Four first-half goals were sufficient as Bohemians all but ended Cork City’s hopes of retaining the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title.
Keith Long’s side made it seven straight wins in all competitions, leaving City six points behind Dundalk with five games remaining, one fewer than the Lilywhites. Stephen Kenny’s side visit Turner’s Cross next Friday but even a City win then is likely to leave them with too big a gap to overhaul.
Bohs were set on their way in unusual circumstances. The game was nine minutes old when City defender Damien Delaney turned to play a backpass to goalkeeper Peter Cherrie but the netminder was left stranded at the near post as the ball went past him and Bohs built on the momentum handed them.
Winger Daniel Kelly was excellent and he made it 2-0 on 22 with a fine individual goal, using his pace well, and he got the third as well, producing a fine finish after Ward had forced a turnover in midfield before finding him with a great pass.
Graham Cummins did get a goal back for the Rebel Army when he headed in Karl Sheppard’s cross, but in first-half injury time Bohs added a fourth, right-back Derek Pender finishing well after Kevin Devaney had been bottled up in the City area.
A 4-1 lead was never likely to be overhauled and Bohs weren’t frantic in their search for a fifth, happy to play within themselves. Jimmy Keohane did pull one back for City, Sheppard again the provider, but Bohs saw out the remainder well.
Elsewhere, third-place Shamrock Rovers maintained their drive for European football with a 5-0 victory against Limerick while Waterford enjoyed a 2-0 win over Bray.
UCD are heading back to the Premier Division for 2019.
The students have secured the First Division title with a 1-1 draw against Finn Harps at Belfield.
Drogheda won 2-1 against Longford, it was 1-1 between Galway and Wexford and in the game between Cabinteely and Shelbourne.
BOHEMIANS: Supple; Pender, Casey, Morris, Buckley; Buckley, Lunney (Byrne 89); Kelly (Stokes 90), Ward (Brennan 76), Devaney; Corcoran.
CORK CITY: Cherrie; Beattie, Delaney (McCarthy half-time), Barry, Griffin; Keohane, McCormack (Daly-Bütz 85), Morrissey; Sheppard, Cummins, McNamee (O’Hanlon 71).
Referee: P McLaughlin (Monaghan).