A Rory Gaffney hat-trick helped Limerick claim a second consecutive SSE Airtricity League Premier Division victory as they beat Bray Wanderers 4-1 at Thomond Park tonight.

Bray dominated vast chunks of the opening period but it was Limerick who bagged the opener in the 38th minute when Gaffney headed home a Robbie Williams cross.

Bray were reduced to 10 men in the 61st minute after Dave Scully was given a second yellow card for simulation before Lee Lynch extended Limerick's advantage in the 70th minute.

Then Dean Zambra narrowed the gap in the 72nd minute, but Limerick responded and Gaffney netted twice in the closing stages in the 82nd minute and and again in injury time to complete his hat-trick.

Bray could have taken a second minute lead, but Limerick custodian Barry Ryan was alert, saving Zambra's header following a left wing cross from Adam Hanlon.

Limerick weren't playing with the pace and fluidity which had disturbed Shamrock Rovers six days previously as Bray continued to probe.

And the home side were nearly punished in the 15th minute when a David Cassidy corner located Adam Mitchell, but the defender headed over from inside the area.

Considering how effective Limerick had been defeating Shamrock Rovers at the same venue six days previously, it was surprising how the home side were struggling to cause the visitors any problems. Bray pressed high up the park and Limerick made errors as a gritty and determined Wanderers sought to land an important blow.

Then the woodwork came to Limerick's rescue in the 28th minute as Eric McGill's deflected free-kick hit the post before Ryan gathered the loose ball.

But Limerick pounced to score in the 38th minute as Robbie Williams slung over a cross from the left and Gaffney supplied a splendid header to rattle the Bray net.

Fifteen minutes after the restart, Bray created an opportunity when Joe Gorman's deep cross was controlled by Cassidy, but Williams cleared the danger.

Scully's dismissal was the next talking point as the striker fell under a Samuel Oji challenge. Bray called for a penalty, but referee Graham Kelly opted to brandish a red card.

Limerick added a second in the 70th minute when Gaffney manufactured space for Lee Lynch to confidently drill the ball home.

Bray, to their credit, narrowed the deficit two minutes later as Zambra reacted quickly to score the rebound from a Graham Kelly free-kick, which Ryan had repelled.

Man of the match Gaffney decorated Limerick's success in the closing stages firing a goal eight minutes from time and then completing his hat-trick in stoppage time.

Limerick: Barry Ryan; Patrick Nzuzi, Samuel Oji, Stephen Folan, Robbie Williams; Ian Turner, Jason Hughes, Prince Agyemang, Kieran Djilali (Shane O’Connor, 77); Lee Lynch; Rory Gaffney.

Subs not used: Shane Cusack (GK), Michael Leahy, Val Feeney, Tam McManus, Tony Whitehead, Ross Mann.

Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinnness; Michael Barker (Ryan Coombes, 85), Niall Cooney, Adam Mitchell, Joe Gorman; Ismahil Akinade, Eric McGill (Graham Kelly, 50), Dean Zambra, Adam Hanlon (Philly Hughes, 52); David Cassidy; Dave Scully.

Subs not used: Shane Redmond (GK), Shane O’Connor, Robert Maloney, Gareth McDonagh.

Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork).