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Five-star Sligo strengthen their position at top

SLIGO Rovers took advantage of Dean Bennett's early red card to comfortably dispatch Dundalk 5-0 and ensure they will battle Shamrock Rovers all the way for the Premier Division title.

Paul Cook's side were always in control against the hapless visitors, who had to play almost all 90 minutes with 10 men, and finished the game with nine.

Richie Ryan, Joseph Ndo, John Dillon and Eoin Doyle all scored on the night, before a late own-goal devastated a deflated Dundalk.

With just three minutes gone, Matthew Blinkhorn was brought down by Bennett, who was shown red.

From the free-kick, Ryan curled a left-foot shot into the top corner and Dundalk were chasing the game.

The second did not arrive until the 36th minute, Ndo hit a cracking strike into the net from the edge of the box.

Dundalk sparked into life after the break but a third goal, from sub John Dillon, just past the hour-mark put Rovers back in control.

Doyle added a fourth within a minute of coming on and Rovers wrapped it up on 86 minutes as Johnny Breen scored an own goal.

Dundalk's miserable night was compounded when Greg Bolger was shown a second yellow in the final minute.