St Patrick’s Athletic put their recent poor form well behind them as they eased past Galway Utd as both sides finished the game with ten men at Eamonn Deacy Park on Tuesday evening.
The visitors were aided by some controversial refereeing decisions as Padraig Sutton was once again in the spotlight as he dismissed the home side’s John Sullivan five minutes before the break having issued the midfielder with two yellows cards.
Pat’s took full advantage of their numerical superiority as they registered scores either side of the break before themselves being reduced to ten men as Graham Kelly saw red in a game that didn’t see a single bad challenge.
Galway manager Tommy Dunne made four changes to his side following successive defeats to Limerick and Dundalk as Swedish signing Armin Aganovic made his home debut, while Eric Foley also made a first league start and winger Kevin Devaney returned from injury.
Pat’s started brightly as they put the home side under some early pressure with Ian Bermingham and Mark Timlin both going close as the home side survived. Sullivan picked up his first booking in the 19th minute when he looked to have won a good tackle in midfield but referee Sutton awarded a free-kick to Pat’s and issued a yellow much to the home supports disapproval.
Galway then came into the game more and had an encouraging spell with Vinny Faherty drawing a good save from Brendan Clarke and Armin Aganovic heading over Gary Shanahan’s right wing cross. Pat’s Sean Hoare also producing an excellent recovery to deny Ruairi Keating who was clean through after showing the defence a clean pair of heels.
The game swung in Pat’s favour five minutes from the interval as Galway’s Sullivan was sent for an early shower after a very debatable second yellow as he clashed with Shane McEleney who was also booked. Things got worse for Galway within four minutes as the unmarked Sean Hoare headed in from a corner to give Liam Buckley’s charges a first half lead.
Just after the break Referee Sutton awarded Pat’s a free-kick which was hotly disputed by Galway and Billy Dennehy stepped up and fired past Conor Winn at his near post for 2-0 on 51 minutes.
Matters were level player numbers wise three minutes later as Sutton evened things up giving Pat’s Graham Kelly his marching orders following a foul on Marc Ludden. Now ten a side, Tommy Dunne hauled defender Stephen Walsh off and replaced him with striker Enda Curran.
The substitute almost pulled a goal back immediately as he drew an excellent save from Brendan Clarke, who pushed Curran's left footed shot away for a corner, while at the other end Winn pushed away a stinging Billy Dennehy drive.
Pat’s added a third goal with just three minutes remaining as Ian Bermingham provided the assist for substitute Conan Byrne to finish at the back post as the visitors moved above their hosts into fifth in the league table and end a run of three successive league defeats.
Galway United: Conor Winn; Colm Horgan, Armin Aganovic, Stephen Walsh (Enda Curran, 63), Marc Ludden; Gary Shanahan, John Sullivan, Eric Foley, Kevin Devaney (Conor Melody, 79); Ruairi Keating (Kilian Cantwell, 46), Vinny Faherty.
Subs not used: Kevin Horgan (GK), Paul Sinnott, Jesse Devers, Alex Byrne.
Booked: John Sullivan (19).
Red Cards: John Sullivan (40).
St Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O'Brien, Darren Dennehy, Sean Hoare, Ian Bermingham; David Cawley, Graham Kelly; Mark Timlin (Conan Byrne, 67), Shane McEleneney (Sam Verdon, 58), Billy Dennehy; Jamie McGrath.
Subs not used: Pat Jennings (GK), Michael Barker, Dinny Corcoran, Lee Desmond, Keith Treacy.
Booked: Graham Kelly (25), Shane McEleney (41), Jamie McGrath (76).
Red Cards: Graham Kelly (54)
Referee: Padraigh Sutton
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: David Cawley (St Patrick’s Athletic)