Second-half goals saw Bray Wanderers ease to a 4-0 win over Limerick in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division at the Carlisle Grounds on Saturday evening.
Bray had the best chance in the opening quarter-hour as Gareth McDonagh just failed to connect at the back post. But past that, Limerick applied most of the pressure in the first period.
Seán Harding had their first real opportunity on 18 minutes but ‘keeper Stephen McGuinness got down well to stop the shot.
Dean Clarke should have broken the deadlock on 31 minutes but he blazed over from close in, before the home side got in on goal but Conor O’Donnell blocked well from skipper David Cassidy.
Shortly after, Paul O’Conor made a good run in behind the defence which was picked out by Seán Russell’s pass but a weak effort was easy for the Bray ‘keeper.
But it was the hosts who got their noses in front ten minutes into the second half as they stole possession in their own half and raided forward with Adam Hanlon eventually finishing to the net.
Soon, it was 2-0 as substitute Emeka Onwubiko fired in from a tight angle after O’Donnell had blocked the initial effort. The third arrived on 71 minutes when Cassidy produced a mazy run in the box and finished off. The scoring was completed by Graham Kelly on the 90.
Manager Martin Russell made one change to the team that lined out in the draw against leaders Dundalk seven days earlier as Darragh Rainsford – who created the equaliser after his late introduction last weekend – returned in place of Jason Hughes.
After a quiet start, Bray had a good opening on seven minutes when Peter McGlynn’s clever pass found Cassidy whose curling effort from inside the area was just missed by McDonagh as the ball flew wide.
After forcing three quick corners that were cleared, Rainsford had Limerick’s first shot in anger just past the quarter-hour but his effort went wide from the left angle of the box.
Then Clarke got in on the left and dinked a cross into the centre but O’Conor just missed it before another corner was cleared. On 18 minutes, Harding, who was up with the play, saw his low strike well pushed away by McGuinness.
On 25 minutes, Clarke controlled neatly in the middle and laid the ball off to O’Conor who, with space to run into, decided to shoot from 25-yards but his effort drifted wide.
On the half-hour, Ryan McEvoy delivered a corner to the back post where Hugh Douglas should have done better with a header. But from a quick break from that, Limerick should have been in front when Russell’s left-wing cross fell to Clarke in the box but he blazed over from close in.
Then Clarke looked to have got the better of Douglas after a ball over the top from Aidan Price but the forward went down, with referee Anthony Buttimer waving play on as the visitors appealed for a penalty.
On 35 minutes, Bray were in on goal but Cassidy was denied well by O’Donnell who came out to block him off from a tight angle. At the other end, Clarke flashed a shot inches wide of the top corner.
The chances continued to come seconds later as Russell’s superb through-ball found O’Conor in the box but there was not enough power to trouble McGuinness who gratefully collected.
On 55 minutes, Bray took the lead after breaking from a Limerick corner. Harding lost possession to Cassidy just inside the home half and went forward with Hanlon who eventually forced the ball in after the chance had appeared to be gone.
Then Onwubiko – on the pitch just eight minutes – made it 2-0 with a strike from a tight angle after O’Donnell had blocked the first shot.
Kieran Hanlon – who had entered just seconds before Bray doubled their advantage – headed wide on 64 minutes and then the birthday boy got a header all wrong after being picked out in the centre by Harding’s delivery.
On 71 minutes, the game was over as a contest after a brilliant individual run by Cassidy as he added a third.
Limerick should have reduced the deficit five minutes later when Hanlon’s cross to the back post was headed by fellow sub Ross Mann into the path of O’Conor but he drove over. And Bray added a fourth in the final minute through Kelly’s drive after good work by Onwubiko.
Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness, Michael Barker, Hugh Douglas, Alan McNally, Daniel O’Reilly, Adam Hanlon, Graham Kelly, Ryan McEvoy (Luke Gallagher 76), Peter McGlynn, David Cassidy © (Chris Lyons 85), Gareth McDonagh (Emeka Onwubiko 53). Goals: A Hanlon (55), E Onwubiko (61), D Cassidy (71), G Kelly (90). Booked: None. Unused Subs: Brian Kane (GK), Daniel Blackbyrne, Niall Cooney, Dave Scully.
Limerick: Conor O’Donnell, Seán Harding, Paudie O’Connor, Aidan Price, Robbie Williams, Shane Duggan ©, Darragh Rainsford (Kieran Hanlon 60), Paul O’Conor (Jason Hughes 90), Seán Russell, Ian Turner (Ross Mann 60), Dean Clarke. Booked: None. Unused Subs: Tommy Holland (GK), Vinny Faherty, Tony Whitehead, Val Feeney.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork).
Report Date: Saturday 11 April 2015