Date: 7:45 p.m. Sept. 18, 2009
Venue: Terryland Park
Maurice O'Driscoll was called in to take charge of the Inchicore side, and he plumped for a front two of Declan O'Brien and Mark Leech, with Bobby Ryan and Ryan Guy on either flank. Ian Foster unveiled a new tactical approach with Seamus Conneely moved into a defensive midfield role as John Russell, Derek O'Brien and Alan Murphy maintained a narrow bank of three in front of him to good effect.
Both sides were uninspiring in the opening minutes, and it was the visitors who first ventured forward with a touch of menace in the fifth minute when Declan O'Brien looked to have outpaced Shane Guthrie on the byline, but the big centre half recovered well to deny the striker a shooting chance.
Leech was next to try his luck when released by Gary Dempsey but Barry Ryan saved comfortably. Galway's first foray, after a prolonged spell of neat passing, ended with Paul Sinnott's cross being cleared from Derek O'Brien's path at the last second. Within a minute, John Russell had floated a delicious pass from right to left over Stephen Maher's head to release Alan Murphy, but the midfielder-cum-striker's shot arrowed right and wide.
Conneely then struck for the opener on 23 minutes after some magic on the right flank from Russell in which involved a turn and cross which eventually reached the Connemarra man just inside the area and he rifled, with the aid of a couple of deflections, past Gary Rogers for his second league goal of the season.
While Galway attempted, and succeeded to a degree, to keep the ball on the deck and play it, St. Pat's efforts were only notable for their lack of creativity and a number of crude challenges which saw them pick up four yellow cards over the course of the half, two of which could have demanded stricter punishment from Padraig Sutton.
Greene used his pace to expose Jason Gavin on 35 but credit the centre half for getting back to get a foot in as Greene manouevered to shoot off his left foot, in the process forcing Rogers into a low save at his post. Dempsey gave Ryan a shot to test his handling skills three minutes before the half, but Galway were lucky to escape without conceding a penalty when another long ball forced Garry Breen into an error which O'Brien was razor sharp to react to. As the striker weaved into the box, a rash challenge, nay a push, from Mark O'Toole sent O'Brien sprawling, but Sutton remained motionless and waved play on.
Neither side has raised much of a second half gallop before Galway doubled their lead in the 49th minute. After a collision between Noel Haverty and Vinny Faherty on the edge of the area, Murphy found space on the right and lifted a cross that Derek O'Brien, unmarked, headed goalwards. Stephen Maher blocked on the line but Russell was on hand to steer the rebound into the bottom corner for his second of the campaign.
The tendency of teams with two goal leads suddenly struck the home side, as they began to stand off and let St Pats back into the contest, which, with a sense of urgency that had been lacking from their play until then, they did. Dempsey and Bobby Ryan forced saves from Ryan as the midfield duel began to swing in their favour, and Alan Cawley's introduction for the glaringly ineffective Leech gave them even more impetus.
Cawley was the architect of St. Pat's goal two minutes after his arrival. After seeing his initial cross cleared, Cawley lingered by the touchline unnoticed and was picked out by Dempsey. A second fine cross caused chaos at the far post, and Gavin was on hand to poke in from a yard out.
The home side struggled desperately to regain the initiative but it was now a St. Pat's barrage from then until the finish. Crosses rained in from either side but no chance was forthcoming until Enda Stevens ball from the left wing located O'Brien six yards out. The home crowd drew breath as an equaliser was anticipated, but O'Brien's header was woeful and Galway had escaped.
Three minutes of injury time had to be endured before the final whistle sounded and Galway had another severe let off in the final seconds as Alan Cawley cut back on his left and swung in a ball from which Ryan Guy was well positioned to find the net but he headed wide.
Galway United: Barry Ryan; Paul Sinnott, Garry Breen, Shane Guthrie, Mark O'Toole; Derek O'Brien (Shane Fitzgerald, 69), Seamus Conneely, John Russell, Alan Murphy; Vinny Faherty, Aaron Greene (Simon Walsh, 77).
Subs not used: Ger Hanley, John Sangi.
St. Patrick's Athletic: Gary Rogers; Enda Stevens, Jason Gavin, Noel Haverty, Stephen Maher; Bobby Ryan, Stuart Byrne, Gary Dempsey, Ryan Guy; Mark Leech (Alan Cawley, 69), Declan O'Brien.
Subs not used: Brendan Clarke, Darragh Ryan, Kyle Moran, Glen Fitzpatrick.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Seamus Conneely.
Attendance: 850 est.
Referee: Padraig Sutton.