It’s very much a case of too little, too late, from a Dundalk perspective, but team boss Stephen Kenny, doesn’t really see it that way.
Dundalk tore Derry City apart at Maginn Park yesterday, netting four goals for the second time in 10 days against the ‘Candystripes.’
Indeed, Derry learned little from last weekend’s FAI Cup defeat at Oriel Park as Dundalk again turned up with a top level performance, which now sees them 14 points adrift of the ‘Leesiders’ with seven games remaining.
Dundalk boss, Stephen Kenny, felt it was an important win but he did not envisage leading 4-0 at the break.
“Had we lost the game, it could have resulted in a scrap for a second place finish, so it was an important victory for us,” he said.
“Our focus now is reaching the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup and to finish the season strongly, that’s the challenge,” he added.
Deadlock was broken in the 23rd minute when Robbie Benson produced a superb finish, the midfielder skilfully scooping the ball over the head of Ger Doherty after John Mountney had played him in.
Within 90 seconds that lead was doubled when Patrick McEleney lofted a superb cross with the outside of his right foot, Dave McMillan’s low volley directed across the body of the Derry keeper giving him no chance.
With Dundalk pushing on in search of more goals, they were deservedly rewarded in the 33rd minute. Michael Duffy tested Doherty with a shot from outside the area,
Doherty parried the effort but Benson was the first to react when lashing the loose ball home.
And in the 41st minute, Dundalk made it four, the ball worked out to Dane Massey on the left and his powerful low drive was met on the full by Mountney, who diverted the ball firmly into the net.
Dundalk keeper, Gary Rogers, made a comfortable save from Ronan Curtis in the 43rd minute, the home side’s first serious effort on goal during the opening period.
With the match won during the opening 45 minutes, Dundalk took their foot off the gas.
Nathan Boyle, Aaron McEneff and Aaron Barry all failed to trouble Rogers, Dundalk content with their day’s work reducing Cork City’s lead on the summit to 14 points with just seven games to play.
For Derry, the pressure to secure a place in the Europa League next season continues as Shamrock Rovers move to within two points of the Candystripes following this defeat.
DERRY CITY - Doherty; McDermott, Barry, Cole, Jarvis; Low, McEneff; Schubert (McIntyre, 58), McNamee, Curtis (Dolny, 72); Patterson (Boyle, 52).
DUNDALK - Rogers; Gannon, Gartland, Vemmelund, Massey; Shields, Benson (Clifford, h/t); Mountney, McEleney (Kinsella, 76), Duffy; McMillan (Stewart, 72).
Referee - P. McLaughlin (Donegal).