An 83rd minute equaliser from Padraic Cunningham saw Galway United secure a point in a tightly contested affair at Richmond Park on Friday night.
St Patrick’s Athletic opened the scoring through Conan Byrne on 48 minutes but Liam Buckley’s men failed to hold on to their slender lead as their winless run stretches to seven games.
The first opportunity of the game fell to the Saints as J.J Lunney supplied Conan Byrne but his header was weak and failed to generate enough power to test keeper Conor Winn in the Galway goal.
With 11 minutes played, the Saints had another sight at goal as Alex O’Hanlon struck the ball goalward but straight at Winn who gathered comfortably.
A few minutes later, a pass out wide from Gavin Murray put Ronan Murray in on goal but his shot was poor and was easily dealt with by Pats netminder Conor O’Malley diving to his left hand side to make the save.
Rory Feely breathed a sigh of relief on 22 minutes when his stray back pass to keeper O’Malley almost ended up the Pats net. The ball instead hit the outside of the post much to the relief of the Saints players.
A corner for Galway United created the game’s first big chance as a low cross from Kevin Devaney to the edge of the box fell to Ronan Murray who produced a fantastic strike with Conor O’Malley being equal to it pulling off an equally impressive save.
Moments later a loose ball fell to Murray on the edge of the box but his shot was poor and ended up sailing over the crossbar.
It was a tightly contested first half with Galway having the better of the chances through Ronan Murray with the Saints not creating much in the way of clear goal scoring opportunities.
With only minutes passed in the second half, St Pat’s opened the scoring. A low ball into the box by Darragh Markey caused a scramble for possession. The ball eventually fell perfectly to Conan Byrne who scuffed his shot which deflected off Lee Grace into the Tribesman net.
Chances were few and far between after that as the game devolved into a scrappy affair. A few minutes after the hour mark a ball from the right hand side by the captain Colm Horgan found Vinny Faherty at the back post who was unlucky not to convert as his effort hit off the inside off the post.
As the clock ticked down the Saints started to sit back inviting Galway to put the pressure on to find an equalizer.
In the 83rd minute disaster struck for Liam Buckley’s men as a long throw by Marc Ludden caused havoc in the Saints six-yard box. The ball fell into the path of Padraic Cunningham who toe-poked it under Conor O’Malley to give the Tribesmen a vital equalizer.
The game ended in a 1-1 draw, a disappointing result for both sides in terms of their survival hopes. St Patrick’s Athletic will be the more disappointed after leading and to concede such a soft goal. Both sides are without a win in seven now with the pressure now increasing on both managers.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Conor O’Malley; Gavin Peers,(Sam Verdon 81), Patrick Clegg, Conan Byrne, Graham Kelly; Christy Fagan(Josh O’Hanlon 66), J.J Lunney, Lee Desmond, Rory Feely; Darragh Markey, Alex O’Hanlon (Billy Dennehy 66)
Subs not used: Barry Murphy, Michael Baker, Stephen Grogan
Galway United: Conor Winn; Colm Horgan, Marc Ludden, Alex Byrne,(Eoin McCormack 80), David Cawley; Lee Grace, Garvan Holohan(Conor Melody 71), Vinny Faherty,(Padraic Cunnigham 71), Ronan Murray; Kevin Devaney, Stephen Folan
Subs not used: James Tierney, Paul Sinnott, Maurice Nugent
Referee: Derek Tomney
Man of the Match: Ronan Murray