With nine of the team who started Monday night’s important league win over Finn Harps, the cup holders were ahead inside two minutes and victory was never in doubt.
“Overall, it was a good workout,” Caulfield said, “nice to have a home game after the long trip to Finn Harps.
“Athlone had been struggling and people thought we were odds-on favourites, so it was nice to see nearly two thousand people there.
“The FAI Cup is different to the league cup, after the league it’s the next biggest competition we can win so you’re always going to put out a strong team. Connor Ellis got two, ‘H’ [Achille Campion] got two, so hopefully guys will have taken confidence from what’ll be a tough league run-in.
“We’ll need goals and I feel that that Monday night gave the lads a bounce, it was good to see it continue.”
City’s two changes saw Robbie Williams coming in for Alan Bennett in defence while Connor Ellis was included up front as Gearoid Morrissey was rested, allowing Karl Sheppard to drop back to the wing.
In front of 1,669 people, the game was only 65 seconds old when City had the lead. Before last night, Sadlier’s winner away to Bray Wanderers in the previous round was the club’s only first-half goal since July 16 and it was he who opened the scoring, heading home from Sheppard’s fine cross.That set the tone and it was pretty much one-way traffic from there, with the lead doubled in the tenth minute. Sheppard was the scorer this time, profiting from Williams’ good ball over the top and showing good control before slotting home.
Sheppard went close twice more while Garry Buckley also had a chance as City’s confidence flowed, with Shane Griffin at left-back particularly impressive. It was he who laid the third goal on a plate for Connor Ellis on the half-hour and Sadlier almost made it 4-0 soon after as goalkeeper Igor Labuts’ attempted clearance fell to him but defender Stephen Walsh was able to make a saving header.
Coming up to half-time, Sadlier shot wide after another good Griffin run and cross, but the fourth did arrive in injury time, Buckley netting following another cross by Sheppard.
It was the midfielder’s last act as he and Ryan Delaney were replaced by Achille Campion and Conor McCarthy respectively at half-time, and French striker Campion was the key man in the second period. He had the fifth goal within a quarter of an hour of his arrival, heading home Griffin’s corner after Labuts had done well to save Sadlier’s curling effort. Campion was also central to the sixth, as he met Sadlier’s cross with his head and, though Labuts saved once more, Ellis was on hand to knock in the rebound for his second of the night.
Stiffer tests await, no doubt, with Caulfield only having one wish for the quarter-final. “Home draw, that’s all we want,” he said.
McNulty; Beattie, Williams (Phillips 67), Delaney (McCarthy half-time), Griffin; McCormack, Buckley (Campion half-time), Sheppard, Keohane, Sadlier; Ellis.
Labuts; McCartan, Folan, Walsh, McGrane; Sfrijan, Spelman (Silva half-time); Layng, Gaffey (Carmody 56), Nkololo; Curran (P Walsh 74).
R Hennessy (Dublin).