Date: 7:45 p.m. April 23, 2010
Venue: Terryland Park
Flood's double brings his tally to three since his move west and the striker's partnership with Karl Sheppard looks one capable of combining to telling effect for the remainder of the season. Galway now draw level on points with Bohemians and Sligo Rovers and have another home tie to look forward to on Monday.
Alan Mathews' plans were hindered beforehand by a number of injury withdrawals as Eoghan Osborne, Robbie Martin, Glen Fitzpatrick, and Paul Crowley all failed to make the matchday squad. Eric McGill, Brendan McGill, and Jamie Duffy were promoted to the first XI.
A discernible pattern of play had yet to be established when the home side struck with venom for the opener. Seamus Conneely won possession in his own half, did well to beat one man and then picked out Karl Sheppard, who had options to his left but chose to try and find strike partner Anto Flood.
His pass was slightly astray, but a kind deflection arced the ball into Flood's path, and the former Shelbourne man smashed a volley over the leaden-footed Paul Murphy, who was, no more than anyone else in the ground, astounded by the quality of the strike.
Drogheda's ten-year unbeaten run at the Dyke Road venue was quickly under threat, but the rest of the first half failed to ignite after the early spark. The next incident of note was a less than savoury one as Michael Daly was forced off by a nasty looking finger injury, with medical assistance slow to react as the midfielder was eventually carted off to hospital.
Within sixty seconds of his substitution, Galway had added an unlikely second, as Stephen O'Donnell, industrious and efficient throughout, drilled in a corner from the left on 23 minutes which fell for Rhys Meynell, and the defender guided the ball into the net via a wicked deflection that will require video evidence to identify the transgressor.
Goalmouth action from then till the break was as frequent as Ryanair flights in the past week, but we did get some noteworthy events just before the whistle as Anto Flood headed inches wide and Gareth O'Connor's piercing volley was similarly close at the other end.
As dull as the first half had been, the second exploded like a dodgy piece of dynamite on a deserted island. Six minutes in, Karl Sheppard linked up well with Flood for the big forward to slot in his second of the night and Galway's third. Points safely tucked away in the bag you felt.
This feeling grew even stronger in the 53rd minute as Eric McGill picked up his second yellow for a late challenge on Stephen O'Donnell. Down to ten men, the size of Drogheda's challenge had escalated from Croagh Patrick to Mount Everest.
Within two minutes, though, they had reached base camp when Corie Treacy nodded passed Barry Ryan from close range when Galway failed to deal with a cross from the left. Were Galway about to implode dramatically? The answer turned out to be no, as Treacy's effort turned out to be the visitors sole attempt on target in the entire game.
Galway, after realising they had an extra man, began to control the tempo a bit better and used the flanks to better effect. Derek O'Brien and Bobby Ryan both had the ball in the net but were denied by offside flags. The home side also had a number of shots deflected narrowly wide, but the main drama of the night was confined to a four-minute spell just after the break and Flood's blistering opener.
Galway United: Barry Ryan; Seamus Conneely, Jamie McKenzie, Paul Sinnott, Rhys Meynell; Bobby Ryan (Derek O'Brien, 62), Stephen O'Donnell, Ciaran Foley, James Creaney; Karl Sheppard, Anto Flood (Jason Molloy, 81).
Unused Subs: Jonathan Keane, Cian McBrien, Dan Keady.
Drogheda United: Paul Murphy; Brian King, Corie Treacy, Alan McNally, Joe Kendrick; Gareth O'Connor, Brendan McGill, Michael Daly (Ryan Brennan, 22 (Jamie Harris, 84)); Jamie Duffy (Colm Smith, 71), John Flood.
Unused Subs: Paul Skinner, Derek Kierans.
Referee: Tom Connolly.
extratime Man of the Match: Anto Flood.