Dundalk remain four points clear at the top of the Premier Division following a comfortable 3-0 win over UCD in Belfield last night.
Two goals from Daniel Cleary, and one each for Sean Hoare, Michael Duffy, and former Student Georgie Kelly, saw the champions cruise to victory and nudge UCD one step closer to relegation.
It was the second time in five days the two sides have met, the Lilywhites having won the rescheduled June game 3-0 at Oriel Park on Monday night.
UCD manager Maciej Tarnogrodzki, having played the same team in his first two games in charge, made three changes, including the return of goalkeeper Conor Kearns from suspension.
The keeper had been suspended for six games (and one additional game by his club) for celebrating in front of Bohemians fans following their 1-0 win in July.
That result put College three points clear of the relegation spot — Kearns’ absence has been particularly costly as they lost all five league games, conceding 25 goals in the process.
The Ireland U21 stopper had only to wait 13 minutes to rediscover the feeling of picking the ball out of his net.
A Sean Murray corner found the head of Cleary and the defender, rising high above the Students’ defence, powered his header into the corner past a helpless Kearns.
By then, the pattern of the game had already been established with the champions dominating possession while the Students took few risks.
Dundalk still found a way through. Liam Kerrigan was dispossessed on the edge of his own box by Murray and the midfielder took the shot on himself, but Kearns turned it behind.
From the resulting corner, Hoare made it two. Murray, from the left, picked out Cleary’s defensive partner and he nodded the ball past Kearns to make it 2-0.
UCD were yet to threaten the Dundalk goal in anger by the midway point in the half but the chance arose for Jason McClelland to turn and shoot, and his shot whistled narrowly past the post.
That was as good as it got for the Students in the first half, and Dundalk continued to attack with former UCD striker Georgie Kelly heading over and Murray missing from close range.
The second half largely followed the pattern of the first, but it took the introduction of Michael Duffy for the injured Murray to produce a third.
The winger burst in from the left, shrugged off a vigorous challenge from Liam Scales and blasted a low shot in at the near post, his third goal against the Students in a week.
That looked set to be that but Georgie Kelly angled a magnificent glancing header past Kearns late on before Cleary bagged his second with a near-post header in injury time.
UCD: Kearns; McEvoy, Scales, Boore, Farrell; Keaney, Keane (O’Farrell 81), Kerrigan; McClelland, Byrne, Mahdy (Behan 76).
DUNDALK: Rogers; Dummigan, Hoare, Gartland, Massey; Shields, Murray (Duffy 66), McEleney; D Kelly (Hoban 76), McGrath (Benson 40), G Kelly.
Referee: Ray Matthews (Mullingar).