Cobh Ramblers 3 Bray Wanderers 1
SHANE Keegan oversaw his first victory as Cobh Ramblers manager as they deservedly overcame Bray Wanderers at St Colman’s Park on Friday night.
This was a much improved Ramblers performance and they were full value for this win.
Both these teams came into this contest with essentially only pride to play for at this stage of the season. Ramblers are already looking ahead to 2023, while Bray’s playoff hopes suffered a major blow after losing to Treaty United last time out.
Ramblers manager Shane Keegan made three changes to his side from last time out, with Jake Hegarty, John Kavanagh and Daragh O’Sullivan Connell coming in for Beineón O’Brien-Whitmarsh, Charlie Fleming and Michael McCarthy.
It was Bray that had the first chance of note on six minutes, with Kieran Marty Waters doing well to cross which was headed wide by Ben Feeney.
Jake Hegarty threatened for Cobh in the 10th minute, but he fired wide from just outside the penalty area after being played in by Conor Drinan.
Midway through the first half, Ramblers goalkeeper Darragh Burke made a fine save to deny a Bray shot from Feeney.
Bray were awarded what appeared a contentious penalty kick in the 28th minute after Daniel Blackbyrne was taken down inside the box. Kurtis Byrne duly dispatched the spot kick to the corner of the net.
Cobh almost equalised through a close-range Jake Hegarty strike, but Bray goalkeeper Stephen McGuinness saved impressively.
Ramblers did get on level terms in the 33rd minute. From a corner kick, on hand to head in was Hegarty via a deflection.
Cobh ended the first half the stronger and hoped also for a big second half.
Ramblers went into the lead in the 55th minute. After Conor Drinan nodded the ball into his path, Luke Desmond finished with a sweetly taken strike to the bottom corner.
It was exactly what Cobh deserved, who showed good character to come from behind to go in front.
Bray looked to find a response and went close through an effort from substitute Keith Dalton just past the hour mark. While Darragh Lynch misfired when the ball from to him inside the box.
Cobh though were defending well and limited the visitors to very few clear-cut opportunities in the second half.
Heading into the final 10 minutes the home side almost got a third. James O’Leary went on a decent run on the counterattack, but his low strike clipped the post. Shortly after Desmond went close again, but Bray defender Hugh Douglas blocked down well.
On 88 minutes, Ramblers got a third goal through a wonderfully taken free kick by Daragh O’Sullivan Connell to the top corner.
It capped off a very good night at the office from a Ramblers perspective.
Next up for Ramblers is the local derby FAI Cup clash with Cork City on Sunday afternoon next weekend.
COBH RAMBLERS: Darragh Burke; John Kavanagh, Harlain Mbayo, Brendan Frahill, Daragh O’Sullivan Connell; Jason Abbott; James O’Leary, Dale Holland, Luke Desmond, Conor Drinan; Jake Hegarty.
Subs: Sean McGrath for Desmond (85).
BRAY WANDERERS: Stephen McGuinness; Daniel Blackbyrne, Hugh Douglas, Kurtis Byrne, Kieran Marty Waters, Jamie Callaghan, Zak O’Neill, Conor McManus, Ben Feeney, Dean Zambra, Colin Kelly.
Subs: Jamie Hollywood for Byrne (52), Darragh Lynch for Waters, Keith Dalton for O’Neill, Callum Thompson for Kelly (all 62), Eoin McPhillips for Zambra (70).
Referee: David Dunne.