Keep that champagne on ice - Dundalk ease by Drogheda
They move 11 points behind Cork ahead of Turner’s Cross clash on Monday evening
Dundalk 3 Drogheda 0
The champagne remains on ice in Cork after Dundalk claimed their fourth derby win of the season against Drogheda United at Oriel Park on Friday night.
Steven Kinsella marked his first league start for the Lilywhites by opening the scoring four minutes before the break.
Stephen Kenny’s side made sure of the points five minutes into the second half when David McMillan steered home his 16th league goal of the season before substitute Michael Duffy made it 3-0 in stoppage time.
The result moves the champions 11 points behind the Leesiders, who they meet at Turner’s Cross on Monday evening.
Drogheda were battered 4-0 in the FAI Cup tie between the sides two weeks earlier but they presented a much more difficult test to Dundalk here and almost went in front after three minutes.
Adam Wixted took possession off a sloppy Niclas Vemmelund pass to carve the Dundalk back four open with a through ball for Shane Elworthy, but Brian Gartland raced back to head his goalbound effort off the line.
Dundalk didn’t really hit top gear but winger Dylan Connolly saw a half volley crash off the post just short of the half hour mark while at the other end, Gary Rogers made a stunning save to tip a Thomas Byrne effort over the crossbar.
It looked like the half would end scoreless but Dundalk took the lead in the 41st minute when Kinsella stabbed home after Stephen McGuinness pulled off a stunning save to keep a Stephen O’Donnell header out.
Kinsella limped off in the 47th minute with an injury but Dundalk added a second four minutes later when McMillan headed a Sean Gannon ball across McGuinness.
Dundalk pushed for a third and McMillan smashed one off the bar late on with McGuinness beaten.
Another miserable night for Drogheda was compounded when Thomas Byrne was sent-off for a second bookable offence with eight minutes to play before Duffy rounded off the scoring with a classy finish in stoppage time.
DUNDALK: Rogers; Gannon, Gartland, Vemmelund, Massey; Clifford (Benson 70), O’Donnell; Connolly, McGrath (McEleney 77), Kinsella (Duffy 47); McMillan.
DROGHEDA UNITED: McGuinness; Deasy (Elliott 63), Mulcahy, Buckley, Dunne; Wixted (Doyle 72), Brennan (Bayly 81), Purdy, McEvoy, Elworthy; Byrne.
Referee: Rob Harvey.