Shamrock Rovers maintained their unbeaten start to their Airtricity League Premier Division campaign when convincingly getting the better of Bray Wanderers 7-0 at Tallaght Stadium.
First half goals from the excellent Danny Ledwith, Ciaran Kilduff and Ronan Finn gave the Hoops a handsome cushion at the interval.
The procession continued after the break with Mark Quigley, James Chambers, with a brace, and Finn, with a late penalty, ensuring an emphatic victory for the hosts.
The twelve points dropped prior to tonight’s encounter left the Hoops playing catch-up with impressive league leaders Sligo Rovers so the victory could not have been better timed from the Rovers perspective.
The tone was set in the third minute courtesy of Mark Quigley’s ambitious attempt and three minutes later the hosts gained the lead when Danny Ledwith struck from 14 yards after Bray had failed to deal adequately with a Sean O’Connor cross.
The hosts continued to dominate with both full-backs joining the attacking fray and from one such move, Pat Sullivan was unfortunate to see his cross-shot drift narrowly wide.
From the opposite flank, Ledwith’s quality produced a chance for Ciaran Kilduff in the 13th minute but Darren Quigley scrambled across the goal to parry Kilduff’s header unconvincingly to safety.
Although Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters tested Barry Murphy with a well-struck shot from 20 yards, there was little ambition in Bray’s display and their troubles deepened when they conceded again in the 37th minute.
The origin of the goal stemmed from Ronan Finn’s ball over the top and the ever-willing Kilduff gained his reward when shrugging off two challenges before slipping the ball beyond Quigley from ten yards.
Matters deteriorated for the visitors in first-half injury time when Ledwith escaped down the wing with his inviting cross cushioned by O’Connor into the path of Finn, who produced a typically composed finish across Quigley.
The visitors looked far sharper upon the restart and after forcing a number of dangerous set-pieces, Shane O’Neill raced clear in the 58th minute but Murphy raced from his line to deny the lively substitute.
Their defensive struggles continued however and Bray conceded a fourth in the 65th minute with Ledwith’s ability once again to the fore when he found the head of Quigley, who headed home adroitly from close range.
It became a rout as the half progressed with James Chambers getting himself on the scoresheet in the 76th minute, turning sharply to volley home a shot from Finn as Bray failed to clear a corner-kick.
Rovers’ confidence was sky-high at this stage and that was reflected in their sixth goal as Chambers caught Quigley napping at his near post and curled a low free-kick into the exposed goal.
Wanderers’ misery was complete when O’Connor was hauled down in injury time with Finn putting the Hoops in seventh heaven to conclude the scoring, revitalising his side’s title ambitions in the process.
Shamrock Rovers: Murphy; Sullivan (Rice, 77), Foran, Oman, Powell; O’Connor, Chambers, Finn, Ledwith (Dennehy, 71); Quigley, Kilduff (Sheppard, 85).
Bray Wanderers: Quigley; Doyle (Moffatt, 83), Webster, Thomas, Knight (O’Neill, 54); Waters, Dempsey, Mulroy, Sambra, Earley; Byrne (Akinade, 84).
Referee: Paul McLoughlin (Dublin).