Doubles in either half from Sean Murray and Patrick Hoban saw Dundalk end a run of 69 days without a league win against Sligo Rovers in Oriel Park this evening.
Vinny Perth's side had taken just a single point from their previous six league matches since winning 1-0 against Finn Harps back on 17 July.
However, they eased their relegation worries somewhat thanks to a brilliant first half double from Murray, who scored twice in the space of eight minutes either side of an equaliser from Johnny Kenny with what proved to be Sligo’s only real chance of note, set them on their way to ending that unwanted run.
Hoban then put the game to bed with a third midway through the second half before adding another in the 95th minute to give a further boost to a side who booked their place in the last four of the FAI Cup just 72 hours earlier after beating Finn Harps in extra-time.
Unfortunately for the Louth men, results elsewhere mean they remain in ninth place in the table but they can move up one place if they draw or win in their game in hand against Bohemians on Monday night.
For Liam Buckley’s side it all but ends any outside chance they have of challenging for the title and they’re now looking over their shoulders with Derry City’s win at home to Longford Town seeing them move to within three points of them in third place.
The home side got off to a dream start when Murray fired them in front with the game’s opening shot on 12 minutes. Sami Ben Amar found space on the right to cross with the former Irish U-21 captain quickest to react to steal in at the near post and slot past Ed McGinty.
Dundalk’s lead would last less than two minutes, however, as Sligo responded with the first shot of their own.
Niall Morahan played a superb ball over the top for Kenny to race onto and the teenager did superbly well to hold off Raivis Jurkovskis before slotting past Peter Cherrie.
The Lilywhites would then re-take the lead with their next meaningful attack on 20 minutes. Jurkovskis did well to get to the end line on the right with his pull back falling to Hoban. His shot was blocked but the rebound fell invitingly to Murray to slot home from 10 yards out for what was his fifth goal in his last six outings.
The Louth men had chances to add to their advantage after that with Han Jeong-woo and Daniel Cleary going close, but it remained 2-1 at the break.
Substitute Michael Duffy then should have killed the game on 61 minutes when he was set free by some brilliant play from Hoban, but McGinty denied him with his legs one on one.
He would make amends two minutes later though when he was picked out on the endline by Daniel Cleary’s diagonal ball before drilling across the face of goal where Hoban was on hand to turn in from close range ahead of Mahon.
Hoban and Greg Sloggett had chances to add to their side’s lead after that but Hoban would have the final say in the fifth minute of stoppage time when he rifled home from just outside the box to confirm his side’s biggest win of the season.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie, Raivis Jurkovskis (Sonni Nattestad 88), Daniel Cleary, Darragh Leahy, Cameron Dummigan; Greg Sloggett, Will Patching (Mark Hanratty 88); Sami Ben Amar (Mayowa Animasahun 71), Sean Murray, Han Jeong-woo (Michael Duffy 54), Patrick Hoban.
Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Colm Horgan, Lewis Banks, John Mahon, Regan Donelon; Niall Morahan, Adam McDonnell; Walter Figueira (Mark Byrne 74), Ryan De Vries (Melvyn Lorenzen), Johnny Kenny (Seamus Keogh 84); Andre Wright (Romeo Parkes 74).
Referee: Rob Harvey (Dublin)