Andrew Dempsey reports from Tolka Park
Bray Wanderers continued their pre-season preparations with a hard-fought one goal win over Shelbourne at Tolka Park on Friday evening.
Brandon McCann’s deflected effort was the difference between the two sides, as Premier Division Shels concluded their off-season programme with a defeat.
With just one week until the Reds return to top-flight action after a seven-year absence, Ian Morris’ Shelbourne lined out in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Bray Wanderers, who just about missed out on a playoff berth last term, saw starts for recent recruit Ryan Graydon, while there was a place on the bench for Collingwood Cup winner with DCU Tristan Noack-Hofmann.
It was a quiet opening period to the game, with Karl Sheppard’s claim for a penalty after 15 minutes proving to be the only notable talking point, with referee Adriano Reale left unmoved by the calls for a spot-kick.
Forward Dayle Rooney soon had an opportunity of his own minutes later – but his effort failed to trouble Adam Hayden in the Seagulls goal after a ball over the top of the Bray defence found Rooney.
Shelbourne continued in the ascendancy as the half wore, but this time round, Ryan Brennan’s header was never troubling the Bray defence.
After a spell of dominance from the hosts – Cronin’s Seagulls showed signs of life, but Graydon’s one-on-one was well dealt with by Jack Brady.
The busy Rooney then saw his corner met by the head of the dynamic Brennan once more, but his glancing header never troubled the Bray goal – despite it appearing closer than it was.
And as the half drew to a close – Rooney’s tantalising cross from the left ought to have seen a Shelbourne foot get on the end of it, but Derek Daly was on hand to hack the ball away to ensure the game would end scoreless at the break.
After a quiet enough beginning to the second half, Gary Cronin’s young guns took the lead through midfielder Brandon McCann.
McCann picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty area, where his shot deflected off a Shelbourne heel to give the Seagulls the lead.
The Reds showed signs of second half life after going behind, with Hayden tipping over a Rooney free-kick.
Sub Ciaran Kilduff then went close minutes later but he was thwarted by a well-timed headed effort clear of goal.
Fellow sub Alex Cetiner linked up well with his forward partner Kilduff minutes after but Seagulls defender and new recruit Aaron Barry did well to mop up the danger.
However, with just over five to play – Glen Hollywood went close as his header crashed off the post after he got on the end of a superb cross from the right flank.
And with just seconds to play – the Reds went mightily close to landing a late leveller, but George Poynton’s set piece just went over the bar as the First Division side held firm.
Shelbourne: Jack Brady; Daniel O'Reilly, Aidan Friel, Luke Byrne; Dayle Rooney, Sean Quinn (George Poynton, 57), Alex O'Hanlon, Gary Deegan, Ryan Brennan (Ryan Brennan, 70); Aaron Dobbs (Ciaran Kilduff, 62), Karl Sheppard (Jaze Kabia, 70).
Subs not used: Karl Moore, Daniel McKenna, Colm Cox.
Sent off: None.
Bray Wanderers: Adam Hayden; Aaron Barry, John Ross Wilson; Paul Keegan, Lee Kavanagh, Derek Daly; Brandon McCann, Andy Moran, Ryan Graydon, Joe Doyle, Gary Shaw.
Subs not used: Luke Nolan, Tristan Noack Hofmann, Andy Moran, Enda Minogue, Darragh Lynch, Glen Hollywood, Conor Behan, Dean O'Shea.
Booked: Tristan Noack-Hofmann (90).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Adriano Reale.
Attendance: 400 (Estimate).
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Ryan Graydon (Bray Wanderers).