Competition: League of Ireland First Division (tier 2)
Date: 24 February 2023
Result: Bray Wanderers 3 – 1 Kerry FC
Tickets: €15 (adult), free (accompanied under 14)
Attendance: 1500 (approx)
Game/ Experience Rating: ☆☆☆
The Game: Kerry FC were, at the time of this game, a brand new club out of Tralee playing their second ever League of Ireland game, having lost their first 2-0 to Cobh down in Tralee. They’re surprisingly well followed for a club that formed out of nowhere, and brought perhaps 100-150 fans an eight hour round trip away ot Bray (okay, some might live up here, but still). I understand their home games are selling out.
The new side is what attracted me to this game (they were one of very few League of Ireland teams I’d never seen live, for obvious reason), but Kerry FC are still, unsurprisingly, very much a work in progress, with a few shining moments (including a goal from Leo Gaxha at 2-0 down, which was really nicely worked), but not really a coherent team just yet.
The game was largely balanced overall, and in my view swung on Kerry’s inability to defend corners. Despite having three players who were notably tall (6ft 3 plus), they didn’t seem to be able to get on the end of crosses and Bray took full advantage. Wanderers led 1-0 at half time, and scored again early in the second half, only for Kerry to respond with the next attack (the two lads with me managed to miss both goals by going to buy a can of Coke, as you do).
The Kerry goal was their first ever in a competitive game, which was pretty cool. Bray comfortable winners, though, and at this early stage look a good bed to challenge to go up to the Premier.
The ground: I’m quite impressed with the Carlisle Ground, which is certainly better facilities wise than quite a few of the top tier League of Ireland grounds I’ve been to. There’s one fully covered side, seats and standing across the other side and two standing areas at the pitch end, and the facilities are quite impressive – several different food and drink stands and a little club shop. I also like the backdrop behind the entrance – really ornate old houses. Of course, the main appeal of Bray is the seafront.
Extras: Fish and chips before kick off in the February dark looking at the waves. There was a programme, too, but I didn’t grab one.
Assorted asides: Fantastic to see Kerry represented in the League of Ireland, which has a bit of a geographical diversity issue. Good luck to them.
My totals for the year so far:
Games: 4. Home wins: 3 Draws: 1 Away wins: 0
Goals: 13. Home goals: 9. Away goals: 4. Goals per game: 3.25