Bray Wanderers 0
Caoimhin Reilly reports from Oriel Park.
MICHAEL DUFFY’S NINTH goal of the season handed Dundalk a narrow victory over Bray Wanderers at Oriel Park tonight – a result which delays Cork City’s title coronation yet further.
The winger raced onto Jamie McGrath’s through ball with three minutes to play before firing a stinging shot through the legs of Peter Cherrie, sealing Dundalk’s 21st league victory of the campaign.
When reflecting on their demise, Bray may look to the controversial sending off of Ryan Brennan on the hour mark. Still reeling from a challenge by Grimes which saw him require treatment, Brennan needlessly picked up a booking for a late foul on Gary Rogers before referee Seán Grant upgraded the punishment following an exchange of words.
The attacking qualities posed by Harry Kenny’s side decreased after the dismissal as the Lilywhites spurned several glorious openings. That was until Duffy raised the roof and ensured Dundalk left the field to a rapturous reception.
The first half was a largely forgettable affair with the only action of note coming towards its close. Dancing footwork by David McMillan saw him leave Hugh Douglas in his wake and get a strong shot off – an effort which Bray ‘keeper Peter Cherrie kept out with his feet.
Subsequently, home league debutant Jake O’Connor deflected a cross by Carlton Ubaezuono off the butt of the post. Those opportunities apart, the opening half was uneventful viewing and symptomatic of an end of season fare.
Robbie Benson’s introduction after half time applied a spurt to Dundalk’s play, however, Brennan’s dismissal proved the turning point as from there to the close – bar rare reprieves – the Wicklow men were penned in.
And Stephen Kenny’s men finally made their superiority count to secure a deserved victory, and one which maintains their status as league champions.
Dundalk: Rogers; Gannon, Gartland, Hoare, Grimes; Shields, O’Connor (O’Keefe 68); Duffy, McGrath, Ubaezuono (Benson 56); McMillan
Bray Wanderers: Cherrie; Buckley, Douglas, Kenna, Moore; Brennan, Sullivan, Noone, Marks; McCabe, Greene
Referee: Seán Grant (Wexford)
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