­DER­ERS (4-4-1-1)

32. Stephen McGuinness; 6. Eric McGill, 12. Niall Cooney, 5. Adam Mitchell, 22. Rob Maloney; 19. Dave Scully, 24. Gra­ham Kelly, 16. Dean Zam­bra, 11. Adam Hanlon; 8. David Cas­sidy; 9. Is­mahil Ak­i­nade. SUBS: Gary Cur­ran for G. Kelly (74); Ciaran Byrne for Ak­i­nade (78); Shane O’Neill for Scully (85). Not used: Shane Red­mond, Jamie McG­lynn, Michael Brown, Sean Hur­ley.

SHAM­ROCK ROVERS (4-3-3)

1. Barry Mur­phy; 17. Si­mon Mad­den, 2. Rob Corn­wall, 5. Ja­son McGuinness, 23. Sean Heaney; 18. Shane Robin­son, 21. Ro­nan Finn, 37. Stephen McPhail; 7. Gary McCabe, 31. Ciaran Kil­duff, 11. Kieran ‘Marty’ Wa­ters. SUBS: Robert Bayly for McPhail (63); Ea­mon Zayed for Kil­duff (68); Karl Shep­pard for Finn (75). Not used: Craig Hyland, Luke Byrne, David O’Con­nor, Ryan Bren­nan. Tal­laght Sta­dium

Derek Tom­ney VENUE: REF­EREE:

Once were col­leagues - Is­mahil Ak­i­nade and Marty Wa­ters faced each other as op­po­nents on Mon­day night as Bray trav­elled to take on Sham­rock Rovers. Photo: Mick Tier­ney.

Bray’s Dean Zam­bra whips in a cross de­spite the ef­forts of Si­mon Mad­den of Sham­rock Rovers.

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