Date: 7:45 p.m. May 8, 2009
Venue: Oriel Park
Att: 2,000 (est)
The former Drogheda striker blotted his copybook, however, with a stupid injury time red card that could have put his side under some undo pressure were it not for the paucity of Galway efforts. O'Brien kicked the ball away twice in the space of five minutes near the end, but referee Hancock blew up 30 seconds before the allotted injury time had elapsed and the home fans gave their side a standing ovation as they left the park, if not for the style of the performance maybe for the heart and determination they showed to hold onto their lead.
For an artificial surface to produce as bad a first half as was witnessed tonight was a sad indictment of both sides. It really was poor stuff for the opening half hour before Declan O'Brien snatched the lead with a darting run on to Shaun Kelly's hooked pass and slotted past Barry Ryan.
Until that moment Dundalk had struggled to get any sort of attacking rhythm going and Galway's extra man in the middle, while stopping the opposition, was leaving Vinny Faherty too isolated up front. Shane Guthrie did head over from O'Shea's well-flighted free on 12 and Tiarnan Mulvenna cracked an effort well and truly over the bar in the 20th minute. But apart from that, the crowd could well have used the time to fully assess Sean Connor's extensive programme notes and not have missed anything worthy of their attention.
While Connor had stated his intention to try and create an intimidating atmosphere for away teams to suffer at Oriel Park, the majority of the home fan's outbursts were saved for referee Damien Hancock and his assistants who they felt were guilty of Henning-Ovrebo-esque mistakes on numerous occasions in the half.
Thankfully the half time break gave time for both managers to maybe instil a bit more adventure in their sides and Dundalk forced an early corner, their first of the game, to add fuel to that thought. From the corner, O'Brien was denied at the back post by a goal-line block after getting on the end of Simon Kelly's flick on.
Then, from a long throw on the right, the ball got all the way through to Mulvenna but he blasted over with the home fans ready to salute a second. Dundalk managed to force five corners in the opening ten minutes but couldn't replicate the effectiveness of the first effort.
Galway made couple of tactical changes before the hour mark, bringing in Declan Edwards, who had already scored a goal in County Louth, and Cian McBrien to try and offer a bit more creative spark but it was Dundalk who continued to hold the upper hand and O'Brien let fly with two shots from outside the area that never looked like extending their lead.
Neither side got any closer than that and it was only O'Brien's late antics that livened up the final few minutes of the contest. Dundalk next face a Drogheda side on the back of their first league win of the season, while Galway host Bray Wanderers at Terryland Park and will be desperately looking for three points to re-open a gap with the bottom three in the table.
Dundalk: Chris Bennion; Michael Coburn, Thomas Heary, Simon Kelly, Michael Synott; Tiarnan Mulvenna, George O'Callaghan, Michael Daly, Shaun Kelly; Darren Mansaram (Ger Rowe, 66), Declan O'Brien.
Subs not used: Ryan Coulter, Michael McGinley, Michael Griffin, John Smyth.
Galway United: Barry Ryan; Seamus Conneely, Shane Guthrie, Garry Breen, Iarfhlaith Davoren; Jay O'Shea, John Russell, Dave Cooke (Declan Edwards, 58), Michael McGrath (Cian McBrien, 58), Derek O'Brien (Mark O'Toole, 75); Vinny Faherty.
Subs not used: Jason Molloy, Shane Fitzgerald.
extratime Man of the Match: No candidates.
Referee: D. Hancock.