Having been hammered at Richmond Park last Friday; League of Ireland champions Shamrock Rovers provided an unlucky Friday 13th for Dundalk by proceeding to hit the Lilywhites for six without reply.
Gary Twigg hit a hat-trick at Tallaght as the visitors proved to be no match for a rampant Hoops side.
The champions did however seem to be suffering from something of a hangover early on though as Conor McCormack and Ken Oman made important blocks to keep the visitors at bay in the opening ten minutes.
From there Rovers got into the game with visiting ‘keeper Cherrie making good saves from Dennehy and an O’Neill header before Twigg fired wide from just inside the box.
The home side took the lead on the half hour however with Oman heading a Dennehy header to the net: Shamrock Rovers 1-0 Dundalk.
Within a minute a 25 yard Finn pile driver hit the inside of the visitor’s post before McCabe put Finn clear in the box. He proceeded to cross to Twigg, who headed home for his first of the night as Rovers deservedly extended their lead: Rovers 2-0 Dundalk
Rovers continued to dominate with Dennehy missing a good chance from close range while O’Neill forced a quality diving save from Cherrie just before the interval.
The score was 3-0 within one minute of the re-start as Dennehy proceeded to rifle a free-kick which he had earned to the back of Cherrie’s net. Rovers 3-0 Dundalk
The game appeared to be done and dusted now and the home side proceeded to take their foot off the gas. This led to chances in ten minutes for Shanahan who on both occasions got behind the home rear guard but a combination of wayward finishing and quick back pedaling from Sives averted the danger.
Rovers had their own (half) chances following Dennehy’s goal in the third quarter; the best of which falling to Conor Powell, who almost put Finn in following a fantastic counter-attack.
Having kept the cavalry on the bench; Rovers’ boss Stephen Kenny introduced three substitutes for the last minutes. This finally broke the back of the busy Dundalk defence with Gary McCabe’s cross seeing Twigg getting the better of Burns for the Scot to head home his second and Rovers fourth on 81 minutes. Rovers 4-0 Dundalk
Twigg ensured that he took home the match ball three minutes from time as a through ball from Greene put the number nine through on goal and he calmly finished past the advancing Cherrie. Rovers 5-0 Dundalk
Five became a slightly harsh on the stroke of the 90 minutes as Twigg sent Turner clear down the flank, who proceeded to square to Kavanagh with the substitute’s header squeezing out of Cherrie’s grasp and over the goal-line. RESULT: Rovers 6-0 Dundalk
The result sees the Hoops back on form in emphatic fashion following last week’s woeful 5-1 defeat in Inchicore and the champions move to within one point of league leaders Sligo who drew 1-1 with Derry at the Showgrounds.
Dundalk in ninth position; just two points above the drop zone, though it is of course early days as yet.
Shamrock Rovers (4-4-2): Oscar Jansson; Conor McCormack, Craig Sives, Ken Oman, Conor Powell; Gary McCabe, Chris Turner, Ronan Finn (Killian Brennan 84), Billy Dennehy (Daryl Kavanagh 80); Gary O’Neill (Aaron Greene 80), Gary Twigg.
Subs not used: Reyaad Pierterse, Sean Gannon, Graham Gartland, Stephen Rice.
Dundalk (4-4-2): Peter Cherrie; Bob McLoughlin, Liam Burns, Derek Foran, Dan Cunningham; Paul Walsh (Shane O’Neill 46), Chris Shields, John Mountney, Stephen McDonnell (Peter Thomas 46); Michael Rafter (Bob McKenna 73), Gary Shanahan.
Subs not used: Ger Hanley, Luke Danville, Robert Watters, Chris Reilly.
Bookings: Shields (56).