Keith Ward helped himself to a superb hat-trick as Bohemians secured their Premier status and sent a poor Drogheda side tumbling further towards the First Division.

In a game where both teams finished with 10 men, Ward struck the first blow after only 11 minutes and the Boynesiders were a well beaten side long before the final whistle.

Bohs began this game on the front foot, with Ismahil Akinade causing plenty of headaches for the home side, and the big man had a header turned around the post by Drogs keeper Stephen McGuinness on nine minutes.

However, it was Keith Ward who fired the visitors in front in the 11th minute, beating McGuinness with an exquisite 25-yard strike after an excellent through-ball from Fuad Sule.

For the remainder of the first quarter Bohemians pounded the opposition goal and could have added another four to their tally, but a couple of decent saves from McGuinness and some wayward finishing kept Drogheda in the game.

Coming up to half-time, though, the men from Dalymount raised their game again and on 42 minutes Ward broke unchallenged from half-way and drove a low shot past McGuinness at his near post for 2-0.

Drogheda registered their first goal attempt of the game on 48 minutes when Chris Mulhall’s glancing header flew wide and shortly after Bohs were reduced to 10 men when referee Hennessy showed a second yellow card to Oscar Brennan for a pull-back on Jamie Hollywood.

But Paddy Kavanagh was denied by the post and Mulhall’s straight red card for an off-the-ball clash with Rob Cornwall restored numerical parity in the 61st minute.

Almost immediately Ward made it 3-0 with an outlandish strike from out on the right that went in off the post, and 60 seconds later Dinny Corcoran fired past a stunned McGuinness from all of 35 yards.

Substitute Sean Brennan pulled one back for the Drogs on 69 minutes with their first shot on target, but Bohs keeper Shane Supple made two brilliant stops from Adam Wixted to ensure a comfortable three points for the visitors.

Drogheda: Stephen McGuinness; Shane Elworthy, Dave Mulcahy, Stephen Dunne, Conor Kane (Richie Purdy 28); Adam Wixted, Jamie Hollywood (Sean Brennan 58), Luke Gallagher, Jack Bayly (Stephen Elliott 63), Thomas Byrne; Chris Mulhall.

Subs not used: Lloyd Buckley, Ryan McEvoy, Mark Doyle, Harry Hogan.

Bohemians: Shane Supple; Derek Pender (Dan Casey 72), Rob Cornwall, Warren O’Hora, Ian Morris; Paddy Kavanagh, Keith Ward, Fuad Sule, Oscar Brennan; Ismahil Akinade (Philip Gannon 58), Dinny Corcoran (Ciaran O’Connor 82).

Subs not used: Cian McMullen, Dan Byrne, John Ross Wilson, Colin McCabe.Referee: Robert Hennessy (Clare)