Cork City left a windswept Eamonn Deacy Park with maximum points after the away side made the most of some slack United defending from set pieces.
John Caulfield’s side scored all 3 of their goals from set piece situations, similar to Galway United’s loss at Turners Cross earlier in the season.
The Leesiders threatened early on when John Kavanagh overlapped down the right flank before delivering a teasing cross to the near post, Sam Oji saw his attempted clearance smack off his own post.
It wasn’t long before City head the front, however, Billy Dennehy curled an in-swinging free kick and experienced centre-half Dan Murray rose highest in the box, flicking the ball into the far corner past Connor Gleeson.
Billy Dennehy then tried his luck from range, the winger gathered possession from 25 yards out before letting fly but his powerful effort was dragged wide of the post.
Cork were pressing for a second goal and it almost arrived when John Kavanagh crossed to the back post but Billy Dennehy’s couldn’t keep his diving header down.
The away sides pressure did pay off on the stroke of half time when Billy Dennehy smashed a low free kick at the near post and the ball deflected off Colm Horgan and rolled into the net.
After a sloppy first half performance, United hit back in phenomenal fashion just one minute into the second half. Jason Molloy nut-megged a Cork defender before rifling an unstoppable effort into the top corner past Mark McNulty.
United were in the ascendancy and Jake Keegan squared pass was well cut out by Cork City goalkeeper Mark McNulty when United players were waiting to apply the finishing touch.
Cork City captain Colin Healy saw his corner kick headed away from goal, the away side recycled possession and Healy was teed up once again, this time, the midfielder elected for a first-time shot at the near post but Gleeson got a strong hand to the ball to save.
On the hour mark, Marc Ludden raided forward from left-back before setting up Enda Curran, who shimmied the ball onto his left foot before hooking it well over the crossbar on his weaker foot.
Former United striker Karl Sheppard came on as a substitute for the visitors and he was inches away from extending Cork City’s lead but he blasted over from close range.
Jake Keegan had a huge chance to draw the sides level in the 64th minute, Jason Molloy turned provider, cutting inside and floating a cross into the City box, Keegan timed his run perfectly but he headed straight at McNulty.
City’s dynamic winger Billy Dennehy almost grabbed a second goal of the evening when his low drive crashed off the foot of the post after he followed up on a free-kick that rebounded off the wall.
Overlapping full-backs was a theme of the game and Marc Ludden almost poached an unlikely leveller when his cross-cum-shot landed on the roof of the net.
Disappointingly, Cork added a third goal with just under 10 minutes to go when United were chasing the game. Colin Healy’s in-swinging corner wasn’t dealt with and Cork City midfielder Garry Buckley was the quickest to react, powering the ball into the roof of the net.
United substitute Padraic Cunningham tried to narrow the deficit moments from time when he went on a mazy run before unleashing a goalbound effort that drew a top save from Mark McNulty.
Galway United (4-4-2): Gleeson; Horgan, Oji, Walsh, Ludden; Shanahan, O’Leary, Connolly ©, Molloy; Keegan, Curran (Cunningham 82)
Unused substitutes: Winn, Sinnott, Barry, Byrne, Garcia, Raftery
Goalscorers: Molloy 46
Booked: Walsh 45, Molloy 74, O’Leary 87
Cork City (4-2-3-1): McNulty; Kavanagh, Murray, D. Dennehy, O’Connor; Miller (Gaynor 83), Healy ©; Kearney (Sheppard 59), Buckley, B. Dennehy; O’Sullivan (McSweeney 79)
Unused substitutes: Smith (GK), Holohan, O’Flynn, Morrissey
Goalscorers: Murray 12, B. Dennehy 45, Buckley 81
Booked: Healy 74
Referee: David McKeon
Official attendance: 1,301