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Laszlo Geczo/INPHO Shelbourne's Ryan Brennan (file photo)
# Wrap
Brennan brace helps four-goal Shelbourne cruise past Bray Wanderers
It was a busy night of action in the League of Ireland First Division.

Bray Wanderers 1

Shelbourne 4

Andrew Dempsey reports from the Carlisle Grounds

SHELBOURNE COPPER-FASTENED their title charge as they easily swatted aside the challenge of Bray Wanderers on a 4-1 scoreline at the Carlisle Grounds.

A Ryan Brennan brace set Ian Morris charges on their way to a landmark win along with goals from Michael O’Connor and Ally Gilchrist. Conor Clifford’s first-half equaliser proved to be a mere consolation for the hosts who were soundly beaten at home.

The Reds came into the game five points clear at the top of the table – and 10 points clear of Bray – but they made one change from their comprehensive 4-0 over Galway prior to the mid-season break.

And it was Shels who started the better of the two, with Ryan Brennan forcing a good, smart save from Ireland U21 keeper Brian Maher in the fifth minute. However, that wait for a Shelbourne opener would not be long, as Michael O’Connor scored in the 11th minute from the spot.

The ex-Waterford forward saw his penalty creep under the palms of Maher after Aaron Barry fouled Shane Farrell in the box, leading to the youngster’s early withdrawal.

The Seagulls, awoken from their early slumber, levelled shortly after – after Michael Barker was adjudged to have clumsily fouled his opposite number in the Bray attack, with Conor Clifford slotting home from the spot himself.

As Bray pressed for a first-half lead, their inability to score cost them – with Shelbourne retaking the lead in the 39 th minute through Ryan Brennan’s eighth goal of the season.

The 29-year-old headed home at the back post after a knock-down from Kevin O’Connor as the Reds took a 2-1 lead into the break.

And despite impressing in the early stages of the second-half, the hosts were sucker-punched again just past the hour mark as Brennan grabbed his second of the night from the spot after a good spell of Bray pressure.

Ally Gilchrist then added insult to injury late on with a goal in the 87th minute, as he poked home from Georgie Poynton’s corner, leaving Bray 13 points behind Shels after just 11 games played.

Meanwhile, a Jake Hegarty double saw Cobh Ramblers record a 2-1 win at UCD, while Cabinteely were 2-0 winners away to Cork City.

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Treaty United came from 1-0 down to record their first away win of the season, winning 2-1 at Wexford Youths, while an injury-time Padraic Cunningham goal saw Galway United beat Athlone Town 2-1 at Eamonn Deacy Park.

Bray Wanderers: Brian Maher; Andrew Quinn, Richie O’Farrell, Aaron Barry (c), Dylan Barnett; Brandon Kavanagh, Ryan Graydon (Luka Lovic 75), Conor Clifford, Mark Byrne; Gary Shaw (Joe Doyle 62), Darren Craven (Steven Kinsella 75).

Shelbourne: Brendan Clarke; John Ross Wilson, Kevin O’Connor, Ally Gilchrist, Luke Byrne (c); Dayle Rooney, George Poynton, JJ Lunney, Shane Farrell (Michael Barker 12), Ryan Brennan (Brian McManus 80); Michael O’Connor.

Referee: Alan Patchell.

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