Galway United had the toughest task going into the last round of fixtures in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division as they knew that in order for them to avoid joining Finn Harps and Drogheda United in being relegated they had to beat Dundalk and hope that one of either Sligo Rovers or St. Patrick’s Athletic lost their game against Drogheda and Derry City respectively. In the end despite the best efforts of their players every result went against them. They were beaten 4-3 by Dundalk in a thriller of a game in Eamon Deacy Park. Goals from Niclas Vemmelund, Jamie McGrath and Patrick McEleney had Dundalk 3-1 up at half-time. Stephen Folan scored for Galway. In the second half Galway kept plugging away and goals from Rory Hale and Ronan Murray saw them draw level but Michael Duffy scored a winner for Dundalk on the stroke of full time. St. Patrick’s drew 1-1 away to Derry with Killian Brennan giving them the lead and Rory Patterson responding for the home side who finish 4th. Sligo Rovers finished 4th from bottom as they played out an edgy goal-less draw with Drogheda in United Park. A special word for the 500 Rovers supporters who traveled up for the game, the Rovers fans responded brilliantly to their club being in a relegation battle as they got behind the team and attendances increased and over €35,000 raised to help the club with its day to day expenses. Manager Gerard Lyttle deserves great credit for turning things around since he was appointed in April and he has already begun planning for next season as the club announced that eight of this season’s squad have signed deals for next season.
For Galway manager Shane Keegan he suffers the ignominy of having led two different clubs to successive relegation from the Premier Division as he was in charge of Wexford Youths last year. They will now have to regroup and try and retain most of their squad as they look to bounce back straightaway. Shamrock Rovers finished 3rd in the league after they beat Limerick FC 2-1 in the Tallaght Stadium. Brandon Miele and Ronan Finn scored their goals with Colm Walsh O’Loghlen on the mark for Limerick. Bohemian FC secured sixth place with a 3-1 home win against Finn Harps in Dalymount Park. Philip Gannon, Ismahil Akinade and Jamie Hamilton got their goals with Harps goal being an o.g. from Ian Morris. A goal from Conor McCormack was enough to give the champions Cork City a 1-0 win against Bray Wanderers in Turner’s Cross as they lifted the trophy in front of a full house. They will now look to complete the double as the curtain comes down on the season this coming Sunday with the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup Final where they face Dundalk. The 2017 season begun with a meeting of these two sides in the President’s Cup so it is only fitting that it ends with a clash of the top two sides in the country. For the record I think Dundalk will win!