Bray's Ladies 3rds set out on Saturday afternoon against Botanic's thirds for the second time this season. With great support from the sideline, Bray started the game off strong. Bray's defence had little to do at the beginning of the first half, with most of the play dominating Botanic's circle. With a fantastic cross-in from Alison Dawson, Ali Kavanagh was able to connect beautifully landing the ball past Botanic's keeper to see Bray go 1-0 up.
Creating space and passing sequentially Bray's midfield; Michelle Lambert, Helen Kingston and Clare Murray dominated the possession in the middle of the pitch, much to the frustration of the opposition. With well orchestrated movements, the backline; Caroline Kennedy and Niamh Byrne, were able to find the perfectly timed runs from Michelle Lambert, Eva Kennedy, Hannah Houldon and Helen Kingston, who in turn found the space created by the two Ali's and Samantha Speidel up front.
With Trish Martin trying to keep warm in her goal, Bray won a couple of short corners before the half time whistle and Alison Dawson made the score 2-0 with a superb first touch whizzing past the keeper to the far post. Botanic pushing to compete with the scoreboard, they had our strong defence Caoimhe Hardiman, Caitlin Evans, Caroline and Niamh holding their own until the first half of the match ended.
At half time, while the oranges were passed around, Coach Ruth McDonagh and assistant coach Laura McCarthy provided us with their wise words and made some tactical changes to the team layout. Beginning the second half as they meant to go on, Bray fought hard against Botanic's fiery defence. With a few bumps and nudges, Bray played on with their usual decorum, managing to get another opportunity on goal, Helen seizing the chance. Now 3-0 up, Bray knew they had to keep their heads and continue fighting hard to stay with a clean slate against them.
Persisting on, Bray's defence; Caroline, Caoimhe and Niamh kept the ball in Botanic's half, while the midfield line; Caitlin, Helen, Michelle, Clare and Eva, linked up with the forever running forwards; Ali, Alison and Samantha. Unfortunate not to score from various short corners won by the Bray team, they managed to control play despite a hard fight brought by the Botanic 3rds. Fantastic breaks from the speedy Eva and Caitlin in midfield saw space and again more opportunities for Bray to score. Ali Kavanagh magically landing not one but two more goals behind the strong Botanic keeper.
With the fantastic support and radiating emotions from the side line, the final whistle blow with Bray elated at their win, securing promotion for next season. Again another clean slate thanks to the amazing goalie, Trish Martin.
Many thanks to the umpires Sue and Eimear, coaches Ruth McDonagh and Laura McCarthy. Great to see such valued support, especially Caoimhe Guilfoyle, Sarah Martin and Aisling Dalby, completing the "dream team".
Match report by Samantha Speidel.