Despite Pat’s having the bulk of the play and chances, a solitary but very eventful minute of madness which left everyone inside the stadium bewildered, decided a game that seemed destined to give Jeff Kenna some retribution against his former employers.
Though many eyes, not least Charlton Manager Phil Parkinson and his assistant Mark Kinsella, were solely focused on Republic of Ireland U-21 international and Galway Captain Jay O’Shea, who is hotly tipped to move to England in the coming weeks, it was in fact Pat’s who made most of the early running switching from a neat passing game to a high tempo one cleverly.
And it was they who nearly went in front when Gareth O’Connor’s centre was gleefully gathered by goalkeeper Barry Ryan before Jamie Harris could tap into an empty net on eight.
However, their early bluster amounted to little and it was Galway who were next to create when David Cooke advanced into Pat’s box and fired a powerful effort just over the home side’s crossbar on 18.
Then back came Pat’s and really should have opened the scoring but centre-half David Partridge headed O’Connor’s corner kick disappointingly over with the goal at his mercy, it was a great chance and he knew it.
Galway midfielder Michael McGrath very nearly made him rue the chance yet further but his excellent long distance drive was well held by Gary Rogers in the home goal.
Pat’s however began to shade it as the half drew to a close thanks Ryan Guy’s dynamism in attack and O’Connor’s well-timed breaks from midfield which saw him go close on a couple of occasions.
When the breakthrough finally came it was thanks to a brilliant surging overlap from full-back Stephen Maher and his equally good cross was met with Guy’s forehead for his second goal of the week just two minutes before the break
The towering Jamie Harris may have been the target for Maher’s cross but thanks to Guy’s ability to soar higher than most and seemingly hang in the air it was he and the home supporters who were celebrating.
And so the teams went in for their half-time refreshments with Pat’s leading a goal to nil.
The early stages of the second half continued in much the same vein as the first with Jeff Kenna’s side enjoying prolonged periods of sustained possession but lacking in any real creative spark.
In a rare Galway forage into the Pat’s box Jason Gavin was adjudged to have handled John Russell’s attempted flick, it seemed an extremely dubious award from the stands and Gavin himself protested ferociously that the ball had struck him on the chest while Kenna’s assistant John Carroll was sent to the stand for berating the fourth official following the decision.
O’Shea was now firmly centre stage and didn’t disappoint calmly slotting home on 55.
Then before anyone could catch their breath, Galway took the lead. Virtually from the tip-off United regained possession and Sean Kelly let fly with a wonder strike from all of 25 yards to leave everyone inside the ground well and truly shell shocked, not least Jeff Kenna.
To their extreme credit though Kenna’s side fought back, though were only set for further misery as first Guy, then O’Connor and finally Maher all passed up extremely presentable chances in quick succession.
Alan Cawley and Andy Haran were introduced to try and conjure up an equaliser in the final ten minutes but their search was fruitless.
Ian Foster has amassed an immaculate nine points against the man he called boss last season and how he must be enjoying it.
St.Pat’s: Rogers, Gavin, Harris (Capt), Partridge, Stevens, Bobby Ryan (Cawley ’80), Byrne, O’Connor, Maher, Darragh Ryan (Haverty ’43 (Haran ’87)), Guy Subs not used: Clarke, Lynch,
Galway United: Ryan, Conneely, Cooke, Breen, Guthrie, O’Shea (Capt.), Russell, Faherty, Kelly (McBrien ’75), McGrath (O’Toole ’78), Davoren Subs not used: Sinnott, Molloy, Hanley
Extratime.ie Man Of The Match: Jay O’Shea, not one of his better games but penalty was expertly taken and it could well be his last appearance in the League of Ireland for some time.
Referee: Niall Doyle