Dundalk 3 Galway United 0
Richie Towell bagged a 12-minute hat-trick as league leaders Dundalk swept aside the challenge of Galway United at Oriel Park.
A scoreless first half saw the champions struggle to get any sort of rhythm going. Galway manager Tommy Dunne opted to play two men in attack and his side's positive approach certainly disrupted Dundalk in the opening 45 minutes.
The battle of the Horgan brothers provided a nice subplot and it was Dundalk winger, Daryl, who won the first battle after 10 minutes, beating Galway full back Colm in a footrace to deliver from the left. David McMillan, however, headed off target.
Galway went close themselves soon after with Pádraic Cunningham hitting a half-volley just off target in the 13th minute after some neat set-up play by Gary Shanahan.
Dundalk continued to huff and puff without any real threat but they fashioned a great opportunity with their best move of the half in the 33rd minute. Seán Gannon's wonderful cross found Darren Meenan creeping at the back post but his weak header was gathered safely by Hanley.
No doubt stung by Stephen Kenny’s half-time team talk, the hosts exploded into life at the beginning of the second half.
Towell opened the scoring with a 48th-minute penalty after McMillan had been upended by Kevin Garcia and two minutes later he swept home Gannon's low cross from the right in emphatic fashion.
Galway struggled to live with the rampant champions and Towell competed his hat-trick, taking his tally to seven for the season with a brilliant curling effort from the edge of the penalty area on the hour mark.
DUNDALK: Sava; Gannon, Gartland (Barrett 63), Boyle, Massey; Towell, Shields; Meenan, Finn (O'Donnell 88), Horgan; McMillan (Mountney 76).
GALWAY UNITED: Hanley; Horgan, Garcia, Walsh, Ludden (Oji 56); Shanahan, O'Leary (Byrne 69), Connolly, Keegan; Curran (O'Laoi 72), Cunningham.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.