When former Ireland midfielder Stephen McPhail is afforded so much room to dictate the tempo, there’s few better than on the League of Ireland circuit than the 36-year-old and he made full use of the space.
Rovers, whose defeat to Wexford Youths last week was brought into perspective by the revelation of depression afflicting their striker Mikey Drennan, were rarely troubled by the hardworking Munster Senior League outfit.
It was a former home favourite who provided Rovers with their scariest moment on nine minutes as Dan Murray hooked a ball across the six-yard box which none of his Midleton teammates anticipated in time to connect with.
From there though, it was all Rovers. Brandon Miele forced Matthew Gledhill to turn over a ferocious 22nd-minute shot following an intricate passing move involving Gary McCabe and Stephen McPhail.
Another neat passage of play created the opener six minutes later.
Dean Clarke gained possession on the right before delivering a cross into the six-yard box where Gary Shaw rose to head home.
The Rovers frontman almost grabbed his third goal of the season eight minutes before the break by latching onto an exquisite McPhail through ball only to see his attempted lob foiled by the advancing Midleton keeper Matthew Gledhill.
Rovers maintained their dominance into the second half, Clarke barging clear on the hour but firing his low effort just wide of the left post.
There was only so much resistance Midleton could manage and the inevitable second Rovers goal arrived on 67 minutes. Miele seemed to have scuffed his corner but Sean Heaney was first to react by turning and smash his shot into the top corner.
Further efforts continued to pepper the visitors’ goal and it was no surprise when the third goal came with 13 minutes left.
McCabe was involved in the build-up, putting in a cross from the left which the defence failed to fully clear. Patrick Cregg was waiting to pounce, rattling the net with a first-time shot from 18 yards.
The impressive Miele curled in the fourth in stoppage-time as MSL side Midleton were defeated despite brave resistance.
Hyland; Madden, Heaney, Cornwall, O’Connor (Doona 86); Cregg, McPhail; D Clarke (Boyd 79), McCabe, Miele; Shaw (North 67).
Gledhill; Kruschell, Murray, Hickey, J McCarthy; Leahy; Barnes (K Tattan 60), Hegarthy (K McCarthy 65), Maher (Ahern 80), Keane; Knowles.
Derek Tomney (Dublin).