Stephen Rice and Dan Murray scored their first goals of the season as Shamrock Rovers worked hard for the three points at Tallaght Stadium, a result that moved them back up to third in the table.

It nonetheless brought a happy ending to a difficult week for the club following the crowd trouble towards the end of their defeat at Dundalk on Monday night.

In a message from their board in the programme, Rovers were at pains to point out that they are doing everything in their power to deal with the people who caused the riotous scenes at Oriel Park, stressing that following viewings of video footage from the game the club is in a position to identify and punish the 10 to 15 people involved.

Not surprisingly, given his side’s abject display on Monday, Rovers’ manager Michael O’Neill rang the changes to his side, four in total, three of which were unforced.

One of those changes, central defender Craig Sives, might have put the frustration of a month’s absence due to injury behind him with the first chance on goal after eleven minutes. The set-piece routine didn’t quite come off, though, as he planted his header from a Paddy Kavanagh free-kick wide.

Kavanagh was seeing a good deal of the ball on the right and he picked out Gary Twigg with a low cross. The striker had perhaps too much time, as he controlled the ball, teed it up only to drive off target from just outside the box.

A dour game was struggling to come to life save for Kavanagh’s honest endeavour on the right. Undoubtedly Rovers’ most incisive player in the first half, Kavanagh skipped away onto Robert Bayly’s pass on 44 minutes.

The low cross to the far post had the visitors’ defence panicked until Bobby Ryan got back to take the ball off the toe of the inrushing Billy Dennehy.

Perhaps with some choice words ringing in their ears from half-time, Rovers had a much improved impetus about them on the resumption and were a goal up inside four minutes.

Dennehy swept over a superb corner from the right and midfielder Rice flung himself at the ball to score with a diving header.

But Galway responded and enjoyed their best spell, wasting two decent opening either side of the hour mark.

Gary Curran first volleyed wide form substitute Ciaran Foley’s lay-off before Cian McBrien should have done better than volley past a post after a move involving Foley, Anto Flood and Karl Sheppard.

But poor defending from another Dennehy corner effectively sealed Rovers’ win on 70 minutes as captain Murray was unchallenged to head home at the back post.

Thomas Stewart should have made it 3-0 two minutes later but blazed over from another Dennehy delivery from the other flank.

Flood wasted an opportunity to get Galway back into the game on 88 minutes when rifling his penalty kick off Alan Mannus’ crossbar after Rice had pushed Jamie McKenzie over in the area.

Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; Flynn, Sives, Murray, Murphy; Kavanagh, Rice, Bayly (Bradley, 68 mins.), Dennehy (O‘Connor, 80 mins.); Twigg, Stewart (Baker, 72 mins.).

Galway United: Barry Ryan; Heary (King, 76 mins.), Synnott, McKenzie, Meynell; Bobby Ryan, McBrien, Curran, Creaney (Foley, 50 mins.); Flood, Sheppard (Keane, 81 mins.).
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).

Attendance: 3,417