Dundalk hold off Galway fightback after Towell brace
Galway United 2 Dundalk 4
Dundalk has to endure a nervous finish before stretching their lead at the top of the table.
The champions were coasting to victory when Richie Towell's second strike put them 3-0 in front after 67 minutes.
But Galway battled back and twice found the net in the closing stages. It took a late save from Gary Rogers to deny Gary Shanahan an equaliser a minute from the end of a rousing contest.
Dundalk got on top from the outset, with Galway keeper Conor Winn denying David McMillan and Andy Boyle.
Galway struggled to get forward but Enda Curran forced Rogers into a good save from Ryan Connolly's free.
Daryl Horgan and Dane Massey flashed efforts over for Dundalk but the champions did not panic, with McMillan forcing Winn into another save.
Top scorer Towell had been quiet up to then but he broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion on 35 minutes.
Marc Ludden was booking for a foul on Towell, and the Dundalk striker then smashed the resultant free from 25 yards into the top right corner for his 12th goal of the campaign.
It was no more than Dundalk deserved, and Boyle almost doubled the lead with a header shortly afterwards, while Winn had to be alert to touch a shot from McMillan away.
Galway kept battling away and Jake Keegan almost snatched an equaliser just before the break but he flashed a low effort the wrong side of the left post after being set up by Connolly.
Dundalk continued to press after the restart and doubled their lead after 58 minutes when the unmarked Massey headed home a corner by Meenan for his fourth of the campaign.
Dundalk seemingly wrapped up the points after 67 minutes when Towell rifled home his second when Galway failed to deal with a corner.
Curran gave the home side some hope with a goal from a free 16 minutes from the end.
And a strike from Padraig Cunningham with four minutes to go ensured a nervous finish for the champions, and they were grateful to Rogers for thwarting Shanahan.
And then in stoppage-time Keegan almost scored from close range, but Dundalk broke and John Mountney wrapped it up after being set up by Horgan.
GALWAY UNITED - Winn; Horgan, Sinnott, Walsh, Ludden (Cantwell 82); Garcia (Shanahan 56), O'Leary (Cunningham 62), Byrne, Connolly, Keegan; Curran.
DUNDALK - Rogers; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle (Barrett 72), Massey; Meenan, O'Donnell, Towell, Horgan; Finn (Shields 76), McMillan (Mountney 85).
Ref - P Sutton.