Veteran striker Jason Byrne scored the only goal of the game as Bray Wanderers got their season off to a winning start with victory over ten-man Shelbourne at the Carlisle Grounds. 

The 35-year-old Byrne benefitted from some slack Shelbourne defending midway through second half to head home a cross from Kieran Marty Waters. 

The visitors played most of the match with 10 men after Paul Crowley was dismissed in the first half. 

There were plenty of fresh faces and early season rustiness on show. The opening exchanges were peppered with numerous loose touches and slack passes from both sides.

Shels' Robert Bayly and Gary Dempsey of Bray both brought saves from the respective keepers, before the half's main talking point on 28 minutes.

The visitors were reduced to ten men when Crowley was given a straight red card for a strong challenge on Daire Doyle.

The dismissal will have done little to brighten the mood of Shels boss Alan Mathews, who had called on his players to improve their discipline in the build-up to the game.

The home side looked to press home their advantage and Dempsey released Waters on goal, but his shot was easily stopped by Ger Hanley.

Shels were dealt another blow when captain Glenn Cronin, who struggled with an ankle injury in pre-season, limped off before the break.

While never totally dominant, Bray did much of the pressing after half-time. Shelbourne were, for the most part, well-organised at the back, but almost gifted Bray an opener.

Alex Prizeman passed straight to Byrne on the edge of the box, however his attempted lob ended up in the arms of Hanley.

The former international striker thought he had opened the scoring on 67 minutes, only to see his header ruled out for offside.

However, Byrne was not to be denied and he got off the mark for the season moments later, as he found space at the back post to nod in Waters' cross from the left.

The away side responded well to going a goal behind and Philly Hughes' header was saved by Darren Quigley at the second attempt. Hughes was denied again on 80 minutes when his goal-bound effort was blocked by Kevin Knight.

Shels took chances in the closing stages as they pushed for the equaliser. It failed to come and the home fans were the ones going home happier.

Bray Wanderers: 1 Quigley; 14 Hyland, 4 D O'Connor (12 Earley ’85), 2 Webster, 3 Knight; 8 Doyle (9 Akinade ’62), 6 Dempsey, 7 K O'Connor, 16 Zambra, 11 Waters; 10 Byrne (O'Neill ‘74).

Subs: 18 Mulroy, 21 Malone, 22 Thomas, 25 Holmes.

Booked: O’Neill.

Shelbourne: 12 Hanley, 18 Cornwall (2 Shortall ’74), 5 Gartland, 23 Ryan, 3 Memery; 11 Hanlon, 6 Cronin (16 Hurley ’43), 8 Crowley, 14 Bayly, 19 Prizeman (15 Leech ’74); 9 Hughes.

Subs: 1 Burdon, 7 Brennan, 10 Kelly, 21 Mooney.

Booked: Cronin, Hurley, Bayly.

Sent-off: Crowley.

Referee: Padraig Sutton.