With the league title seemingly out of reach, Dundalk’s focus at present is on building form for next month’s Champions League double-header with Rosenborg.
If the Louth men are to topple the Norwegian champions then they may need to find their shooting boots a little quicker than they did against Finn Harps at Oriel Park last night.
Stephen Kenny’s side were frustrated for 51 minutes by the Donegal strugglers before finally making a fortuitous breakthrough through Robbie Benson, who knew little about a goal that came about when Dane Massey’s shot was pushed clear by goalkeeper Ciaran Gallagher before coming off him to the net.
It would be the first of three goals in 12 minutes as the home side finally put Ollie Horgan’s side to the sword in commanding fashion.
You’d expect the step up for Europe to be much greater but the result did at least keep up the reigning champions’ positive momentum following on from last week’s 6-0 drubbing of neighbours Drogheda Utd.
Dundalk had been frustrated for long periods of the first half with David McMillan passing up their best two openings — being denied by the legs of Gallagher on 25 minutes before seeing another effort clip the outside of the post in stoppage time.
Sean Houston had gone close on a rare Harps break in the first half and the visitors can also feel hard done by that he wasn’t awarded a penalty after going down in the box under a clumsy Sean Gannon challenge immediately after Benson’s opener.
Once the breakthrough was made, there was only going to be one winner though with McMillan getting on the scoresheet after rounding Gallagher on 55 minutes before McEleney, who had set him up, dinked a superb shot over the ‘keeper to make it 3-0 seven minutes later.
Substitute Jamie McGrath then completed the scoring nine minutes from time when he raced onto Michael Duffy’s pass before skipping past Damien McNulty and crashing a shot inside the near post.
Rogers; Gannon, Gartland, Vemmelund, Massey; Duffy, O’Donnell (Shields 71), Benson, Stewart (McGrath 62); McEleney (Kilduff 73); McMillan.
Gallagher; McNulty, Cantwell, Coll, Harkin; Boyle, McCourt (Molloy 65); McAleer, Bonner (Dsane 60), Houston (Millien 73); Morrissey.
B Connolly (Dublin).