Dundalk 3-0 Bray Wanderers
A cracking opening-minute volley from top scorer Chris Turner eased Dundalk’s nerves as they coasted to a 3-0 victory over Bray Wanderers at Oriel Park on Friday night. Turner found the net for the sixth time this season after just 30 seconds as he connected with a Shaun Kelly cross which was only half cleared, before former Bray front-man Ger Rowe added a second close to the half-hour mark with a clinical finish following a fine Tiarnán Mulvenna through-ball. The young striker then netted himself as he scored his first ever Premier Division goal with a tap-in early in the second half to kill off the game.
Dundalk started with the same team for the third game in succession and on what could have been a nervous night the tension was eased less than a minute in when Turner broke the deadlock with a superb first-time effort. Shaun Kelly broke down the right and his cross was diverted into the path of Turner who smashed the ball to the top corner from 15-yards. That settled the hosts down, although they were lucky not to concede an equaliser when young midfielder Gareth Coughlan shot over an open goal from the edge of the area after the home defence failed to properly clear a long throw-in.
That miss proved even more costly for the visitors when Dundalk doubled their advantage just short of the half-hour mark through Rowe. Substitute Declan O’Brien, who entered the pitch minutes earlier in place of the injured Darren Mansaram, fed Mulvenna who in turn slipped a lovely through-ball to Rowe who coolly slotted past his former team-mate Chris O’Connor in the Bray goal. Unlike previous games it was this time Bray who held possession and probed as they tried to find a way back into the game but they were unable to test the hosts’ ’keeper Chris Bennion as Dundalk held firm to take a two-goal cushion into the break.
At half-time, Michael Daly was replaced by Michael Coburn, Eddie Gormley also making changes as Dave Mulcahy and Paul Byrne came in for Bray. And the game was made safe just 11 minutes into the second half as Mulvenna scored his first ever top-flight goal. The 20-year-old attempted to latch on to a Turner pass over the top only for O’Connor to get there first, however, the ‘keeper blasted it off his own defender with the ball falling nicely for Mulvenna who slotted to an empty net. Then, midway through the half, the wee front man should have added to his tally but he shot over with just O’Connor to beat after again being setup by Turner as Dundalk had to settle for a three-goal winning margin.
DUNDALK FC (4-4-2): Chris Bennion; Simon Kelly, Thomas Heary, Liam Burns, Michael Synnott; Shaun Kelly, Michael Daly (Michael Coburn HT), Chris Turner (Michael McGinlay 70), Tiarnán Mulvenna; Darren Mansaram (Declan O’Brien), Ger Rowe.
Goal: C Turner (1), G Rowe (27), T Mulvenna (56).
Booked: D O’Brien (31), M Daly (44), G Rowe (88).
Unused Subs: Ryan Coulter (GK), Mark Griffin.
BRAY WANDERERS (4-4-2): Chris O’Connor; Daire Doyle, Derek Foran, David Webster, Dane Massey; Gareth Coughlan (Dave Mulcahy HT), Stephen Brennan, Chris Shields, Gary McCabe (John Mulroy 58); Jake Kelly, Darren Forsyth (Paul Byrne HT).
Unused Subs: Brian Kane (GK), Dave O’Neill.
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).