Paul Corcoran reports from Eamonn Deacy Park
A thrilling First Division encounter in Eamonn Deacy Park saw Galway United continue their run of unbeaten home games this season when they played out a 2-2 draw with UCD on Friday night.
The Tribesmen had to come from behind twice to claim their point with Ruairí Keating and Padraic Cunningham each scoring their first goals of the season for Galway.
Colm Whelan opened the scoring on the night with the striker scoring his 5th League goal of the season for UCD in the 43rd minute, with a Gary Boylan own goal adding the Student's second later on.
On the quarter hour mark Galway went close to finding the net when goalkeeper Lorcan Healy came to clear a long ball with his head that was landing just short of the box.
The goalkeeper moved the ball only as far as Shane Duggan but the midfielder flubbed his shot and sailed it wide of the open goal.
Liam Kerrigan took it upon himself to try and nudge the visitors ahead five minutes later when he failed to find a white shirt nearby outside the Galway box.
The midfielder took aim and sent a blistering shot at goal forcing a save from Conor Kearns.
Minutes later at the opposite end, a David Hurley corner was punched away by Healy in the UCD goal.
The ball fell to Ronan Manning on the left hand side of the box and the midfielder went very close to putting the ball in the net with a lovely hooked volley only for the Students to get a last ditch block to keep the sides level.
Dara Keane broke through the Galway ranks in the 23rd minute, leaving Maurice Nugent for dust in the process and allowing the Students pressurise the Tribesmen.
Keane brought the ball further before laying it off to Colm Whelan on his left inside the box. The striker had a great chance to score only for Conor McCormack’s quick reaction to get over and put in a sliding challenge to dispossess the UCD man.
Chris Horgan set up a great move for the home side just before the half hour mark when he beat his man on the left flank and sent a good low cross into the path of Ruairí Keating.
The striker flicked a close range shot goalward while under pressure drawing a wonderful reaction save from Healy.
Andy Myler’s side made the breakthrough on the stroke of half time after Harvey O’Brien played a long ball into the Galway box from deep inside his own half.
Some poor defending allowed Whelan nod the ball goalward and into the back of the net despite Kearns best efforts to leap and make the save.
It took just two minutes after the restart for the Tribesmen to draw level with halftime substitute Shane Doherty providing the key ball into the box with a powerful long throw.
Nugent flicked header on in the middle of the box but the ball floated and struck the post before spinning back across goal into the path of Keating who smashed the ball into the roof of the net.
The game was relatively quiet until the 61st minute when David Hurley fired off a great long range effort from well outside the box.
He shielded the ball well before seeing his opportunity and his powerful effort eluded the clutches of Healy with the goalkeeper only able to bat the ball away from goal.
UCD took the lead again in the 71st minute from a period of extended pressure by the Students.
Liam Kerrigan played a low cross in from a corner-kick and it beat everyone except Gary Boylan with the ball smacking the defender’s chest and squeaking under the diving Kearns for his second own goal of the season.
Galway nearly drew level again just minutes later when Keating won the ball from O’Brien on the left flank before taking the ball past Sam Todd and rifling a shot at goal and drawing a quick save from Healy.
John Caulfield’s side were bombarding the UCD box with long throws for the whole second half and they got another reward in the 87th minute with the delivery from substitute Killian Brouder.
Fellow substitute Padraic Cunningham rose highest to meet the ball and guide it into the back of the net to extend Galway’s unbeaten run at home to three games.
Galway United: Conor Kearns; Gary Boylan (Wilson Waweru 83), Christopher Horgan (Killian Brouder 83), Ruairi Keating, Maurice Nugent, Stephen Walsh; Shane Duggan, David Hurley (Padraic Cunningham 83), Ronan Manning (Colin Kelly 66), Conor McCormack; Mikie Rowe (Shane Doherty 46).
Subs not used: Stephen Christopher, Kevin Horgan, Mikey Place, Carlton Ubaezuonu.
Booked: Shane Duggan (50), Ruairi Keating (67), Maurice Nugent (84).
UCD: Lorcan Healy; Evan Weir, Sam Todd (c), Luke Boore (Ciaran Behan 43); Harvey O'Brien, Liam Kerrigan (Donal Higgins 90), Dara Keane, Eoin Farrell, Mark Dignam, Sean Brennan (Adam Verdon 90); Colm Whelan.
Subs not used: Carl Williams, Michael McHugh, Adam Lennon, Danu Kinsella Bishop, Adam Farrell, Isaac Akinsete.
Booked: Colm Whelan (53) Liam Kerrigan (90).
Referee: Jason Mannix
ExtraTime.com Player of the Match: Ruairí Keating (Galway United)