By Robert O’Reilly
Ten-man Drogheda United suffered a derby day drubbing as they lost 6-0 to Dundalk at United Park.
Thomas Byrne was dismissed early on with Dundalk taking full advantage by scoring three goals in either half to compound a miserable evening for the Drogs.
Drogheda boss Pete Mahon handed forward Ryan Masterson his first start for the club while Killian Brennan lined up in midfield having overcome injury,
There was little between the sides before Byrne’s dismissal on the half-hour mark for a late challenge on Patrick McEleney in front of the Dundalk bench.
The visitors took full advantage of the extra man as they took the lead five minutes later. Stephen O’Donnell was afforded too much room 25-yards from goal and his strike was parried by Stephen McGuinness into the path of David McMillian who slid the ball beyond the keeper.
It was 2-0 on 41 minutes when a corner-kick found Sean Gannon at the back post and his lofted cross was missed by both Brian Gartland and McGuinness leaving McMillian to bundle the ball over the line from a couple of yards out.
To make matters worse for Drogheda, Dundalk made it three on the stroke of half-time as McEleneny dribbled beyond two players before chipping the ball into the far top corner from the edge of the box.
Dundalk didn’t take long to get going again in the second-half as a defensive mix-up saw Stephen Dunne’s headed clearance find Thomas Stewart who crossed for Michael Duffy to volley high into the roof of the net.
Having squandered numerous chances to further their lead, Dundalk rubbed salt into Drogheda wounds with Ciaran Kilduff netting a brace late on after more rueful defending.
With the Boyneisders now in the relegation zone, Drogheda will need a significant improvement in performance as they face Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght next Friday.
Drogheda United: Stephen McGuinness; Colm Deasy, Luke Gallagher, Ciaran McGuigan, Stephen Dunne; Killian Brennan (Sean Thornton 46), Ryan McEvoy, Sean Brennan (Mark Doyle 89); Adam Wixted, Ryan Masterson (Stephen Elliott 72), Thomas Byrne.
Subs not used: Ryan Coulter (gk), Conor Kane, Richie Purdy, Marc Griffin.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Nicolas Vemmelund, Dane Massey; Michael Duffy (Jamie McGrath 61’), Stephen O’Donnell ©, Robbie Benson (Chris Shields 76’), Patrick McEleney; Thomas Stewart, David McMillan (Ciaran Kilduff 72’).
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava (gk), Paddy Barrett, Sean Hoare, Conor Clifford.