Shelbourne gave a display of confidence and swagger as they demolished Galway United to bolster their lead at the top of the table in the second tier, five points clear of UCD.

A couple of deflected strikes from Michael O'Connor had the Reds in comfort mode by the break.

Second-half strikes from Yoyo Mahdy and substitute Glen McAuley left United demoralised and 11 points off the top, with Shels seemingly coasting to a First Division title.

John Ross Wilson and Shane Farrell were outstanding for the hosts, who will be very hard to dislodge at the top of the table in this evidence. They were superb from start to finish and coughed up few chances to a poor Galway side.

Shels were dominant early and, though Galway were growing into the game, the opener reflected the hosts' ascending. O'Connor had a pot-shot that deceived Conor Kearns on 25 minutes but the frustrating thing for United was a sloppy pass from Gary Boylan, just as they were growing into the game.

Within 10 minutes, United were nearly level. Keating did really well on the right-hand side; he crossed for Maurice Nugent but the hero of last week at Turner's Cross, when he notched an equaliser, just hooked his effort wide.

Four minutes before the break, Wilson did really well down the flank and fed O'Connor, whose strike again got the help of a deflection and went beyond Kearns.

United looked in need of an early goal in the second half. What hope they had died on 51 minutes. This time it was Mahdy who did the damage, striking a lovely left-footed strike to put the game beyond doubt.

Galway did not create much but briefly came to life with 20 minutes left, Shane Duggan fizzing an outside-of-the-foot strike wide at the Ballbough end.

The fourth goal was a thing of beauty. Farrell, who was excellent throughout, fashioned a superb back-heel to Wilson, who played in substitute McAuley, who had an easy finish.

Shels looked full of confidence, unity and energy, with United, also a full-time side, left to reflect on just two wins achieved on the pitch so far. They are now in a fascinating scrap for the playoff spots.

Elsewhere in the division, UCD rallied from a sluggish start and a two-goal deficit at Athlone Town Stadium to record a dramatic 3-2 victory.

Mark Dignam struck in stoppage time for the visitors to seal all three points as both sides finished with 10 men, with Athlone's Tlou Tumelo and UCD's Paul Doyle both getting their marching orders in the second half.

Jake Hegarty gave Cobh Ramblers a 1-0 victory and bragging rights over Cork City in the derby encounter at St Colman's Park.

Basement boys Wexford FC registered their first points of the season in a 2-0 win on the road over Cabinteely despite finishing with 10 men, while Treaty United prevailed on the same scoreline at home to Bray Wanderers.

Shelbourne: Clarke; Byrne, Gilchrist, O'Connor, Wilson (Barker 88); Brennan, Farrell, Lunney, Poynton; Mahdy (Rooney 88), O'Connor (McAuley 80).

Galway United: Kearns; Nugent, Brouder, Boylan, Ubaezuono; Place, McCormack, Hurley (Waweru 56), Duggan; Keating, Cunningham (Rowe 56).

Referee: Eoghan O'Shea