A second-half treble from Patrick Hoban sent Dundalk into the quarter finals of the FAI Cup in style as St Mochta's were put to the sword at Oriel Park.
The non-league side went in level at half time after Gareth McCaffrey had cancelled our Sami Ben Amar’s opener. But that goal was handed to them and in truth, they didn’t lay a glove on the 12-time cup winners.
Dundalk’s safe passage was to be expected but given their domestic troubles this season Brian McCarthy’s team has reason to dream at least. Hoban’s hat-trick and a goal by Han Jeongwoo put paid to those.
The 2020 FAI Intermediate Cup winners boasted a host of former League of Ireland stalwarts in their ranks. Former Dundalk duo Mick Daly and Garreth Brady, brother of erstwhile Republic of Ireland midfielder Robbie, were both in the starting line-up. Another former Lilywhite - 41-year-old Cathal O’Connor - who last played league football in 2010, was in reserve too.
Having dispatched Cockhill Celtic and Crumlin United in the opening rounds of the competition, St Mochta's arrived with a real cup upset on their agenda. Given Dundalk’s domestic struggles this term, none of the modest 500-capacity crowd quite knew how this one would swing as kick-off approached.
Injuries to Patrick McEleney, David McMillan and Darragh Leahy, and with Michael Duffy and Daniel Cleary fit enough only for the bench, meant Vinny Perth had little choice but to name a strong side to face the Leinster Senior League outfit.
It was indicative too of their injury issues that they named just seven substitutes, compared to the visitors nine.
The team from Clonsilla have been in dominant form in the LSL Senior Sunday division this term, winning their opening five games and scoring 16 goals in the process. With two-time FAI Cup winner Glen Crowe among the recognisable names on the coaching ticket, perhaps
it is no surprise the attack, led by Gareth McCaffrey is firing right now.
It took just eight minutes for Dundalk to take the lead. New signing Ben Amar opened his Dundalk account, planting a header from Sean Murray’s corner past Adam Kmet. However, the holders gifted the non-leaguers an equaliser just four minutes later.
Sam Stanton was pickpocketed on the edge of the area by captain Karl Sommers and McCaffrey was on hand to round debutant Cameron Yates and slot in from a narrow angle.
Cameron Dummigan had gone close to doubling Dundalk’s lead in between the brace of early goals. His curling effort from 20 yards beat Kmet but not the crossbar.
Only referee Graham Kelly will know why he didn’t award Dundalk a penalty when Noel Murray clattered into Ben Amar in the penalty with the ball long since gone. Sam Stanton saw an effort comfortably saved before Pat Hoban’s header was saved smartly by Kmet.
Parity didn’t last long after half time. Ben Amar was felled in the area and Hoban scored the spot kick. The Moroccan then laid on for the striker and Murray did likewise as Dundalk ran riot.
St Mochta’s goalkeeper Kmet denied Hoban several more times, including just before Han fired in a rebound.
Dundalk: Cameron Yates; Raivis Jurkovskis, Andy Boyle, Sonni Nattestad, Cameron Dummigan; Wilfried Zahibo (Greg Sloggett, 29), Sam Stanton (Mayowa Animasahun, 76); Sami Ben Amar (Mark Hanratty, 69), Sean Murray, Han Jeongwoo (Ryan O’Kane, 76); Patrick Hoban.
St Mochtas: Adam Kmet; Glenn Shannon, Noel Murray, Alan Byrne, Sean Byrne; Mick Daly (Jason Grouse, 83), Alex O’Hanlon (Evan Murphy, 83); Michael Scott (Jason Marks, 73), Karl Sommers, Garreth Brady (Denis Moran, 73); Gareth McCaffrey (Stephen Donnelly, 77).
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork)
Another Premier Division side who got the better of non-league opposition was Waterford FC, who accounted for Kilnamanagh 4-1 at the RSC.
The Dublin 24 outfit were far from disgraced, however, with a gutsy display but ultimately had no answer to the hosts' slick play.
John Martin goaled in each half for Waterford, with Cameron Evans firing home another and Phoenix Patterson hitting the top corner with a free-kick.
Adam Buckley scored a consolation for Kilnamanagh on 85 minutes.