Galway hold champs for vital point
Dundalk 0 Galway United 0
Galway United edged closer to Premier Division safety after becoming just the second team this season to hold Dundalk scoreless in a league game at Oriel Park.
If ever there was a night to play against the champions, then last night was probably it. With the title in the bag, Stephen Kenny made a number of changes to his starting XI, giving rare starts to Shane Grimes, Gabriel Sava and Sean Maguire.
Of bigger concern was the absence of Richie Towell, the league's top scorer told to put the feet up after being struck down by pleurisy during the week.
However, the word emanating from the Dundalk camp was that their talisman would be back in action for the FAI Cup final dress rehearsal with Cork City next week. The visitors gave the champions a guard of honour as they entered the fray. It was a nice gesture but they soon got to work, frustrating the home side for large spells.
Kenny said beforehand that his team would show no let-up in their final three league games but it was perhaps only natural to see Dundalk look off the pace.
They went close in the 33rd minute when John Mountney's rasping 18-yard drive crashed off the inside of Conor Winn's left-hand post. Ronan Finn then fired off target four minutes later but they were isolated chances with Galway comfortably keeping the champions at bay.
The points were more important to the Tribesmen and they showed some intent as the first half drifted towards the break with Sava having to beat away a powerful Jake Keegan drive.
Kenny turned to his bench in the second half with Daryl Horgan introduced just after the hour but Dundalk struggled to get any sort of rhythm going with a Darren Meenan free-kick the closest they came to breaking the deadlock.
The game exploded into life with ten minutes remaining as both sides had chances to edge in front.
The woodwork came to Galway's rescue for the second time after Horgan danced his way past a couple of challenges on the 18-yard line before sending a blistering half volley onto the post.
Play switched to the other end and Andy Boyle had to make a vital block to stop Gary Shanahan from sweeping the ball home after Sava had turned a Keegan effort away.
Dundalk - Sava; Mountney (Gannon h-t), Barrett, Boyle, Grimes; Shields, O'Donnell; Meenan, Finn (McMillan 77), Maguire (Horgan 61); Kilduff.
Galway UTD - Winn; Horgan, Walsh, Oji, Ludden; Sinnott, O'Leary; Shanahan, Connolly, Saarelma (Melody 87); Keegan.
Ref - Tomas Connolly