After almost a two month gap, Bray and Limerick return to FAI cup action when they clash at the Carlisle grounds on Friday evening, kick off 7.45pm. At stake for the winner is a place to in the quarter finals of the FAI cup and while Limerick are still in contention for promotion to the top division, the FAI cup represents Bray’s only chance of a trophy this season.
Bray’s form has improved of late and that coupled with their status as a top division side not to mention home advantage will make Pat Devlin’s men the favourites heading into this clash.
Bray were full of confidence when they beat Youghal 3-1 in Cork in the third round however 2 months later they are picking up the pieces of a midseason collapse saw them slip from 2nd in the league to their current position of 7th. That said there have been signs of recovery in recent weeks and Devlin will be keen for his side to follow up on the win over Galway and the point at Oriel Park and finish the season strongly.
The Wicklow side will have a full squad to choose from and will be boosted by the return of Skipper Gary Dempsey. The former Dunfermline man missed the win over Galway United and the impressive draw against Dundalk with a back injury picked up in training. Gary Shaw and Conor Butler have also been added to the match day squad for the game.
In the league, Limerick have won 13 of the 22 games and currently lie just three points of 2nd spot in the table in fourth spot and are having a strong season having also made it to the semi finals of the EA sports cup.
The signings of Joe Gamble and Denis Behan was a signal of their intentions for the remainder of the season and with the focus very much of securing promotion to the Premier Division Pat Scully could be forgiven for not taking this competition too seriously.
That said, a win over Bray, their first meeting with a Premier division side this season, would represent a clear statement of the capabilities of this Limerick team and would provide another indication of the ambitions that the Midwesterners have.
In the last round of the FAI Ford cup they survived a spirited comeback by Sacred Heart to run out 4-2 winners, a brace from the impressive Sean Brosnan coupled with efforts from Sean O’Connor and Padraic Quinn sealing their passage
Limerick have a number of players missing for the game with Brian McCarthy suspended, Rory Gaffney and Sean Kelly cup tied while Shane Tracey and John Frost are both out injured.
While the Shannonsider’s are also without long term absentee’s Dave Ryan, James O’Brien, Brian Callaghan, Shaun Maher, Gary Sheanhan, Steve O’Flynn who all out for season
Prediction: A draw, Limerick to give Bray a fright.