Cork City will continue to look over their shoulders as Dundalk produced another demolition of Derry City at the Brandywell, the Lilywhites rarely moving into top gear to remain one point adrift at the business end of the Premier Division.
Now eight wins on the spin, Stephen Kenny’s side returned home having netted another four goals against Derry, however, on this occasion, Dundalk also kept a clean sheet which will have been the icing on the cake for the Dubliner.
With the Portugal v Spain World Cup clash having an effect on the gate receipts, Dundalk were never in trouble against the Candy- stripes, who struggled in the vital areas.
From the first whistle, it was clear that the home side would face a long night on the back foot, having been penned inside their own half for lengthy periods. Content to soak up the pressure with large numbers behind the ball and then hit on the break, Derry finally broke from their own half in the 24th minute to threaten their visitors.
It was a fluent attacking move which saw Rory Hale work the ball forward and, when Rory Patterson played a neat back-heel into the path of the advancing Aaron McEneff, the midfielder’s low shot was turned around his post by an alert and agile Gary Rogers.
Dundalk maintained the onslaught and in the 32nd minute Robbie Benson played the ball over the Derry back four, with Michael Duffy racing through on the blindside and into a one-on-one situation with Ger Doherty.
While the winger got to the ball first, a heavy touch forced him wide and the chance was lost, but as the game edged towards half-time, Dundalk struck a vital blow in the 41st minute when they deservedly broke the deadlock. A shot from Michael Duffy was superbly blocked by McDermott, but when the ball found its way into Robbie Benson, his effort from 15 yards appeared to be fumbled by Doherty, the Derry keeper helping the ball into the net at his near post.
Before the half ended, a teasing cross from Duffy on the left failed to find the head of a well-placed Pat Hoban.
However, after the break, the same pairing linked again in the 63rd minute, on this occasion Hoban’s header crashed off the crossbar and Dundalk doubled their lead when the loose ball broke to Dylan Connolly, who lashed the ball home from 12 yards.
It should have been 3-0 in the 72nd minute, when Dane Massey played Duffy in, but the former Derry player ballooned the ball over the crossbar when he should have done better from 10 yards.
Minutes later, it was 3-0 as Derry’s head continued to drop. Sean Hoare almost ran the length of the pitch before Hoban netted a second when he got the benefit of a deflection of a Derry defender.
Duffy was rewarded for his efforts with Dundalk’s fourth when substitute, Krisztian Adorjan dinked the ball over the home defence and Duffy’s finish was top drawer.
G. Doherty; McDonagh, Toal, McDermott, Doyle; Ronan Hale, Cole, Rory Hale, B. Doherty; McEneff; Patterson (Farren, 69).
Rogers; Hoare, Cleary, Gartland, Massey; Connolly (Adorjan, 80) , Shields (Gannon, 74), Benson, Duffy; McGrath (Murray, 83); Hoban.
P. McLaughlin (Donegal)
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