Galway United made it four wins in as many games against St Patrick's Athletic this season at Terryland Park on Friday night.
Goals either side of the break from Seamus Conneely (23) and John Russell (50) gave Galway a two goal cushion, but Pat's fought back through Jason Gavin when he converted Alan Cawley's cross with 20 minutes left.
Late on Declan O'Brien missed a chance to equalise as Galway held on for a crucial win.
Earlier in the day, Jeff Kenna left his role with the Saints, who were managed by Maurice O'Driscoll for the game.
With both teams suffering in recent weeks, there was no disguising the importance of this contest.
Galway, who had only enjoyed one success in their previous five matches, were anxious to edge further away from the relegation zone, while Pat's required a positive result too.
Inconsistent throughout the campaign, Pat's had only registered six points out of a possible 21, meaning they hit the west aware of how what a crucial contest they faced.
Galway manager Ian Foster, eager to open to make a bold start, opted for an interesting approach with Derek O'Brien playing behind front duo Vinny Faherty and Aaron Greene.
Pat's were competitive and, 14 minutes in, Gary Dempsey clipped a ball over the top which found Mark Leech and his right footed effort was saved by Barry Ryan.
But Galway were threatening at the opposite end, and a John Russell pass was gathered by Alan Murphy, who drilled wide from the edge of the area.
That little cameo gave Galway hope and the locals struck for the lead goal in the 23rd minute as a Seamus Conneely shot took a deflection before evading Gary Rogers.
Galway should have extended their lead in the 35th minute, but Garry Breen headed Alan Murphy's corner wide.
The Tribesmen were ruling the contest now and bagged a second goal five minutes after the restart when Russell slammed home from close range.
O'Brien's header was cleared off the line by Stephen Maher, but
Russell was loitering in the area and he swept the loose ball into the empty net.
Cawley was summoned from the bench and announced his arrival with a 70th minute assist for Jason Gavin, who poked Pat's back into the game with a prodded finish at the back stick.
The closing stages were tough for Galway, who ploughed on defiantly to eke out a smashing result.