The visitors struggled to break down Galway in the opening half but Pete Mahon’s half-time talk worked a treat as the Saints were a much more fluid side after the break.
The opener came in the 49th minute when United centre-back Steve Feeney — one of six new signings making his United debut — failed to deal with a harmless punt forward, allowing Darryl Kavanagh to nip in and win possession.
The former Waterford United man showed good strength to hold off both Feeney and Shaun Maher to slip the ball to Anto Murphy, and he blasted an unstoppable shot past Gary Fleming.
Mahon’s side doubled their lead two minutes later. Murphy’s long throw into the United penalty area was flicked on by Evan McMillan for his unmarked brother, David, who tapped in at the back post from close range.
They grabbed the third goal their dominance deserved in the final minute of the three added on when Derek Pender made ground down the right and sent in a cross which deceived Fleming and went in off the far post.
The best chance of the first half fell to the visitors five minutes before the break when Shaun Maher – who had an impressive debut – left a back-pass woefully short, allowing Kavanagh to steal in. The striker advanced unimpeded before shooting from the edge of the box, but Fleming got down to save, and Feeney blocked the rebound as Kavanagh pounced.
The United side featured just three players who were at the club last season, but despite only being cobbled together in the past fortnight, the home side matched their opponents in many departments and had a couple of sights of goal themselves.
Feeney’s back-post header from a Moore cross didn’t have sufficient power to worry Gary Rogers in the 25th minute, while the former United keeper comfortably collected Sean Kelly’s long-range free in the 33rd minute.
Enda Curran also flashed a shot just wide of Rogers’ near post seconds after coming on for the injured Keane, while at the other end Pat’s failed to take advantage of Fleming’s apparent unease under the high ball, despite the keeper dropping a couple of corners in the six-yard box.
The closest United came to scoring was 10 minutes from time when Rogers brilliantly tipped away Gary Curran’s 25-yard volley.
GALWAY UNITED: Fleming; Shaun Kelly, Maher, Feeney, Walsh; Ryan (G Kelly 82), Curran, Sean Kelly, Moore; Yoffe (Cash 63), Keane (Curran 43).
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Rogers; Pender, E McMillan, Kenna, Shorthall (Bermingham 70); Murphy (Daly 70), Mulcahy, McFaul, Doyle (Keegan 89); D McMillan, Kavanagh.
Referee: Padraig Sutton (Clare).