Galway United come from behind to stun St Patrick's Athletic in Inchicore
Throughout the winter months while he gradually stitched a squad together, Galway United manager Tommy Dunne was adamant the Tribesmen had the potential to glean a morale boasting victory like this.
Galway took only one point from 12 fixtures against Dundalk, Cork City, Shamrock Rovers, and Pat’s last year so Dunne was especially eager to improve that record.
There was some ambition in this selection as Ruairi Keating partnered Vinny Faherty in attack as Dunne opted for a classic 4-4-2 tactical set-up.
From first whistle until last, Galway were purposeful and passionate, ensuring St Patrick’s Athletic were utterly frustrated at the death.
Galway deserved this triumph as late goals from John Sullivan and substitute Enda Curran sealed this triumph.
A reasonable crowd braved the gnawing Inchicore cold, but a grim first-half provided little cheer or encouragement.
David Cawley was neat and tidy knitting the play together for the Saints, but that was one of the few positive features before the break.
Four new signings were included in the Pat’s starting XI so the locals in the 1,626 crowd were keen to examine how Liam Buckley’s team would fare.
As the first half evolved, Pat’s enjoyed some encouraging moments, with Cawley skipping about craving involvement. Another winter recruit Graham Kelly unleashed a 28th minute effort that went over the bar as the Saints pushed for an opener.
Galway’s defence, though, was being well marshalled by Paul Sinnott and Stephen Folan and the Tribesmen were content to depart at the break on terms.
Considering the trouble Galway encountered in these type of fixtures in 2015, Dunne cut a satisfied figure departing for the dressing rooms at the interval.
A minute after the restart, everything wasn’t so rosy for the visitors as Pat’s punished a laspse in concentration.
Billy Dennehy’s right-wing cross was met by a splendid Christy Fagan header and suddenly Galway, who had been so compact earlier, were trailing.
Galway rallied, with John Sullivan chalking up a decent tackle count, and parity was restored in the 58th minute.
A mazy Faherty dribble manufactured space and the former Saint confidently equalised.
Sullivan and skipper Ryan Connolly were dovetailing nicely for Galway, who fashioned a couple of opportunities.
Curran clipped a 65th minute attempt wide, while Pat’s custodian Brendan Clarke had to be alert when gathering a Sullivan effort.
Dennehy was offering glimpses of his ability and went close before Fagan was denied by a smart reflex save from Conor Winn as Pat’s poured forward in search of a winner.
Amazingly Galway pounced with seven minutes remaining as Connolly’s purposeful free-kick was headed home by Sullivan. In stoppage time Curran decorated Galway’s success with a brilliant insurance goal.