It would be fair to say Galway seriously took it to the visitors for the first half, but in the end the class of the Bohs side showed and the result was inevitable as soon as they took the match in their teeth with Madden’s first strike on 52 minutes.
United now face a virtual gauntlet run to keep their top flight dreams intact with an away match to a Shamrock Rovers side making every last ditch effort to catch a fast-finishing Bohs, before a final round home game to third-placed Cork.
Bohs have a much easier assignment with games against Sligo and Bray and should now have every reason to believe another Premier League title is on the way.
The Galway side had one change to Tuesday’s side which was subjected to a 4-0 hiding at the hands of Drogheda with Alan Murphy absent and Dave Cooke promoted to the starting side. Meanwhile the visitors, fresh from the 3-1 result against St Pats which has allowed them to secure top spot on the ladder once again, also made one change, Ken Oman out and originally replace by Owen Heary before a late change saw former Galway player Gary Deegan starting.
Oman’s absence further depleted Bohs’ defensive stocks which were already running dry due to the injury of Jason McGuinness.
However, they started at a rate of knots and it looked like an early score was on the cards when, after just eight minutes Anto Murphy fired in a header which looked destined for the back of the net, albeit for a diving Barry Ryan who flicked it over the bar with his fingertips. The Dubliners continued to have the majority of the chances and possession in the opening exchanges although the game was somewhat lacking in momentum. Both teams did start to turn the heat up though as they entered the final 20 minutes of the first half.
Madden flashed one high and well wide, before Bohs team mate forced an easy save out of Ryan from a long range strike. At the other end, midfielder Cooke shot from inside the 18-yard box in heavy traffic, but was only just wide of the left post in a good effort.
Jason Byrne would have been disappointed not to give the visitors the lead moments later though when he found himself unmarked at the top of the box. A defensive error from Sean Kelly had handed possession to Bohs deep in their territory and Madden passed it back to Byrne, who swung, but the shot flew wildly over the top right corner of the goal.
Scores remained 0-0 when Anthony Buttimer signaled half-time, probably a justifiable scoreline in an evenly matched 45 minutes.
It was a Bohs team who meant business which emerged from the dressing rooms after the break and were justly rewarded. Madden was gifted a chance on 50 minutes, but failed to take advantage of a one-on-one with Ryan and pushed it wide.
He made no mistake when presented with a similar scenario just two minutes later and the “we’re going to win the league” cheers started up from the Bohs faithful as they went 1-0 up. Seven minutes later mighty Madden struck again, this time on the end of some swift passing in front of goal, Joseph Ndo getting the ball into him before he struck it past a diving Ryan. Bohs then took the consolidation stance and the game offered little else in the way of opportunities for either side, substitute Glen Crowe forcing a save out of Ryan in the dying stages, but nothing that troubled the ‘keeper too much.
Manager Pat Fellon would be content with the performance, his side doing what needed to be done in a clean and orderly manner, while his opposite number Ian Foster has plenty of headaches ahead in the next fortnight.
Galway United: Barry Ryan, Seamus Conneely, Shane Guthrie, Garry Breen, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Sean Kelly, Cian McBrien, Dave Cooke, Derek O’Brien, Aaron Greene, Vinny Faherty (Jason Molloy, 67mins)
Bohemians: Brian Murphy, Mark Rossitor, Conor Powell, Brian Shelley, Glenn Cronin, Anto Murphy, Joseph Ndo (Mark Rossiter, 84mins), Paul Keegan, Killian Brennan (Glen Crowe, 75mins), Jason Byrne, Patrick Madden (Neale Fenn, 75mins)
Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork)