Patrick Hoban hit a brace as Dundalk put helpless Bray Wanderes to the sword at Oriel Park on Friday night to maintain their place at the top of the SSE Airtricity League table.

The visitors made the trip north with a host of players absent through injury but Stephen Kenny's side showed no sympathy and had the game put to bed with quarter of an hour played.

Daniel Cleary and Hoban both headed over with early opportunities before The Seagulls almost stunned the natives in the 10th minute when winger Daniel Kelly tested Gary Rogers with an effort that packed a punch.

Before they could build on it, however, Bray found themselves a goal down in the 13th minute when Hoban hammered home goal number 13 of a fine season.

The move was started by Cleary, whose sensational diagonal ball found Sean Hoare on the right. Connolly did just enough to flick the subsequent cross into Hoban's path and the striker made no mistake from close range.

Connolly left his old club on the ropes two minutes later, the former Seagulls star given loads of time to compose himself and pick his spot from 18 yards to fire past Evan Moran.

Things went from bad to worse for the basement side when skipper Gary McCabe, who was rated doubtful before the game, hobbled off with less than half an hour played and they also lose full-back Dylan Hayes with an injury at the break.

Dundalk added a third before the break when Jamie McGrath tapped home from close range after Moran could only parry a Michael Duffy volley into the midfielder's path.

Hoban departed in the 62nd minute, but not before he headed home Dundalk's fourth and substitute Ronan Murray rattled the crossbar with a free shortly after.

Substitute Marco Tagbajumi squeezed home a Dean Jarvis cross to make it 5-0 before a miserable night was compounded for Bray when Andrew McGovern was carried off with a serious injury late on.

Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Hoare, Brian Gartland, Daniel Cleary, Dean Jarvis; Chris Shields, Robbie Benson (Krisztian Adorjan HT); Dylan Connolly, Jamie McGrath (Ronan Murray 62), Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban (Marco Tagbajumi 62).

Bray Wanderers: Evan Moran; Dylan Hayes (Dragos Mamaliga HT), Conor Kenna, Sean Heaney, Kevin Lynch; Daniel Kelly, Paul O’Conor, Daniel McKenna, Gary McCabe (Andrew McGovern 27), Corey Galvin; Ronan Coughlan (Ger Pender 82).