Dundalk ran out convincing winners against a demoralised Galway unit but the score line was a little flattering. Goals from Dean Bennett, Johnny Breen, Mark Quigley and Danny Kearns well and truly answered the Galway opener through Alan Murphy.
Dundalk settled quickly despite the unusual team that they had been forced to field as efforts from Mark Griffin, Darren Quigley and Danny Kearns all caused flutters in the Galway backline within the first ten minutes.
However it was Galway who broke the deadlock in the 13th minute as Mikey Gilmore challenged for a bouncing ball with Ross Gaynor, both players lead with their studs and the home fans were dismayed to see Gilmore come away with the ball and no free given. He cut into the box from the wide right and pulled back to Alan Murphy who was unmarked and had the easiest of tasks to find the net from eight yards.
Dundalk struck back five minutes later as Mark Griffin earned a corner for the home team, Danny Kearns swung it in and Dean Bennett rose to meet it at the near post and glance his header home from inside the six yard box.
Things were fairly even after that point until the stroke of half time when with Dundalk just having the better of things. That superiority was registered on the scoreboard when in the 45th minute Griffin lifted a delightful ball behind the Galway backline for his strike partner Johnny Breen to run on to. He drew Greg Fleming in the Galway goal and lifted the ball over his diving body to find the corner of the net and give the Lilywhites the lead.
Dundalk opened well in the second period and lovely link up play between Simon Madden and Mark griffin gave Danny Kearns a sight of goal but Greg Fleming saved with his feet. Bennett had a chance to get on the stats sheet when another Kearns corner found him at the far post but under pressure from Sean Kelly he headed wide.
Two penalty shouts for the home team resulted in nothing as both Quigley and Griffin felt they were pulled back in the box. Dundalk did extend their lead on 74 minutes when Danny Kearns was hauled down by Stephen Walsh, Mark Quigley confidently stroked home the spot kick.
The home fans didn’t have long to wait to cheer again as two minutes later Danny Kearns sent an in swinging free kick in from the left touchline which evaded everyone and nestled in the Galway net.
The last real action was when the unfortunate Shaun Kelly was booked on 80 minutes and again on 93 to get first use of the bath salts. Dundalk will be well set to face their local rivals next up but will be looking to get some more bodies on the park. Sean Connor must be wondering where they will go from here.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Simon Madden, Dean Bennett, Shane Guthrie, Ross Gaynor; Daniel Kearns, Greg Bolger (Chris Kerr 79), Keith Ward (Philip Duffy 79), Mark Quigley; Johnny Breen, Mark Griffin.
Subs not used: Paul Murphy (GK).
Galway United: Greg Fleming; Shaun Kelly, Paul Sinnott, Shaun Maher, Stephen Walsh; Bobby Ryan (Gary Kelly, 76), Sean Kelly, Gary Curran (Brian Cash 51), Alan Murphy, Karl Moore (Shane Keogh 63); Mikey Gilmore.
Subs not used: Conor Winn (GK), Joseph Yoffe, Evan Preston Kelly.
Bookings: Gary Curran (30), Brian Cash (75), Shaun Kelly (80).
Sent Off: Shaun Kelly (93).
Referee: Paul Tuite.
extratime.ie Man of the Match:. Dean Bennett (Dundalk).