Bray Wanderers 1 UCD 2 
 
Two first half goals saw Bray slip to an opening day SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division defeat. 
 
In what was the club’s 450th match in the lower flight, a late fight back on Friday wasn’t enough against UCD in the local derby in front of a healthy crowd at the Carlisle Grounds. 
 
The Wicklow club handed six league debuts to Jimmy Corcoran, Evan Osam, Freddie Turley, Kieran Cruise, Shane Griffin, and Cristian Magerusan. 
 
Skipper Kilian Cantwell made his return to the club while 2023 joint-top goal-scorer Ben Feeney featured for the first time since August 2023 in league action after injury. 
 
Ronan Finn shot just wide on 13 for the visitors before away custodian Kian Moore got down well to smother Magerusan’s low attempt. 
 
The Belfield outfit hit the front on 22 minutes. 
 
Alex Dunne’s raking cross-field ball right to left released Ciaran Behan. The expected offside flag never came. 
 
Behan bore in on goal as Cole Omorehiomwan came to challenge. But the attacker drilled low past Corcoran at his near post. 
 
Darren Craven almost produced an instant response. But his deflected shot went narrowly wide in the 23rd minute. 
 
Craven thought he’d levelled matters three minutes later. But his deflected goal was ruled out for offside apparently against Feeney. 
 
UCD were reduced to ten players in the 34th minute. 
 
After some fine skill by Harry Groome, the midfielder’s slide rule pass released Magerusan up the middle. 
 
He got tangled with three UCD defenders but was brought down by Dunne, which prompted referee Oliver Moran to brandish the red card. 
 
Griffin’s subsequent 20-yard free-kick hit the wall. 
 
The away side lost Eanna Clancy to injury on the half hour. His replacement Harvey O’Brien would have a major say in the 40th minute. 
 
The Seasiders switched off from a short corner as Behan and Michael McCullagh combined. Harry Curtis steered a header back across goal for O’Brien to hook to the roof of the net. 
 
They almost grabbed a third in the 43rd minute. But Curtis’ header off Behan’s cross came back off the crossbar. 
 
The second half saw Bray dominate possession as the ‘College dug-in and put men behind the ball. 
 
Turley’s cross in the 51st minute led to a handball appeal for a penalty being turned down. 
 
Then Feeney turned smartly in the box on 57. But drove into the side netting. 
 
Cruise’s 69th minute corner caused confusion with UCD stopper Moore parrying. Two attempts to convert were blocked before the ball was hacked clear. 
 
Wanderers finally pulled one back in the 86th minute. 
 
Sub Max Murphy’s hanging cross from the right was met by Cole Omorehiomwan header back across goal. Feeney bravely then nodded in from close range at the near post. 
 
Two minutes deep into stoppage time, the Green and White’s went agonisingly close to an equaliser. 
 
Griffin dinked a ball off the left flank. Omorehiomwan lost his marker to steer a glancing header goal-wards. But his effort dropped inches wide. 
 
Bray Wanderers: James Corcoran; Cole Omorehiomwan, Kilian Cantwell, Evan Osam (Guillermo Almirall 61); Darren Craven, Harry Groome; Freddie Turley (Max Murphy 61), Shane Griffin, Kieran Cruise; Cristian Magerusan (Callum Thompson 71), Ben Feeney. 
 
Subs not used: Jamie Duggan, Zach Nolan, Paul Murphy, Thomas Morgan, Alain Kizenga, Stephen Mc Guinness. 
 
Booked: Groome 63, Craven 90 + 4, Cruise 90 + 4. 
 
UCD: Kian Moore; Alex Dunne, Eanna Clancy (Harvey O’Brien 29), Harry Curtis, Adam Wells; Sean Brennan, Adam Verdon; Michael McCullagh, Ronan Finn, Ciaran Behan (Colin Bolton 82); Jake Doyle (Danu Kinsella Bishop 90). 
 
Subs not used: Michael Raggett, Daniel Norris, Matthew Alonge, Donal Higgins, Sam Norval, Dara Kavanagh. 
 
Booked: Doyle 55, Verdon 90 + 5. 
 
Sent off: Dunne 34. 
 
Referee: Oliver Moran. 
 
Photos: Tyler Miller (Sportsfile). 
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Tagged as: Senior Team
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