The Louth derby became the demolition derby as Dundalk blew neighbouring Drogheda United away to roar their way back to the top of the Airtricity League table with a 7-0 whitewash.

Stephen Kenny's men took a one goal lead into the half-time break thanks to Sean Gannon before turning on the afterburners in the second-half by adding six more without reply.

The result leaves the Lilywhites sitting pretty at the summit, two points ahead of Cork City and Shamrock Rovers. It also gives Dundalk's fans the local bragging rites again following the 4-1 loss to the Drogs on the opening night of the season.

The hosts started with intent and Drogheda United goalkeeper David Ryan was called into action after just 25 seconds. A quick burst of passing between Darren Meenan and Daryl Horgan ended with the latter seeing his curling effort palmed away.

Ryan was almost left red faced soon after. Richie Towell's attempted pass for Patrick Hoban was cut out by Paul Andrews. Kurtis Byrne met the clearance with an instinctive first-time effort from 30-yards but his effort went just wide with the goalkeeper stranded.

The visitors lacked imagination going forward and it wasn't until the 28th minute that they had some semblance of an opportunity. Ciaran McGuigan found space 25-yards from goal but he shanked his effort well over the top.

Dundalk's pressure eventually told a minute later as both of their full-backs combined in devastating fashion.

Dane Massey's slaloming run on the left took him into the Drogs penalty and away from Ryan. His cut-back to the near post was turned home by Sean Gannon for the youngster's first competitive goal at Oriel Park.

Dundalk are renowned as a second-half team and so it proved yet again after the interval.

Things could have been so different had Eric Foley's in-swinging free-kick from the left crept into the net instead of kissing the post and going behind in the 48th minute.

That proved to be as close as Drogheda came as the home side quickly put the game to bed.

Another slick piece of football resulted in goal number two after 51 minutes. Meenan's cut-back found Hoban on the penalty spot. His lay-off was hammered goalwards by Byrne and when Ryan could only parry, Horgan was on hand to sweep home.

To make matters worse for Drogheda, Foley was sent-off in the aftermath for dissent.

The wheels completely fell off for Drogheda five minutes later. Chris Shields' lofted pass into box led to a mix-up in communication with substitute Paul Crowley heading the ball over the hapless Ryan and into his own net.

Two goals in the space of two minutes took the score to 5-0.

Andy Boyle stooped to head home at the far post in the 72nd minute before a driving run by Gannon was finished off in emphatic style by substitute David McMillan.

Richie Towell got in on the act with 12 minutes to play, turning home another devilish cross from Meenan before Keith Ward, making his league return after almost 12 months out, supplied a delicious pass for McMillan to hit the magnificent seventh late on.

Dundalk: Cherrie; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Massey; Towell, Shields; Meenan, Byrne (Ward 79), Horgan (Griffin 73); Hoban (McMillan 64).

Drogheda United: Ryan; Daly, Andrews, McNally, Grimes; Holohan, Foley, McGuigan, Walshe (Crowley 57); O'Brien (O'Connor 76), O'Neill (Hughes 73).

Referee: Tomas Connolly.

Attendance: 2383.