Galway United 2-0 Shelbourne

Galway FC stayed calm under pressure to record a critical SSE Airtricity League first leg promotion play/off success at Eamonn Deacy Park.

Ryan Connolly bagged an 18th minute penalty following a Nathan Murphy foul on Gary Shanahan to edge Galway ahead.

Dylan Connolly and Conor Murphy missed chances to draw Shels level, but Galway an organised Galway outfit defended in resolute fashion.

Six minutes from time Galway struck for a second goal when Connolly turned provider for Shanahan to score.

With the stakes so high both teams were initially keen to keep it safe and solid initially despite the swirling wind and rain.

Having triumphed twice at the Corribside venue already this year Shelbourne hit the west confident of making an impact.

Galway, though, had stitched a seven match unbeaten run together meaning they carried hope and expectation into this important fixture.

With Alex Byrne, Paul Sinnott, and Ryan Connolly craving involvement early on Galway were bright and busy.

An inviting 10th minute free kick from Connolly located Stephen Walsh, who headed wide under pressure in a packed area.

But the visitors' missed an opportunity themselves in the 12th minute when Philly Hand curled a free kick wide following a Marc Ludden foul on veteran Gary Dempsey.

In the 18th minute a Shels defensive mix up culminated with Nathan Murphy fouling Galway's Gary Shanahan.

There was a drop of controversy as Murphy was only yellow carded, but most importantly Connolly's resultant spot-kick was precise.

With Shanahan and Ryan Manning industrious out wide Galway continued to probe as Jake Keegan and Connolly came close to adding a second goal.

On the stroke of half-time Galway custodian Connor Gleeson made an excellent save to deny Republic of Ireland under 21 international Dylan Connolly.

Eight minutes after the restart Conor Murphy fizzed an attempt inches wide as Shels sought to grab an equaliser.

With Byrne outstanding in the centre of the park Galway were defiant pouncing for a second with six minutes remaining.

Connolly's left wing cross was gleefully swept home by Shanahan and Galway will bring a two goal cushion to Tolka Park next Friday.

Galway FC: Connor Gleeson; Colm Horgan, Paddy Barrett, Stephen Walsh, Marc Ludden; Alex Byrne, Paul Sinnott, Ryan Connolly; Gary Shanahan, Jake Keegan (Vinny Faherty, 82), Ryan Manning.

Subs not used: Ger Hanley, Martin Conneely, Jason Molloy, Enda Curran, Padraic Cunningham, Robbie Egan

Shelbourne: Nathan Murphy; Luke Gallagher, Adam O’Connor, Lee Desmond, Philly Hand; Gary Dempsey, Willo McDonagh, Jake Donnelly (Lee Duffy, 86); Dylan Connolly, Conor Murphy, Jordan Keegan (Sean Russell, 67).

Subs not used: Charlie Treacy, Gareth Coughlan, Anthony Hewitt, Alan O’Sullivan, Dylan McGlade.

Referee: Ray Matthews (Westmeath).