Bray Wanderers 1, Shamrock Rovers 1: Former Bray Wanderers man Gary McCabe came off the bench to end the Wicklow club’s record breaking run.
Former Bray Wanderers man Gary McCabe came off the bench to end the Wicklow club’s record breaking run.
In front of the biggest crowd at the Carlisle Grounds since champions Dundalk visited on the opening day of the season back in March, the Hoops vice-captain sent home goalkeeper Peter Cherrie the wrong way from the penalty sport after ex-Rovers defender Conor Kenna was deemed to have handled Brandon Miele’s 73rd minute drive by Assistant Referee Michelle.
The score ended the Scot’s new record of going 593 minutes without conceding in the top-flight this season for the Seagulls.
That also left him 11 agonising minutes short of John Walsh’s club record of 604 minutes in all competitions which has stood since February 1999.
Up to then, it appeared not even the inclusion of retired Ireland ace Damien Duff in the dugout for the Stephen Bradley’s outfit didn’t seem to be able to inspire them as they came into the contest on the back of a four-match unbeaten League run.
The Tallaght side arrived at the seaside on the back on a 15-game unbeaten run against Wanderers since May 2011.
But that looked set to change when Bray took a 25th minute lead through Dylan Connolly’s first League goal for the hosts this term.
Cherrie’s booming kick over the top was chased down by the Irish U21 cap. He went down on the left side of the penalty area under pressure from Rob Cornwall. But Referee Anthony Buttimer waved play on.
Grounded, Connolly passed to sub Ger Pender. His shot was blocked by Sean Heaney but the striker retrieved the ball.
He then squared to Connolly — who got up and was unmarked — to tap into an open goal from six-yards with away custodian Craig Hyland helpless to prevent the score.
With both teams playing their first games in two weeks, Rovers were unchanged from the side who overcame Bohemians whole the Seasiders drafted in former Hoop Dean Kelly in place on Andrew Lewis from their line-up who defeated Finn Harps.
The Wicklow side went close to for a ninth minute breakthrough.
Ex-Shels and Ipswich Town man Connolly was played in down the right flank. His driven ball flashed across the six-yard area with Ryan Brennan unable to connect with.
Playing against his brothers Killian and Gavin, the ex-Rovers man collided with the post for his troubles. After treatment, the midfielder departed six minutes later.
It didn’t get better for the hosts as they also lost Kelly to injury soon after.
Moments after conceding, the Dubliner’s too were also forced into a change as the injured Killian Brennan departed proceedings.
The visitors only chance to equalise arrived three minutes before the interval. But Cornwall headed over off Miele’s in-swinging free-kick.
Cherrie; Douglas, Kenna, Clancy, Lynch; Sullivan; Moore, Noone (McDonagh 76), Ryan Brennan (Salmon 15), Connolly; Kelly (Pender 23).
Hyland; Madden, Cornwall, Heaney, Gavin Brennan; Miele, Cregg, Killian Brennan (McCabe 27), Clarke; Shaw (Clarke 75), Dobbs (Boyd 57).
Anthony Buttimer (Cork).
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