An encouraging opening 45 minutes against defending league champions Dundalk gave way to a miserable second half for Sligo Rovers in Oriel Park last Friday as the hosts proved far too good for Rovers after the break.
Sligo Rovers 0
A Jamie McGrath hat-trick and a goal from Niclas Vemmelund were enough to ensure what was ultimately a comfortable home win.
Rovers went in to the game on the back of an encouraging 3-0 win over Limerick a week earlier and with Dundalk struggling to hit the heights of last year in the opening third of the season Rovers made the journey to Oriel Park confident of securing something from the game.
Chances were at a premium during the first half with Dundalk struggling to contend with the Rovers formation which saw Jonah Ayunga partnered up front by the evergreen Raffaele Cretaro.
However, after the break Dundalk carved through the outnumbered Rovers midfield at will.
The deadlock was broken nine minutes into the second half when Patrick McEleney's through ball left the Rovers defence horribly exposed and Jamie McGrath was on hand to score through the legs of Rovers goalkeeper Micheal Schlingermann.
In the aftermath of the game many queried the decision of manager Gerard Lyttle to introduce a midfielder, Craig Roddan, in place of Jonah Ayunga, but in reality such was the dominance being enjoyed by Dundalk the manager had to attempt to stabilise matters.
Unfortunately for Rovers the change didn't have the desired effect. In reality it had little effect as Dundalk continued to dominate a Rovers side who suddenly looked bereft of confidence once more.
The Dundalk advantage was doubled in the 74th minute with McGrath finding the net although Schlingermann will not be in a hurry to see replays of the goal.
Full-back Niclas Vemmelund got in on the scoring act in the 90th minute and the scoring was completed in injury time when McGrath completed his hat-trick with a clinical penalty after Tobi Adebayo-Rowling had fouled him.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers, Niclas Vemmelund, Paddy Barrett, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey, Michael Duffy, Chris Shields, Robbie Benson (Thomas Stewart 88), Jamie McGrath, Patrick McEleney (Stephen O’Donnell 85), David McMillan (Ciaran Kilduff 79).
Sligo Rovers: Micheal Schlingermann, Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Kyle Callan-McFadden, Michael Leahy, Regan Donelon, Liam Martin (Mikey Place 85), Gary Boylan, John Russell (Matthew Stevens 78), Kieran Sadlier, Raffaele Cretaro, Jonah Ayunga (Craig Roddan 59).