Three proved to be the magic number for Cork City after they ran out easy winners by that margin in their Airtricity League Premier Division match against a poor Dundalk side in front of 2,782 fans at Turner's Cross.
The Leesiders’ hunt for fifth place continues after acrobatic first half goals from Gearóid Morrissey and Vinny Sullivan and another from Shane Duggan after 50 minutes.
Cork failed to add to their tally thereafter in what was a one-sided affair.
The home side's midfield trio of Colin Healy, Shane Duggan and Gearóid Morrissey controlled affairs and allowed City to dominate possession.
City started in a 4-3-3 formation, with Ian Turner and Daryl Horgan hugging the touchlines early on, while Dundalk got little joy throughout from their counter-attack orientated 4-4-2, with their midfield utterly dominated.
Cork took the lead after 23 minutes after one of a succession of dangerous crosses from the left was thumped home by Gearóid Morrissey. A cross from Daryl Horgan was only half cleared to the edge of the area and the midfielder found the corner of the net to put the home side one up.
With Colin Healy starting to dominate possession at the base of a midfield triangle, the flow of the first half was all in one direction.
Dundalk utterly failed to get to grips with City's passing carousel in midfield and their full-backs were consistently exposed by City's wingers. City's fluid midfield trio got great joy in building triangles up the pitch before releasing wide men.
Centre-forward Vinny Sullivan plundered a second, when he acrobatically volleyed home after 28 minutes. His 11th league goal of the season was a curious affair, mixing the sublime and the ridiculous. A Daryl Horgan cross was headed back across the box by Ian Turner, Sullivan kicked it against his own head but then produced a lovely 180 degree turn to power it to the 'keeper's bottom left.
Early in the second half it was three for City. Gearóid Morrissey released Shane Duggan on the left and when a Dundalk defender slipped, his shot across goal found the back of the net, with 'keeper Peter Cherrie helpless.
Dundalk showed fortitude to prevent any further goals but that was partially down to City missing a succession of good chances. This was not a great preparation for a Dundalk side gearing up for a play-off.
Cork City: Mark McNulty, Ian Turner (Stephen Kenny 62), Danny Murphy, Gavin Kavanagh, Gearóid Morrissey, Colin Healy, Shane Duggan, Vinny Sullivan (Davin O'Neill 62), John Dunleavy, Kevin Murray, Daryl Horgan (Danny Morrissey 77').
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie, Paul Whelan, Chris Shields, Mark Griffin, Paul Walsh (Robbie Gaul 60'), Stephen McDonnell (Liam Burns 45'), Stephen Maher, Nathan Murphy (Barry Conlon 72'), Conor McDonnell, Peter Thomas, William Woods.
Referee: P Sutton