Shamrock Rovers made the Tuesday night trip west a profitable one as they collected all three points at Eamonn Deacy Park following a 1-0 win over Galway Utd courtesy of Gary Shaw’s first half injury time header.
Both managers made changes for this re-fixed game as Tommy Dunne restored goalkeeper Sam Ramsbottom, Alex Byrne and Padraic Cunningham for his home side, with the visitors making four changes to the team that played out a scoreless draw with St. Pat's last Friday night.
A scrappy opening quarter saw little goalmouth action before Rovers' Brandon Miele swung in a free-kick which found Rob Cornwall but his headed effort was turned over the crossbar by Ramsbottom.
Galway’s Vinny Faherty then headed wide from a perfect right wing cross from Killian Cantwell after Conor Melody’s ball released the defender into space after 18 minutes.
The home side produced a lovely flowing move eight minutes later that should have delivered the opening score. Padraic Cunnningham laid a ball into the path of strike partner Faherty who just delayed his effort before pulling the ball back to Alex Byrne who fired a shot over Barry Murphy’s crossbar with the goal at his mercy from inside the box.
Ramsbottom got down low to push away a Gary McCabe free-kick past the half hour mark after Rovers were awarded the dead ball following a mazy run by Trevor Clarke that was stopped fairly by Alex Byrne but referee Rob Hennessey awarded the free.
The home 'keeper did well again on 34 minutes as he denied Rovers' Trevor Clarke at his right hand post as he blocked the winger’s close range effort away with his legs. Galway countered with Padraic Cunningham and Marc Ludden who raced through but pulled a right footed effort badly off target with just Murphy to beat.
Rovers struck for the only goal of the game in first half injury time as the home team gave away possession and the dangerous Trevor Clarke picked up a stray cross from the right and delivered it first time back into the box for Gary Shaw to glance a header into the corner past Ramsbottom with his fifth league goal of the campaign.
The Galway goalkeeper produced another fine save to prevent Trevor Clarke doubling the visitors lead as he pushed away a well struck strike from the winger two minutes into the second period.
The Hoops captain Stephen McPhail fired badly over after a poor defending header following a corner gave him the chance inside the Galway box on 55 minutes, while Ramsbottom saved from Shaw after a ball over the top a minute later.
Rovers defender David Webster made a good stop as he halted Faherty in full flow as Galway broke forward with purpose past the 70 minute mark, while Hoops sub James Doona had a shot blocked at the other end with Trevor Clarke free outside him.
Shaw almost doubled his tally for the evening but his low effort from the left of the box flew just past Ramsbottom’s far post with twelve minutes remaining.
Galway made a double substitution with nine minutes left as Enda Curran and Kevin Devaney were introduced to try and change the game but it was Rovers who continued pressing forward as 18-year-old Doona fired straight at Ramsbottom.
The Tribesmen almost drew level in injury time as Curran saw his fierce free-kick parried away by Murphy with Armin Agonovic unable to force the ball over the line and then Stephen Folan firing the loose ball against the underside of the crossbar before Rovers eventually cleared and the final whistle sounded.
Galway United: Sam Ramsbottom; Killian Cantwell, Armin Aganovic, Stephen Folan; Colm Horgan, Conor Melody, Alex Byrne, Ryan Connolly, Marc Ludden (Kevin Devaney 81); Vinny Faherty (Enda Curran 81), Padraic Cunningham (Gary Shanahan 66)
Subs not used: Conor Winn (GK), Stephen Walsh, Paul Sinnott, Jesse Devers.
Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy, Simon Madden, David Webster, Sean Heaney, Robert Cornwall; Gary McCabe, Brandon Miele (James Doona 67), Stephen McPhail (Pat Cregg 68), Trevor Clarke; Aaron Dobbs (Sean Boyd 78), Gary Shaw.
Subs not used: Conor Gilson (GK), Shane Hanney, Dean Clarke, Jamie Aherne.
Booked: Sean Heaney 92
Referee: Robert Hennessey (Clare)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Trevor Clarke (Shamrock Rovers)