Shamrock Rovers returned to winning ways as they recorded an emphatic 7-0 win over bottom-placed Dundalk in their Airtricity League Premier Division encounter at Tallaght Stadium.
First-half goals arrived through Ronan Finn, Ken Oman and Ciaran Kilduff as the visitors struggled to contain a rampant home side.
Two Gary McCabe penalty kicks after the break increased the Hoops’ advantage and a brace of goals from Gary Twigg was a fitting conclusion to a triumphant display by Hoops.
Brian Laws’ team started brightly with Conor Powell a lively threat down their left flank and in the fifth minute his glorious cross was swept narrowly wide by the inrushing Kilduff from ten yards.
Within five minutes, McCabe was released down the inside-right channel but instead of crossing for either Kilduff or Twigg, his low shot was easily repelled by Peter Cherrie in the Dundalk goal.
There was little to be seen from Dundalk in terms of an attacking threat although Michael Rafter will have been disappointed to see his 20-yard snapshot sail harmlessly over Oscar Jansson’s crossbar after Stephen Rice had failed to deal adequately with a Mountney delivery.
With the early fizzle of Rovers’ play slowly evaporating, the contest was brought to life in the 27th minute as Finn unleashed a superb cross-shot from 30 yards beyond the despairing dive of Cherrie as the visitors failed to clear Killian Brennan’s corner-kick with any great conviction.
Three minutes later, another Brennan set-piece saw substitute Ken Oman arrive unmarked at the far post to bundle home from four yards as Dundalk’s previous defensive discipline was undermined by increasing sloppiness.
Their failure to maintain possession for any decent period of play was continuing to hurt them and in first-half injury time, McCabe availed of further confusion to release Finn, whose low cross was emphatically finished by Kilduff from close range.
If Dundalk were to improve upon the restart, they would need to tighten up defensively but the opposite occurred in the 58th minute as Mountney handled under minimal pressure from Twigg, with McCabe confidently sending Cherrie the wrong way.
Within six minutes, Kilduff was taken down by Paul Whelan and with the crowd baying for Twigg to step up, McCabe ignored their pleas and drove another smart strike, this time to the right-hand corner.
Twigg did not have to wait too long for his chance to arrive however as another defensive mishap, this time involving substitute Stephen McDonnell in the 70th minute, allowed the Scotsman to race through unopposed with his far from clinical strike bundling in off Cherrie’s left-hand upright.
His 18th league goal of the current campaign arrived within ninety seconds as Finn picked his run to perfection and this time the finish was far more emphatic, with a rising drive from ten yards giving the horribly exposed Cherrie no chance.
Shamrock Rovers: Jansson; Gannon, Sives (Greene, 68), Hawkins (Oman, 22), Powell; McCabe (Dennehy, 82), Rice, Finn, Brennan; Kilduff, Twigg.
Dundalk: Cherrie; Mountney, Whelan, Burns, Osbourne; Walsh, O’Brien (Conlon, 65), Shields, Maher, Murphy (McDonnell, 64); Rafter (McKenna, 79).
Referee: D Hancock (Dublin)