Champions St Patrick’s Athletic got back to winning ways in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division by putting on a sublime display to secure an impressive 5-2 victory against a disappointing Derry City at Richmond Park.
A Christy Fagan hat-trick was sandwiched in between goals from Conan Byrne and Sean Hoare.
It saw St Pat’s make their fantastic play count on the scoreboard, while Michael Duffy and Rory Patterson netted consolation goals for the visitors.
It leaves City's hopes of European qualification through the league this season extremely unlikely, while Pat's remain six points behind Dundalk.
The Richmond Park men started their flowing football right from the off and they completely blitzed the visitors.
Liam Buckley’s outfit took the lead on 13 minutes through Fagan when the striker played a neat one-two with Christopher Forrester before drilling the ball low past City keeper Gerard Doherty.
Fagan doubled the home side’s advantage six minutes later thanks to some super closing down by Keith Fahey.
The Republic of Ireland international easily robbed possession from Michael Duffy, before running clear of the Derry defence and laying the ball to Fagan who turned the ball home at the second attempt after Ryan McBride tried to clear off the line.
The Saints' attacking threat continued on 21 minutes as they added a third.
Killian Brennan’s right wing in-swinging corner found an unmarked Conan Byrne and he made no mistake heading home past Doherty.
A shell-shocked City went close to pulling one back but Barry McNamee’s close range shot was parried away by St Pat’s net-minder Brendan Clarke.
The half-time team-talk didn’t seem to do the trick for Peter Hutton’s team as the Inchicore side added a fourth early in second-half when another Brennan delivery from the right found young centre-back Sean Hoare and he out-jumped Ryan McBride to head home.
To Derry’s credit they pulled one back just before the hour mark when Michael Duffy made no mistake drilling the ball home from the edge of the box clipping the post on it’s way past Clarke.
Fagan completed his hat-trick on 72 minutes after a terrible goalkeeping error by Doherty.
As the goalkeeper tried to pass the ball back to Aaron Barry, the Saints front man nipped in and won possession before turning the ball home.
In the closing stages a teasing run by Barry McNamee ended with his cut-back finding Patterson and he made no mistake side footing home from close range.
It was the final goal in an entertaining match in which Pat's punished Derry for a sloppy and lethargic showing.
Meanwhile, defender Roddy Collins has been released by the club to make it three players departing the Brandywell after Enda Curran and Mark Stewart were also let go by boss Peter Hutton this week.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Clarke, O’Brien, Hoare, Browne, Bermingham; Brennan, Fahey, Chambers (McCormick 78); Byrne, Fagan (Quigley 74), Forrester (Lynch 74).
Derry City: Doherty, S McEleney, McBride, Barry, Jarvis; Ventre (McGovern 64), Molloy, B McNamee; P McEleney (Foy 90), Patterson (Boyle 80), Duffy.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Dublin).