Sheppard effort guides Galway closer to safety
KARL SHEPPARD bagged his sixth goal of the season as he fired Galway United eight points clear of the relegation zone following a tight encounter at UCD last night.
Keith Ward had a long-range strike saved at the second attempt by Barry Ryan in the second minute, then the Galway 'keeper denied Evan McMillan from a Ward corner in the ninth minute.
UCD 'keeper Ger Barron made an important stop to keep out a Stephen O'Donnell attempt in the 17th minute after good work by Sheppard. The home side then had a sustained period of pressure that failed to produce a breakthrough.
Ward burst through in the 24th minute only to see his poked effort parried by Ryan and top scorer Ciaran Kilduff was just off target with a couple of decent opportunities.
Ryan was at his best to save from Kilduff in the 36th minute and McMillan headed just over from the resulting corner.
Sheppard might have punished UCD for wasting those chances, but he was denied by Barron six minutes before the break after good work by Ciaran Foley.
The deadlock was broken in the 48th minute when Sheppard finished from eight yards out after connecting with Derek O'Brien's driven cross from the left.
United were denied a second goal in a pin-ball alley moment in the 79th minute that saw substitute Tom King first denied by Barron, then Sheppard, and then he had his second attempt blocked.
UCD -- Barron; Matthews, E McMillan, Boyle, Nangle, O'Connor, Ward, Creevy (Corry 58), Mulhall, Kilduff, Wilson.
GALWAY UTD -- Ryan; Conneely, Sinnott, MacKensie, Meynell, Curran, O'Donnell, Foley, O'Brien, Walsh (King 64), Sheppard.
Ref -- R Rogers (Dublin).