Horgan screamer pick of bunch as free-scoring Dundalk rout Sligo
Dundalk 3 Sligo Rovers 0
Time will tell if Dundalk go on and win their first league title in 19 years but, one thing is for sure, the club's fans have not seen football like this in quite some time.
Stephen Kenny's free-scoring side sent out another statement of intent last night. Sligo Rovers were the latest to feel the heat of Dundalk's lethal attack.
The sides met in the Setanta Cup final two weeks ago in Tallaght with the result going the Bit O'Red's way but last night there was only ever going to be one outcome.
The only surprise at half-time was that Dundalk only had a solitary strike to show for their total dominance.
That goal arrived midway through the half from Daryl Horgan. The little winger picked up possession and was invited to advance towards the Sligo box. By the time somebody in a red shirt came to close him down, the ball was already past Gary Rogers, Horgan's vicious low drive beating the 'keeper at his right-hand post.
Horgan should have opened the scoring early on but he shot straight at Rogers' legs after being slipped in by Kurtis Byrne. Horgan then fluffed his lines in the 16th minute, mis-kicking in front of goal after a wonderful move had sliced the Sligo defence to shreds. Evan McMillan was on hand to hoof the scuffed effort off the line.
There was nothing Rogers to do to stop Horgan from opening the scoring soon after but the Meathman did prevent Dundalk from pulling out of sight, saving brilliantly from Sean Gannon and Richie Towell before the break.
The second half was just three minutes old when the natives deservedly made it 2-0. Darren Meenan picked out Byrne in space in the box and he curled a cracking left-footed drive past the helpless Rogers.
The Sligo goal continued to face a barrage after that and Byrne and Hoban were both denied by Rogers before the latter tapped home goal number three from close range after a Byrne shot had rattled the woodwork.
The visitors looked completely shell-shocked and but for their goalkeeper – and the woodwork denying Darren Meenan in the dying stages – they could easily have shipped seven. The final whistle went without Peter Cherrie in the Dundalk goal having a single save to make.
Dundalk – Cherrie; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Massey; Shields, Towell; Meenan, Byrne (Griffin, 89), Horgan (Higgins, 69); Hoban (McMillan, 80).
Sligo Rovers – Rogers; Spillane, McMillan, Henderson, Gaynor; Russell, Ledwith (Odihambo, h-t), O'Conor (Maguire, 83), Cawley, Greene; North.
Ref – P McLaughlin (Monaghan).