Bray Wanderers 2
Mervue United 0
Keith Kelly at the Carlisle Grounds
A season which started with so much promise for Mervue United is now in danger of falling into disappointment once again after Johnny Glynn’s side bowed out of the FAI Cup in the Carlisle Grounds on Friday night.
It was a fourth defeat on the trot for Mervue, a run which included an exit from the EA Sports Cup as well as the FAI Cup, and having sat on the coat-tails of league leaders Longford Town for so long, they have now slipped nine points behind the Midlanders in fourth place.
Of all the ties drawn from the hat for the Second Round, this was the one most agreed had the greatest prospect of an upset, but that was never on the cards as the home side controlled proceedings from first whistle to last to comfortably progress to the last 16.
Jason Byrne scored twice, and the veteran striker could have had at least two more as Conor Gleeson and his defence endured a busy night. It was a different story at the other end as Mervue failed to test Darren Quigley even once, managing just three off-target efforts throughout the 90 minutes.
The first chance of the game actually fell to the visitors in the sixth minute, Shane O’Connor’s clearing header landing at the feet of Tom King 30 yards from goal, but the returning skipper got under the ball, his lofted shot clearing Quigley’s crossbar by a comfortable distance.
Jason Byrne tried his luck from a similar distance a minute later, but the outcome was the same, and with both teams struggling to keep the ball on the deck, a long night looked on the cards.
However, the home side soon settled, with Gary Dempsey pulling the strings in the heart of midfield, and the veteran playmaker would have opened the scoring in the 11th minute after good link-up play with Ismahil Akinade, only for Michael McSweeney to nip in with a timely interception.
Dean Zambra forced Gleeson in his first save of the game two minutes later when he found the target with a 25-yard shot, but the ‘keeper was behind it all the way. The home side were starting to get a grip on the game, and that became a stranglehold in the 20th minute when they opened the scoring.
Kieran Waters won a dubious free-kick wide on the right, and Zambra’s delivery picked out the run of Jason Byrne, who lost his marker to rise unopposed 12 yards from goal to head past Gleeson.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel