Patrick O Connor reports from St. Colman’s Park
Cobh Ramblers and Bray Wanderers went into this clash as two lower-half of the table sides looking to move into the top-half of the table but by the end of the 90 minutes they were still stuck in the wrong end of the table. The game ended in a 1-1 draw and this was a fair result given the ebb and flow of the match over the 90 minutes.
The point gained by both sides not enough to move either of them into the top half of the First Division.
Cobh were quickest out of the blocks in the first 15 minutes without ever really troubling the Bray defence but from then on the Seagulls took over and started to boss the match.
Conor Clifford, as always, was the focal point of most of Bray’s play. Adept at taking the ball off his defenders, he sprayed passes forward, setting up attacks for the Seagulls.
He was instrumental in setting up chances for Joe Doyle on 25 minutes and Richie O’Farrell two minutes later. Both attempts were well gathered by Sean Barron in the Cobh goal, albeit that it took two attempts to smother O’Farrell’s stinging shot.
Bray lost debutant Charlie Gallagher in the 36th minute through injury, to be replaced by Cian Maher on the right wing. Gallagher had tried hard to influence the game but he was unlucky that he came up against one of Cobh’s best players on the night, the wily left back Naythan Coleman.
The home side did come back into the game in the last 10 minutes. They forced a number of corners but a lack of height in their attack meant that Bray’s defence dealt with these setpieces without difficulty and going into the half time break the was a scoreless deadlock.
Bray continued their first half dominance in the early period of the second half and their persistence finally paid off in the 59thminute. While their intricate passing and movement was the main feature of their first half performance, Clifford, O’Farrell and Luca Lovic being the main instigators, it was a route one ball which actually led to the opening goal.
A back pass to Brain Maher led to the Bray ‘keeper clearing the ball the length of the pitc. It evaded Cobh’s centre backs and the livewire Brandon Kavanagh was on hand to volley the ball past Sean Barron.
The goal was no more than they deserved and they then continued to snuff out any attempts by the Rams to force an equaliser, with Andrew Quinn in the Bray defence giving a man-of-the-match performance throughout this period.
Cobh’s captain and right back John Kavanagh had a storming game and he was key to they getting the equaliser in the 78thminute.
His forceful run up the right touchline led to a free kick which he took himself. The set piece was cleared for a throw in and Kavanagh, who by this stage had moved into the box, was fouled. Referee David Dunne had no hesitation in awarding the penalty.
Innnishannon native Charlie Lyons made no mistake with the spotkick scoring Cobh’s first goal from a penalty since 2019.
Both sides tried to force a second goal in the last 10 minutes but it was not to be and a draw was probably a fair refection of the proceedings over the 90 minutes.
The top two sides in the First Division are already into double digit points after five games (Athlone Town on 13 points, Shelbourne on 11 points). So the respective Cobh and Bray team managers Stuart Ashton and Gary Cronin will be anxious about the ability of their teams to make it into the top half of the table and be involved in the promotion stakes at the business end of the league in October.
Cobh Ramblers: Sean Barron; John Kavanagh ©, Lee Devitt, Charlie Lyons, Ian Turner, Killian Cooper, Naythan Coleman, David O Leary, Cian Murphy, Ciaran Griffin (Jake Hegarty 67), Chris O’Reilly.
Subs not used: Gavin Ryan, Conor Drinan, Ben O’Riordan, Kevin Williams, James McCarthy, Darryl Walsh.
Booked: Cian Murphy (44)
Bray Wanderers: Brian Maher; Dylan Barnett (Dean O’Shea, 83), Andrew Quinn, Aaron Barry ©, Conor Clifford, Joe Doyle, Brandon Kavanagh, Mark Byrne, Richie O’Farrell, Luca Lovic, Charlie Gallagher (Cian Maher 36 [Gary Shaw 85]).
Subs not used: Kian Clarke, Jack Ross, Darren Craven, Steven Kinsella
Booked: Conor Clifford (88)
Referee: David Dunne
extratime.com Player of the Match: Andrew Quinn (Bray Wanderers)