Sullivan header sparks Hoops revival
Galway United 0 Shamrock Rovers 1
The opening three weeks of the season were stuffed with woe for Shamrock Rovers, but there was evidence of a Hoops revival at Terryland Park last night.
Ultimately, Pat Sullivan's seventh-minute goal separated the teams on the banks of the Corrib, but it was the character Rovers demonstrated during an exacting second half that will have encouraged Michael O'Neill.
Galway United battled until the death, but Rovers held on for a win that offers an injection of confidence and momentum.
Two successive Tallaght Stadium defeats ensured O'Neill's charges required a result in the west, and there was a bite and bark to the visitors' play early on which frightened a youthful Galway outfit.
Galway were ailing in the first quarter as Rovers' set-pieces caused problems for the locals, who fell behind in the seventh minute.
Seanie O'Connor, providing clever touches throughout, rifled a free-kick into a densely populated area and Sullivan headed the ball past Barry Ryan to put the Hoops ahead.
Galway ought to have levelled on the half-hour mark, but Cian McBrien was unable to convert following a rare Dan Murray error.
From there until the break it was all hustle and bustle, with Rovers going close as Ryan had to be alert to deny Robbie Bayly in the 43rd minute.
After the restart there was no shortage of passion either, as both teams thundered into the tackles. Despite the feisty nature of the contest chances were being created, and Alan Mannus made a smashing stop to thwart Galway in the 57th minute.
Seamus Conneely, Bobby Ryan and Stephen O'Donnell all occupied roles in the build-up as McBrien eventually unleashed an attempt which Mannus turned away for a corner.
At the opposite end, Barry Ryan needed to use his guile to palm away a stinging O'Connor free-kick on 64.
Galway pressed for a goal, but Rovers held on for their first league success of 2010.
Galway United -- Barry Ryan; Conneely, Heary (Synott 46), McKenzie, Meynell; Bobby Ryan (King 81), Foley (Curran 65), McBrien, O'Donnell, O'Brien; Sheppard.
Shamrock Rovers -- Mannus; Sullivan (Price 53), Murray, Sives, Stevens; O'Connor, Rice, Bayly, Dennehy; Barrett (Cahill 90), Kavanagh (Cowan 81).
REF -- D Hancock (Dublin).