Cork City boss Tommy Dunne

Cork City 1-1 Bray Wanderers

Cork City picked up their second league point of the season at Turner’s Cross on Friday, having been held to a 1-1 draw by Bray Wanderers. A second goal in two games from striker Tadhg Purcell put the home side ahead early on only for former Ireland international Jason Byrne to claim a share of the spoils for Pat Devlin’s men on 74 minutes.

City were missing John Dunleavy through illness and manager Tommy Dunne decided to retain Shane Duggan, Tadhg Purcell, Jamie Murphy and Kalen Spillane in his starting XI following Monday night’s 5-1 League Cup win over Wexford Youths. Gavin Kavanagh, Davin O’Neill, Shane O’Connor and Vinny Sullivan were the players to make way.

The deadlock was broken early – much to the delighted of the 2,888-strong crowd. Colin Healy made a superb late tackle to deny Kieran Marty Waters a shot on target and City broke quickly down the field through Daryl Horgan, and it was the winger’s pass that allowed Purcell lift the ball over Bray goalkeeper Darren Quigley.

A dream start and Purcell was almost in again minutes later, only for an alert Quigley to race from his line and clear the danger before the striker could gain control of the ball on this occasion.

Full-back Danny Murphy kept his side ahead on 20 minutes when he blocked Adam Hanlon’s effort at point blank range – the Bray man seemingly with the Shed-end goal at his mercy. Duggan saw a half chance bobble just wide not long after before the second best chance of the opening half fell to Jamie Murphy.

The move started at the back through a surging run forward from Dan Murray and it was his pass that got both Horgan and Gearoid Morrissey involved. The ball eventually made its way across the box to Murphy, whose rifled effort drew a great save from Quigley.

Wanderers showed signs of improvement after the break – Sean Houston and Byrne testing McNulty ten minutes into the second half before defender Pierce Sweeney headed well off target from a corner.

City had two golden chances to double their advantage on the hour mark. First, Colin Healy and Horgan combined for the latter to fire in an effort on goal. His shoot was well of target, however. Purcell was almost in again a minute later but the ball was nipped away from him at the vital moment by Bray captain Danny O’Connor.

Davin O’Neill brought the best out of Quigley once again on 66 minutes. City’s number nine had replaced Jamie Murphy shortly before being fed by neat play from Duggan and Horgan. He could only watch helplessly though as the Bray keeper blocked his attempt from just inside the box.

Despite the hosts’ attempts to up the tempo and secure a second goal, Bray struck a deadly blow on the counter attack with 15 minutes remaining. Murray fouled Waters and when referee Tom Connolly played advantage, Byrne was able to break free and plant a low shot beyond the reach of McNulty and into the back of the City net.

Purcell did test Quigley once again in the following minutes but, in truth, a winner for either side never looked likely. Next up for Cork City – a trip to Dalymount Park and a league fixture against Bohemians.

Cork City: McNulty, Turner, Murray, Spillane, D Murphy; Duggan, Morrissey, Healy, Horgan, Purcell, J Murphy (O’Neill 56).

Subs: Burns, Forde, Lordan, O’Connor, Sullivan, Kavanagh, O’Neill.

Bray Wanderers: Quigley, Webster, O’Connor, Sweeney, Knight, Hanlon, Zambra, Mulroy, Houston, Waters (Bolger 86), J Byrne (Kelty 88).

Subs: I Byrne, Doyle, G Kelly, S Last, B Kane, Bolger, Kelty.

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