Bray Wanderers hung on to hold Shamrock Rovers to a 0-0 draw at the Carlisle Ground in a result which won’t suit either club, but with which the home side will undoubtedly be happier.
Rovers may well curse an injury-time decision by the referee to disallow a goal which would have secured them all three points.
The away side dominated the opening 45 minutes without creating anything that could be called a clear-cut chance.
The best chance of the half fell to Stephen Rice in the 17th minute. He found himself unmarked from a Seán O’Connor throw-in, only to send his free header tamely wide from 10 yards.
Prior to that Rovers had had a couple of half-chances which came to naught. In the fifth minute Gary McCabe danced his way through the Bray defence before seeing his shot saved by Darren Quiqley.
On 12 minutes, Ronan Finn played McCabe through, but again his shot was straight at the goalkeeper.
Wanderers’ best chances in the first period came as they looked to hit Rovers on the break. Derek Foran was caught in possession by Kieran Marty Waters, whose shot required Richard Brush in the Rovers goal to get down sharply to his left.
Minutes later some great work down the right hand side by Kevin O’Connor saw him send a cross over for Zambra, whose header was straight at Brush.
Seven minutes before the break Brush had to be on his toes once again when O’Connor’s long ball found Mulroy whose shot was comfortably dealt with by the keeper.
The second half was not 10 minutes old before Shamrock Rovers had another excellent chance to take the lead. Great work down the left from Conor Powell saw him find Thomas Stewart, who played in Finn, whose shot screamed just wide.
The away side continued to look the more likely, without causing Quigley too many difficulties.
Bray’s best chances to nick it were still from breaks, no better illustrated than on 66 minutes when Waters broke fast through the middle only to blaze his shot over the bar, but Rovers were still creating better opportunities.
It was still Rovers doing the pressing however and good interplay from Ronan Finn and substitute Billy Dennehy saw Finn hit the side netting from inside the box.
The combination of Finn and Dennehy again caused Bray problems 12 minutes from time when Finn turned provider to Dennehy with a cross from the right, but the sub saw his shot saved easily by Quigley.
Rovers’ Seán O’Connor thought he had won it for his side deep in injury time when his header from a Billy Dennehy corner hit the back of the net, but the referee ruled there had been an infringement and the goal was ruled out.
Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley, Danny O’Connor, Adam Mitchell, Gary Dempsey (Seán Noble), Kevin O’Connor, Jason Byrne (Ishmail Akinade 81), Kieran Marty Waters, Conor Earley, Eoin Hyland, Dean Zambra, John Mulroy
Shamrock Rovers: Richard Brush, Pat Sullivan, Conor Powell, Derek Foran, Ken Oman, Stephen Rice, James Chambers, Ronan Finn, Thomas Stewart (Billy Dennehy 67), Seán O’Connor, Gary McCabe (Mark Quigley 67)
Referee: A Buttimer