Patrick Hoban scored his first FAI Cup goals in almost three years as Dundalk crushed non-league St Mochta's 5-1 to advance to the last eight.
After four losses on the spin, the emphatic win will take some of the pressure off a Dundalk team who sit second from bottom in the Premier Division. As was the case last year, a cup win may help paper over the visible cracks of their league struggles.
Hoban’s treble arrived in the second half after Mochta’s had managed a shock equaliser after Sami Ben Amar’s opener. A mistake in the Dundalk defence led to Gareth McCaffrey netting for Brian McCarthy’s side.
The men from Clonsilla have won four from four in the Leinster Senior League season to date but they couldn’t match Dundalk whatsoever.
They had League of Ireland experience aplenty in Mick Daly, Garreth Brady, Alex O'Hanlon and McCaffrey in their starting line up but it mattered little.
The gulf in quality was evident and Hoban’s finishing put the non-leaguers to the sword. Han Jeongwoo scored Dundalk’s fifth.
Moroccan winger Ben Amar headed in a corner to set Dundalk on their way but Mochta's were soon level. Sloppy play in the home defence saw Karl Sommers capitalise and McCaffrey finish smartly.
Hoban's first came via the penalty spot after Ben Amar was fouled. Then he turned veteran centre back Alan Byrne brilliantly and found the corner. Hoban's taste for goals wasn't sated and after Murray played him in, he blasted a shot past the busy Adam Kmet.
Elsewhere, in-form Waterford were also very comfortable winners against non-league opposition. They beat Kilnamanagh 4-1 with John Martin scoring twice, adding to goals from Welsh defender Cameron Evans and Phoenix Patterson. Adam Buckley hit a late reply for the LSL outfit.
St Patrick's Athletic were taken all of the way to penalties by a spirited Cork City side before eventually progressing.
The visitors were awarded a penalty kick late on, which was duly converted by Chris Forrester. However, City took the game to extra time, when Barry Coffey converted from close range.