Derry City got a much needed 4-0 win over Airtricity League Premier Division strugglers Dundalk in front of a disappointing crowd at the Brandywell.

A convincing scoreline saw Derry cruise to victory and give them a morale boost going into Sunday's all-important FAI Ford Cup semi-final clash with Shelbourne.

Goals from David McDaid, Patrick McEleney, Ryan Curran and Dermot McCaffrey along with a clean-sheet will also have pleased boss Declan Devine.

The Brandywell men nearly broke the deadlock on four minutes when Dermot McCaffrey's cross-cum-shot from long range found David McDaid, but his glancing flick was superbly kept out by the alert Dundalk keeper Peter Cherrie.

Soon after Barry McNamee's lay-off found Kevin Deery, but the skipper's well-hit drive from 25 yards was easily gathered by Cherrie.

Derry missed another golden chance on 18 minutes when another teasing delivery from Barry McNamee picked out an unmarked Stewart Greacen, but the big centre-back's close-range header was cleared off the line by Stephen Maher.

The visitors had a superb opportunity to break the deadlock moments later when Gary Shanahan broke in behind the City defence, but with only Gerard Doherty to beat he failed to hit the target.

Just after the half-hour the opening goal was scored when that man McDaid was the fox in the box again.

The striker ghosted in at the back post to fire home after another Simon Madden right-wing cross had picked out the unmarked McDaid.

Just before the break some sloppy play by the home side resulted in Barry Conlon finding himself with some space inside the City box, but the big striker's left footed shot flew just over Doherty's bar.

City added a second goal on 48 minutes thanks to an excellent solo effort by Patrick McEleney. The midfielder picked up possession on the half-way line before kicking the ball behind the Dundalk defence and racing clear of Derek Foran and making no mistake drilling the ball past Cherrie.

Declan Devine's side added a third on 80 minutes when Madden's flick found substitute Ryan Curran, who made no mistake blasting home from a tight angle.

On 90 minutes a Madden cross found an unmarked Dermot McCaffrey who gleefully headed home his first goal for the Candystripes to complete the rout.

Derry City: Doherty, Madden, S McEleney, Greacen, McCaffrey; McNamee, Higgins, Deery (Curran, 68 mins), P McEleney, McDaid (Duffy, 86), Murphy.

Dundalk: Cherrie, Foran, Whelan (Burns, 61 mins), Shields, Mountney, Shannon, McKenna (Woods, 69), Shanahan, Maher, Conlon (Walsh, 78), Osborne.

Referee: Rob Rogers (Dublin).