Bray’s regrowth is beginning apace as they claimed men’s division seven in jig-time, doing so with an incredible four games to play having run up a perfect dozen wins to date in their campaign.
A few years back when the club conceded their then first team’s place in division twodue to a lack of players, they sat down as a team and discussed a plan on how we should move forward.
The club placed an emphasis on bringing in fresh faces whether they be beginners or experienced players and also taking the young players they had and giving them a chance to grow with the senior squad, a position they may not have had the opportunity to do at another club.
Last season, the league form was patchy as they learnt how to win and close out games, suffered draws and losses which they felt they should have won but, in the cup, they did land silverware, claiming the Junior Cup (pictured above) last April. This proved a catalyst for what the club have been able to accomplish this season.
Indeed, the league was won in emphatic style, mainly due to a core squad training regularly together and playing in the same positions most weeks.
From the cup winning panel, they added three players – Andrew Collings, Daniel Paul, who was a product of the colts system, and long term member Chris Willoughby who returned after an absence of a number of years having previously played in division two.
The only remaining player to represent Bray at Division One level is Jerome Anglin with the rest of the side retired or moving on. Most, though, took part in a recent Bray legends versus Bray’s current squad (pictured below). A rematch is being organised to celebrate the clubs 20-year anniversary this April.
Among their star performers this season, has been one of our youngest team members, Adam Brennan who was, until recently, a star soccer player but has turned to hockey and has become a regular in the team and looks like he has been playing hockey since childhood.
Adam’s brother Sean came up through the colts and fillies and has been the club’s top goal scorer, playing at the top of the diamond.
Jayson Kenney and Cian Hussey have developed a great understanding and partnership up front and between them have bagged 29 goals this season. Indeed, 76 goals have been netted to date with their eyes set on a potential century.
The back line have become very solid with Steven Jones dropping from midfield to sweeper, pairing up with John Lush who returned to the club last season after coming home from New Zealand.
Chris Doyle has been stellar in goals; nothing has deterred him from playing his heart out in all our matches, even becoming a dad for the first time only saw him missing one match!
Key games en route were firstly winning against St. Brendan’s on grass. This game was always going to be one of the toughest, picking up points in the Phoenix Park always extremely tough.
A goal from captain Stuart Collier was the sole separator that day. The following week, they kept the unbeaten season alive by grinding out a 1-0 win away to Weston, Sean Brennan getting the only goal of the game.
The first time the perfect record was truly threatened was back in November at Rathgar when they fell two goals behind inside 20 minutes. the performance over the following 50 gave a glimpse as to how tough a team Bray have as they fought back to level up before half-time with 15-year-old Daniel Paul scoring the winner in the second half.
Speaking about the season, Bray’s Jerome Anglin adds: “We couldn’t have achieved so much without our supporters who try to make it to as many of our matches as they can. We would like to give a huge thanks to them all for their support over the last year.
“A huge thanks also has to go to our coach Donal Doyle who has given us his undivided attention and has masterminded a great season.”