Cork, who started with a 4-2-3-1 formation, had Liam Kearney back in midfield for Brian Lenihan — currently on Irish U21 international duty in Germany.
The Seagulls, who had defenders Adam Mitchell and Niall Cooney back after suspension, had one early effort when winger Adam Hanlon shot straight at ’keeper Mark McNulty from 20 yards.
Both teams were reduced to ten men in the 11th minute when Cork’s Billy Dennehy and Bray’s Dave Scully were shown red cards by Tipperary referee James McKell. Wicklow second official Lee Bevins adjudged that the pair had squared up to each other with their heads prior to a corner kick.
Cork took the lead on 17 minutes when, after Garry Buckley had been fouled by Bray defender Mitchell, Colin Healy’s 25 yard free-kick was helped into the net off a post by ’keeper Stephen McGuinness.
Bray did have a chance to equalise early in the second half only for Healy to get back and block a shot by midfielder Dean Zambra. Then, moments later at the other end, Gearoid Morrissey sprinted past three defenders and might have stretched City’s lead only for McGuinness to save the midfielder’s effort.
A rampant Cork again went close on 75 minutes when a perfect cross from Mark O’Sullivan was headed just wide from eight yards by substitute Rob Lehane.
McGuinness then came to Bray’s rescue when blocking another effort by Lehane after he had outpaced defender Webster. The striker then fired over the rebound and was again off target in the final seconds when well placed.
But Lehane was to have the final say on 89 minutes when he was taken own inside the box by defender Adam Mitchell — who was promptly shown the red card by referee McKell. Midfielder Healy made no mistake with the penalty in front of watching Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane.
BRAY WANDERERS: McGuinness; Cooney, Webster, Mitchell, Maloney (McGlynnn 45); Hanlon, Zambra (S. Byrne 70), Kelly, Cassidy; Scully, Akinade (O’Neill 70).
CORK CITY: McNulty; Dunleavy, Murray, D. Dennehy, Davoren; Healy, Morrissey; B. Dennehy, Buckley (O’Leary 79), Kearney (Lehane 62); O’Sullivan (Kavanagh 79).
Referee: James McKell (Tipperary).