Galway United and St Patrick’s Athletic were both hoping a win would give them some respite in the relegation struggle, but as it turned out they are both still right in the mix after sharing the spoils at Deacy Park on Friday night.
Played in front of Galway’s biggest crowd of the season, it was a rip-roaring affair, with St Pat’s charging out of the blocks – Billy Dennehy had a half chance as early as the opening minute. Galway gradually established themselves as their back three dominated and easily repelled the best efforts of the visitors with Stevie Folan being the lynchpin.
Visiting keeper Lukasz Skowron showed his mettle as early as the 11th minute when he raced from his line to fly hack clear as Galway pressed for the opening goal. On the night St Pat’s had Skowron to thank for their point gained.
Galway were clearly on top but could not force an opening, with some gilt edged chances going a begging, most notably Murray’s side-footed miss after 23 minutes. 12 minutes later it was Murray’s precision pass to McCormack that brought the opening goal. McCormack held his nerve well when clear and finished with aplomb.
At this stage Galway were flying, and could have added to the scoreline, but it was Pat’s, against the run of play, who levelled it up on the cusp of half time. Dennehy, using all his experience and guile, drifted to the back post and volleyed home Conan Byrne’s cross.
Cruel blow though it was on the stroke of half time, Galway started the second half in confident mood. Six minutes into the half Skowron made an incredible save from Folan, following great approach play by Murray and Holohan and two minutes later he was in action again punching clear as Galway powered forward.
Liam Buckley went to the bench early in the half, introducing Michael Barker and Kurtis Byrne, and these changes not only galvanised St Pat’s but gave them an edge that was lacking up to that.
Galway continued to look more of a threat and drove forward at every opportunity, but it was the visitors who almost stole the game on 83 minutes and it was Dennehy who missed a golden opportunity capitalising on perhaps Folan’s only mistake of the season, but he cracked his shot wide of Winn’s goal.
It is ironic that these two teams are embroiled in the relegation battle when they each played with such purpose and no little ability, but that’s football!
So, with two games to go there are still four teams involve in the fight to avoid one relegation place and next week Galway have another proverbial ‘six pointer’ as they travel to Limerick, while St Pat’s face Cork City who amazingly have still not wrapped up the title.
Galway United: Conor Win, Colm Horgan, Steve Folan, Niall Maher, Marc Ludden, Kevin Devanney, David Cawley, Rory Hale, Gavan Holohan, (Conor Melody) Eoin McCormack, (Padraic Cunningham) Ronan Murray
Subs not used: Charlie Burns (GK) Paul Sinnott, Alex Byrne, Gary Shanahan, Ronan Manning
Booked; Gavan Holohan, Eoin McCormack
St Patrick’s Athletic: Lukasz Skowron, Ian Bermingham, Owen Garvan, Conan Byrne, (Ian Turner) Graham Kelly, Christy Fagan,( Kurtis Byrne) Killian Brennan, Lee Desmond, Jordi Balk, Billy Dennehy, Paul O’Connor (Michael Barker)
Subs not used: Barry Murphy (GK), , Gavin Peers, Jonathan Lunney, Darragh Markey
Booked; Jordi Balk
Referee: Robert Rogers
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Lukasz Skowron (St Patrick’s Athletic)