Bray Wanderers F.C.

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Bray Wanderers F.C. crest.png
Full name Bray Wanderers Football Club
Nickname(s) The Seagulls
Founded 1942
Ground Carlisle Grounds,
Bray,County Wicklow
Ground Capacity 7,000 (3,185 seated)
Chairman Gerry Mulvey
Manager Graham Kelly
League League of Ireland Premier Division
2017 League of Ireland Premier Division, 6th
Website Club website
Current season

Bray Wanderers Football Club (Irish: Cumann Peile Fánaithe Bhré) are an Irish association football club playing in the League of Ireland Premier Division. The club in its present form was founded in 1942 in Bray, and was known until 2010 as Bray Wanderers A.F.C. It was elected to the League in 1985, and plays its home matches at the Carlisle Grounds. Club colours are Green and White, and it goes by the nickname Seagulls.


Early Days[edit]

In 1922, some members of St Kevin's Gaelic football club in Bray left the club as a result of a dispute and formed a soccer club called Bray Wanderers. They won the Miller Cup, which at the time was one of the most prestigious junior cups in the country, in 1927–28. Through the 1930s and 1940s, however, Bray Unknowns were the leading team in the town, playing in the League of Ireland for nineteen seasons from 1924–25 to 1942–43. Bray Wanderers went into decline in the mid-thirties but was reformed in 1942–43 and entered the Athletic Union League Division 3 for the 1943–44 season. By the 1948–49 season Wanderers had reached Division 1 of the AUL but the period in between did not pass without controversy. In 1944 the club reached the Leinster Football Association Shield final but was disqualified for fielding an illegal player in the semi-final. When in Division 2 of the AUL in 1946–47 the club was expelled from the league due to the B team not fulfilling a league fixture, although the club was reinstated the following season. In 1950–51 Wanderers won the FAI Junior Cup, defeating Drogheda United 2–1. Wanderers also reached the Leinster Junior Final that season, but were defeated by Rathfarnham in the final. Wanderers won the Junior Cup again in 1953–54, defeating Ierne 1–0 in the Final. The following season Wanderers left the AUL and joined the Leinster Senior League

Mid 1900s[edit]

In 1955–56 Wanderers won the FAI Intermediate Cup, defeating Workmens Club 2–1 in the final. There was also a first appearance in the FAI Cup against Longford Town in 1956. They won the FAI Intermediate Cup again two years later, defeating Chapelizod 2–1 in the final. In 1958–59, Wanderers clinched the Leinster Senior League , setting a new club and LSL record for the highest number of goals scored in a season. They went on to win three league titles in a row. In 1960–61 Wanderers withdrew from the LSL and returned to the AUL. In 1964–65 they were founder members of the League of Ireland B Division.[1] However they left after just one season and once again went into decline. By 1973 Bray Unknowns were playing in the LSL and the management changed the name to Bray Wanderers in a partially successful effort to amalgamate the two. In 1975–76 the new Wanderers won the Metropolitan Cup for the first time since 1924.

League of Ireland[edit]

Bray Wanderers were elected to the League of Ireland when it was expanded to two Divisions for the 1985–86 season. They played their first game as a League of Ireland club on 8 September 1985 in a FAI League Cup match against Dundalk with Jim Mahon having the honour of notching the Seagulls' first goal at senior level. The Wanderers' secured promotion to the Premier Division by winning the League of Ireland First Division Championship that year. They were relegated back down to the First Division in the 1987–88 season. Wanderers did not regain Premier Division status until the 1990–91 season but had their first major success during their spell in the First Division. They won the FAI Cup in 1990 beating St. Francis 3–0 in the first Lansdowne Road final with John Ryan becoming only the second player to score a hat-trick in a FAI Cup final. They made history by becoming the first ever First Division side to win the trophy. Due to this success, Wanderers competed in European competition for the first time in their history in the 1990–91 season. They were defeated, however, by Trabzonspor in the European Cup Winners' Cup preliminary round.

Bray continued to have difficulty achieving success in the league. After two seasons in the Premier Division the club was once again relegated to the First Division where they remained for three seasons. In 1995–96 season Wanderers were promoted back to the Premier Division as First Division champions, but were relegated back down in the following season. The next two seasons followed the same script as they went back up and came straight back down. In 1998–99, a season they got relegated again, Wanderers won their second FAI Cup, defeating Finn Harps after two replays which earned them a spot in the 1999-2000 UEFA Cup against a Roy Hodgson led Grasshoppers.

In 1999–00 the club won promotion back to the Premier Division and in 2000–01 Wanderers achieved their highest ever league finish of 4th place in the Premier Division. The club could not build on this as they were relegated back down in 2002–03 but were once again promoted in 2004. The club was relegated at the end of the 2009 season, but the demise of Cork City meant they were reinstated to the Premier Division. Finishing in a Promotion/Relegation play-off in 2010, the club maintained its Premier status following a penalty shoot-out with Monaghan United.

The following season, finishing sixth in the Premier Division, the club gained a place in the all-Ireland Setanta Cup, but early in 2012 conceded home and away matches to Glentoran FC in the first round of the competition (2–4 & 0–3).

In the 2012 season, Bray finished tenth of 12 clubs in the Premier Division, five points above Dundalk, who had to survive a Promotion/Relegation battle against Waterford United to ensure their survival in the top flight.

In 2013, Bray were again in the relegation mix, and having finished second-last they played First Division promotion play-off winners Longford Town over two legs, winning 5–4 on aggregate, with goals from Jason Byrne (2), Gary Dempsey, Kieran Waters and Kevin O'Connor.

On 10 January 2014 it was announced that Alan Mathews would be the new manager with Barry O'Connor as his assistant. The club ended the season in tenth place, just a point above UCD, and entered the 2015 season as the fourth-longest surviving current Premier Division club.

However, on 1 April 2015, Mathews resigned suddenly, together with the rest of his backroom team, citing a breakdown in communication with the club's new owners, the O'Connors who had taken over during the off-season.[2] The club appointed Under-19 coach Maciej Tarnogrodzki as interim senior team manager the following day.[3][4] The following month, the club announced that former Shamrock Rovers boss Trevor Croly had signed a three-year contract to manage the club.[5][6]

Just one month later however, Croly also resigned in a similar fashion to Mathews before him. Mick Cooke was brought in to replace him as the fifth manager of the season (including temporary Player/Manager David Cassidy), and Bray finished the 2015 season in 8th position.

In July 2017, after much speculation about the future of the club, interim chairman Gerry Mulvey released a statement which confirmed that the club is financially stable and outlined big plans for the future of the club.[7][8]

In September 2017, the FAI launched an investigation into alleged match-fixing surrounding Bray Wanderers friendly against Waterford on 8 September 2017.[9] The FAI released a formal statement in February 2018 affirming that no evidence to support any charge had been found.


Bray Wanderers have a small fanbase, with regular attendances generally around 200-400 home fans. For away matches the Bray Wanderers Supporters Club organises a bus to run direct to the relevant ground.

In March 2008, the Ultra group of Bray Wanderers fans "Na Fánaithe" was formed by five Supporters Club members. Unlike Ultra groups in Dublin such as "Briogáid Dearg", "SRFC Ultras", "Shed End Invincibles" and "Notorious Boo Boys", Na Fánaithe is a much smaller group, compared to the hundreds involved in those Ultra groups.




  • Record Victory: 7–0 v Cobh Ramblers 17 October 1997, 7–0 v St. Mochta's 2007 FAI Cup, 17 June 2007
  • Record League Defeat: 8–1 v Dundalk FC 04 May 2015
  • Most Points in a Season: 72 in 1999–00
  • Most League Goals in a Season: 19, Eamon Zayed, 2003
  • Most League Goals: 72, Jason Byrne 1998–03, 2012–13

European record[edit]


Competition Matches W D L GF GA
UEFA Cup 2 0 0 2 0 8
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 2 0 1 1 1 3
Overall 4 0 1 3 1 11


Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
1990–91 European Cup Winners' Cup QM Turkey Trabzonspor 1–1 0–2 1–3
1999–00 UEFA Cup QR Switzerland Grasshoppers 0–4 0–4 0–8
  • QM: Qualifying match
  • QR: Qualifying round

Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Republic of Ireland GK Aaron Dillon
2 Republic of Ireland DF Hugh Douglas (vice-captain)
3 Republic of Ireland DF Kevin Lynch
4 Republic of Ireland DF Conor Kenna
5 Republic of Ireland DF Seán Heaney
6 Republic of Ireland MF Paul O'Conor
7 Republic of Ireland FW Cory Galvin
8 Republic of Ireland MF John Sullivan
9 Republic of Ireland FW Gerald Pender
10 Republic of Ireland FW Aaron Greene
11 England MF Jake Kelly
No. Position Player
12 Republic of Ireland DF Dylan Hayes
14 Republic of Ireland MF Rhys Gorman
15 Republic of Ireland DF Darragh Gibbons
16 Republic of Ireland FW Daniel McKenna
17 Republic of Ireland MF Daniel Kelly
18 Republic of Ireland DF Calvin Rogers
19 Republic of Ireland FW Rónán Coughlan
21 Republic of Ireland MF Gary McCabe (captain)
22 Republic of Ireland MF Darragh Noone
24 Republic of Ireland FW Jake Ellis
29 Republic of Ireland GK Evan Moran

Technical Staff[edit]

Position Staff
Head Coach Graham Kelly
Assistant Coach Jason McGuinness
First Team Coach/Video Analysis Graham Kelly
First Team Coach Conor Kenna
Goalkeeping Coach Ian Fowler
Kit Man Stephen McGuire
Fitness Coach Sami Dowling
Team Nutritionist Michelle Hone
Physiotherapist Glauber Barduzzi
Physiotherapist Marcelo Crespo


Dates Name Notes
July 1985 – Dec 90 Republic of Ireland Pat Devlin League of Ireland First Division Champions 1985–86,
FAI Cup Winners 1990
Dec 1990 – March 95 Republic of Ireland John Holmes First Division Runner-up 1990–91
March 1995 – Aug 05 Republic of Ireland Pat Devlin First Division Champions 1995–96,
FAI Cup Winners 1999,
First Division Runner-up 1997–98,
Aug 2005 – Oct 05 Republic of Ireland Tony McGuirk[15]
Oct 2005 – May 10, 2006 Republic of Ireland Pat Devlin
May 10, 2006 – Sept 26, 2006 Republic of Ireland Tony McGuirk[16]
Sept 27, 2006 – Aug 9, 2010 Republic of Ireland Eddie Gormley
Aug 10, 2010 – Dec 2011 Republic of Ireland Pat Devlin[17]
Dec 1, 2011 – Sept 15, 2012 Republic of Ireland Keith Long
Sept 16, 2012 – Dec 31, 2012 Republic of Ireland Eddie Gormley[18]
Jan 1, 2012 – Dec 2013 Republic of Ireland Pat Devlin
Jan 10, 2014 – Apr 1, 2015 Republic of Ireland Alan Mathews
Caretaker Apr 2, 2015 – May 6, 2015 Poland Maciej Tarnogrodzki
May 11, 2015 – July 3, 2015 Republic of Ireland Trevor Croly
Jul 7, 2015 – April 2016 Republic of Ireland Mick Cooke
April 2016 – October 2017 Republic of Ireland Harry Kenny
Dec 2017 – April 2018 Republic of Ireland Dave Mackey

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lynch, Frank (1991). A History of Athlone Town F.C: The First 101 Years. Athlone: Arcadia. 
  2. ^ "Alan Mathews and Bray staff resign en masse". RTE News Website. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "New Management Team Appointment". Bray Wanderers FC Website (2/04/2015). Archived from the original on 6 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Maciej Tarnogrodzki named Bray caretaker coach". RTÉ News website (2/04/2015). 
  5. ^ "Croly Announced as Bray Manager". Bray Wanderers FC Website (11/05/2015). Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Trevor Croly unveiled as Bray Wanderers Manager". RTÉ News website (11/05/2015). 
  7. ^ "Bizarre Bray missive invites more ridicule". Irish Independent. 28 July 2017. Retrieved 28 July 2017. 
  8. ^ "'The North Korea of Ireland for business, Conor McGregor and Barcelona' - Bray FC release truly bizarre statement". Irish Independent. 27 July 2017. Retrieved 28 July 2017. 
  9. ^ "STATEMENT ON BRAY WANDERERS FC". SSE Airtricity League. 13 September 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017. 
  10. ^ "FAI Junior Cup Winners". Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  11. ^ Mark Herbert, Donie Butler (1994–95). FAI Yearbook & Diary 1995. Dublin: Sportsworld Ltd. 
  12. ^ "Club History 1920s to 1985". Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  13. ^ Graham, Alex. Football in the Republic of Ireland a Statistical Record 1921–2005. Soccer Books Limited. ISBN 1-86223-135-4. 
  14. ^ "(Republic of) Ireland League Tables - Second Level". Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  15. ^ In absence of Devlin for medical reasons Devoted Fan & Absent Boss Believe in Tony, The Mirror (London, England) 26 Aug 2005
  16. ^ In absence of Devlin with Republic of Ireland B Team McGuirk laments 'schoolboy' errors in Bray defence, Wicklow People 18 May 2006
  17. ^ With Keith Long
  18. ^ with Pat Devlin


External links[edit]