Cork City edge by Bray Wanderers into FAI Cup final

Danny Morrissey’s single second half strike was enough to separate the sides

Cork City’s Danny Morrissey and Karl Sheppard after Morrissey scored the opening goal of their FAI Cup semi-final clash with Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds. Photo: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Cork City’s Danny Morrissey and Karl Sheppard after Morrissey scored the opening goal of their FAI Cup semi-final clash with Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds. Photo: Donall Farmer/INPHO

 

Bray Wanderers 0 Cork City 1 (Morrissey, 60')

For the first time in almost 30 years the league’s top two will meet in the FAI Cup final after Cork City beat Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds to set up a decider against Dundalk.

Danny Morrissey scored the only goal of the game an hour in to put City through and the line-up for the Aviva stadium game means that St Patrick’s Athletic are all but assured of European football next season as the final Europa League place will now go to the fourth placed side in the Premier Division.

Bray’s recent results had added to the sense beforehand that City would be able to clear this last obstacle to a place in next month’s final and they started the game well even if it quickly became apparent they were going to struggle to break down a pretty determined defence.

Caulfield’s men repeatedly tried to pass their way through only to settle for lofting the ball into the space between Peter Cherrie and his back four and hoping Morrissey or, coming in from the left, Karl Sheppard could get in on goal but they produced little, not least because their front men kept getting flagged for offside going a fraction too early.

When Billy Dennehy did finally get Ross Gaynor in with a perfectly weighted cross towards the far post, Cherrie did well to save the initial shot before Sheppard, having dug the ball out, cleared the bar as well.

Wanderers had a chance or two of their own on the break, most notably a few moments after that Sheppard’s miss when Ryan McEvoy also fired over when he should have done better. For the most part, though, it was difficult through the first hour or so, to see where the game’s first goal was going come from.

It did look increasingly likely to come from Cork, though, and after Cherrie saved well from Garry Buckley, Morrissey made the breakthrough when he did well to hold off his marker to reach a flicked on kick out that he turned nicely past the oncoming goalkeeper.

In the spell that followed, City really should have made the game safe but they had one effort disallowed while John O’Flynn, on for Morrissey who had hurt himself scoring the goal, forced another decent stop from Cherrie.

The introduction of, first Dave Scully, and then Emeka Onwubiko helped Bray pose much more of a threat through the closing stages. Mick Cooke was obliged to gamble but when their chance to grab an equaliser finally arrived two minutes from time, Mark McNulty saved Onwubiko’s close range shot quite brilliantly to keep City on course for the final.

Bray Wanderers: Cherrie; Douglas, McNally, Cooney, Barker; Fitzpatrick (Scully,75 mins); Hanlon (Onwukiko, 80 mins), Kelly, McEvoy, Wixted (McGlynn, 66 mins); Lyons.

Cork City: McNulty; Dunleavy, Bennett, D Dennehy, Gaynor; Miller (Holohan, 82 mins), Murray; B Dennehy (O’Connor, 75 mins), Buckley, Sheppard; Morrissey.(O’Flynn, 60 mins),

Referee: N Doyle (Dublin).

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