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Martin O'Neill was at the Carlisle Grounds to see Rovers slay Bray

The Ireland manager was at the Carlisle Grounds to see Trevor Croly’s men defeat Bray.

Martin O'Neill checks out the action in Bray.
Martin O'Neill checks out the action in Bray.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Bray Wanderers 0-3 Shamrock Rovers

SHAMROCK ROVERS LEAPFROGGED rivals St Patrick’s Athletic into third place after an impressive 3-0 win under the watchful gaze of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill. If the first half was all about Bray Wanderers, the second half was the Rovers show as the inconsistent Tallaght side took just 14 minutes to wrap up victory.

Goals from Dean Kelly, Jason McGuinness and Shane Robinson separated the sides as Rovers boss, Trevor Croly, felt the pressure ease a little bit after last week’s loss to Dundalk.

In a week where League of Ireland exploits in Europe was the narrative, it was back to the bread and butter of the league as nearly 1,700 filled the Carlisle Grounds for the visit of Shamrock Rovers to Bray Wanderers

Rovers boss, Trevor Croly responded to last week’s setback against Dundalk by handing a debut to Evan Osam at left back, after Dave O’Connor’s poor display, and by leaving out the trio of Karl Sheppard, Eamon Zayed and Ciaran Kilduff from the start.

A general view of the fun fair on Bray seafront above the television gantry Revellers enjoy the seafront fun fair as TV cameras follow the on-field action. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Bray Wanderers boss Alan Matthews did his own surgery on his team as well as he responded to last weekend’s heavy defeat away to Derry by handing debuts to Joe Gorman and Michael Barker, the latter completing his transfer from UCD to Bray during the week, to bolster one of the worst defences in the league.

It was the home side who started the brightest, nearly taking the lead after 11 minutes when a Jake Kelly free kick found Isamhil Akinade in the box but the striker could not find his feet quick enough to get a shot off, that danger was quickly cleared by the Rovers defence.

The home side were handed another golden chance to go ahead minutes later when Dave Cassidy robbed Conor Kenna, passed to Kelly but the resulting shot sailed wide of the post in a worrying run of events for the visiting support.

On the stroke of half-time it was the Seagulls’ Graeme Kelly who had the best chance of the opening half, when he connected with a corner but he couldn’t direct his rocket of a shot as it skimmed the bar, much to the delight of the under pressure Shamrock Rovers manager, Trevor Croly.

Jason McGuinness McGuinness rises highest to score for Rovers. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

After the break, the game started slowly with the pace and intensity of Bray’s game taking some time to get going, the words of boss Croly rang in the ears of Rovers as they increased the pressure on a tired Bray defence. The visitors took full advantage of the tired legs in the Bray defence by opening the scoring on the 57th minute. Striker, Dean Kelly, poached a nice goal after a cross from Sean O’Connor put the Bray defence under pressure.

The flood-gates opened thereafter for Rovers as Jason McGuinness picked up his second goal of the season six minutes later when the big man got on the end of a cross from Gary McCabe to glance it into the Bray goal.

Shane Robinson rounded off the scoring for the night, with their third goal in 14 minutes, after a lung busting run paid off as he converted an excellent cross from Simon Madden to complete a 3-0 win for Shamrock Rovers to put them back in the race for the title.

Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Simon Madden, Conor Kenna, Jason McGuinness, Evan Osam; Sean O’Connor (Karl Sheppard, 80), Ronan Finn, Shane Robinson, Kieran Marty Waters (Robert Bayly, 75); Gary McCabe; Dean Kelly (Eamon Zayed, 75).

Subs not used: Craig Hyland (GK), David O’Connor, Luke Byrne, Ciaran Kilduff.

Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness; Michael Barker, Adam Mitchell, Shane O’Connor, Joe Gorman; Dave Scully, Dean Zambra, Graeme Kelly (Phillip Hughes, 67), Ishmahil Akinade; Dave Cassidy; Jake Kelly (Gareth McDonagh, 80).

Subs not used: Shane Redmond (GK), Shane O’Neill, Niall Cooney, Ryan Coombes, Gary Curran.

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