Gaynor magic thwarts Galway
Two managers operating against their former employers meant a curious crowd filed into Terryland Park to witness an encounter that wasn't short on bite.
Despite all the tension it was a flash of inspiration from Ross Gaynor that divided the teams.
Ian Foster's penchant for switching formations continued, and the 4-3-3 set up certainly disturbed Galway in the early exchanges.
Tom Miller sat in the centre of the park and was careful with his distribution, while Stephen Maher and JJ Melligan buzzed about craving involvement.
In the 20th minute Maher connected with a Gaynor cross, but his header lacked conviction, and Galway survived.
Then Sean Connor's side began to assert themselves. A 36th-minute goalmouth scramble saw the ball spill for James Creaney, who blazed over from close range.
Dundalk should have taken the lead on 43 minutes when Faz Kuduzovic's header released the busy Melligan, who failed to convert.
Barry Ryan hauled Neale Fenn down in the area in the third quarter, and referee Padraig Sutton pointed to the spot. Ryan redeemed himself with a splendid save to keep Galway on terms.
Gaynor was thwarted by the woodwork moments later, but the Lilywhites persistence paid off in the 61st minute.
Maher put Gaynor clear and he nudged the visitors ahead from an acute angle.
Five minutes from time Galway substitute Cian McBrien forced Peter Cherrie to make a fingertip save as Dundalk closed the deal.
Galway United -- Barry Ryan; Conneely, Synott, McKenzie, Meynell; Bobby Ryan (King, 76), Foley, Curran (McBrien, 65), Creaney (O'Brien, 73); Flood, Sheppard.
Dundalk -- Cherrie; Kelly, G Breen, Burns, Hatswell; Miller, Melligan, Maher; Kutuzov (McGuigan, 88), Fenn (Murphy, 81), Gaynor.
Ref -- P Sutton (Clare).