Goals six minutes either side of half-time from Darragh Leahy, a penalty from Patrick Hoban and a stoppage time strike from John Martin saw Dundalk comfortably claim local bragging rights over neighbours Drogheda Utd at Oriel Park as they moved up to third place in the table.


In what was a completely one-sided Louth Derby, the Lilywhites produced their best performance to date under Stephen O'Donnell, with not even a consolation strike from Ryan Brennan three minutes from the end giving cheer to Kevin Doherty’s side, who have now lost back-to-back away matches following last week’s defeat in Sligo.

The hosts had a surprise hero on the night in Leahy.

The 24-year-old - who is dating the sister of Drogheda defender Sean Roughan - hadn’t scored a competitive goal in almost four years since netting for Bohemians’ in an FAI Cup victory over Galway Utd in August 2018.

Indeed, it was over four years ago since he scored his only previous league goal - a 99th minute winner for Bohs at Tallaght Stadium in April 2018.

He was alert to break the deadlock six minutes before the interval when he reacted quickest to a Keith Ward free kick that came back off the crossbar.

The Lilywhites celebrate with goal scorer Darragh Leahy

He then doubled his side’s advantage six minutes after the restart with a close range finish before Hoban made sure of the win with his 130th goal for the club from the spot.

Brennan did briefly give his side consolation, but it was Dundalk who had the final say with Martin adding a fourth in stoppage time.

It was the home side who dominated the few early chances in the game with Hoban meeting Joe Adams’ corner only for it deflect tamely into the arms of Sam Long.

The two would combine for Dundalk’s next opening on 21 minutes with Hoban spreading the play wide to Adams on the right before bursting in to get on the end of the Welsh U21 international’s cross, but on this occasion he couldn’t keep his header down.

The Lilywhites would threaten again seven minutes later when Ward’s corner was played short to Paul Doyle at the edge of the box, but the Mayo man’s effort was charged down by Georgie Poynton.

Hoban then dragged another effort just wide from Daniel Kelly’s lay-off on 31 minutes before the breakthrough finally arrived six minutes before the break.

After Darragh Nugent was penalised for a foul on Doyle, Ward stepped up to send a curling free kick goalward that crashed back off the crossbar with Leahy on hand to head home his first goal for the club.

Drogheda would take until the 44th minute to register a first attempt with Keith Cowan heading tamely wide from a corner.

It should have been 2-0 to the hosts within two minutes of the restart when a mistake by Sean Roughan allowed Ward to race clean through on goal, but the former Bohs man pulled his effort agonisingly wide with only Long to beat.

They would double their lead on 51 minutes though with Leahy stealing in to poke past Long from close range from Lewis Macari’s cross.

Dundalk then made it 3-0 on 58 minutes when Hoban sent Long the wrong way from the penalty spot after Cowan was adjudged to have handled Ward’s pull back as he slid in to challenge him.

Dayle Rooney would pull a rare opening wide for the visitors on the hour mark when he curled a free kick wide before Long was called into action to make a great save to deny Daniel Kelly on 69 minutes after he had met Ward’s crossfield pass on the volley.

Greg Sloggett then went close to making it four on 74 minutes with a mishit cross that had Long scrambling to claw the ball over his crossbar.

It would take until a minute later for Drogheda to register their first shot on target when former Lilywhite Andrew Quinn was denied at close range by Nathan Shepperd.

John Martin had a chance to make it four with eight minutes remaining but saw his effort deflect over.

Dundalk were perhaps guilty of complacency as the clocked ticked down with sloppy play at the back allowing Drogheda to pull a goal back on 87 minutes when Luke Heeney teed up substitute Brennan for a close range finish.

It was the home side who would have the final say, however, as Martin raced onto Adams’ pass in the 92nd minute to make it two in two for him following last week’s winner against Shelbourne.

Dundalk: Nathan Shepperd; Lewis Macari, Mark Connolly (Brian Gartland 64), Andy Boyle, Darragh Leahy; Paul Doyle, Greg Sloggett (Sam Bone 77); Joe Adams, Keith Ward (Ryan O’Kane 85), Daniel Kelly (John Martin 77); Patrick Hoban (David McMillan 77).

Drogheda United: Sam Long; Andrew Quinn, Keith Cowan, Sean Roughan, Dane Massey; Georgie Poynton (Dylan Grimes 63), Darragh Nugent (Ryan Brennan 55), Gary Deegan, Luke Heeney, Dayle Rooney (Mohammed Boudiaf 85); Chris Lyons (James Clarke 63).

Referee: Sean Grant (Wexford).