The reigning champions appeared to have the game wrapped up by half-time as an early strike from Raffaele Cretaro and a goal just before half-time from Gavin Peers had them 2-0 up at the break. Dundalk showed spirit on the restart to force a couple of fine saves from Rovers goalkeeper Gary Rogers but a third goal on 53 minutes from Anthony Elding eased Sligo’s worries.
Kurtis Byrne pulled one back for Stephen Kenny’s side with a goal of the season contender on 68 minutes. That brought a renewed spirit to the Louth men, who almost had the deficit back to the minimum on 80 minutes only for Keith Ward to be denied by the post.
This match should have been a lot more comfortable for Ian Baraclough’s side after they raced into a third minute lead when Raffaele Cretaro cut in from the right to fire under Peter Cherrie. They extended their advantage six minutes before the break when Ross Gaynor’s free was turned in by the unmarked Peers.
Gary Rogers had to be at his best early in the second half to deny both Ward and Byrne with stunning saves but the game appeared to be over as a contest in the 53rd minute when Anthony Elding headed home his fourth goal of the season to leave it 3-0.
Dundalk were given hope of a turnaround 15 minutes later, however, when Byrne sent a stunning volley to the top right hand corner from 30 yards out. They pressed hard in the closing stages with Ward denied by the post and sub Darren Meenan firing into the side-netting.
DUNDALK: Cherrie; Sullivan, Massey, Boyle, Osborne; Dillon (Meenan, 56), McDonnell (Shields, 70), Towell, Ward; Byrne, Hoban (Faherty, 57).
SLIGO ROVERS: Rogers; Keane, Peers (Henderson, 55), McMillan, Gaynor; Cretaro (Connolly, 85), Cawley, Lynch, Conneely (Djalili, 74), Greene; Elding. Referee: P Tuite (Dublin).