Sligo Rovers pulled level on points with third-placed Derry City ahead of tomorrow's northwest derby, thanks to a 4-0 victory over UCD on Saturday.
Two goals from Raffaele Cretaro and strikes from Eoin Doyle and Daryl Horgan eased Rovers home at the Showgrounds in front of Derry manager Stephen Kenny and Everton star Seamus Coleman.
But the scoreline was harsh on the visitors, who looked composed and threatening before two Rovers goals in four minutes changed the complexion of the game.
Cretaro fired home the first from Aaron Greene's cross on 42 minutes, and Eoin Doyle doubled the lead with a close range finish in injury-time.
Further goals from Horgan and Cretaro followed in a dominant second-half display from the hosts, but manager Paul Cook said his side looked nervous before finding the breakthrough.
"We never really got going first half. We never passed it as well as we can and we were very sluggish in possession," he said.
UCD had a couple of good breakaways where they threatened to score. We looked nervous in possession, but getting the goals before half-time gave us a big lift.
"I thought we improved a lot in the second half. We had a lot more purpose."
UCD boss Martin Russell was left to lament the timing of the goals so close to the break.
"We competed well in the first half, but when you get chances or attempts at goal like we did, you have got to make them count," he said.
"We weren't able to do that and we paid a price with the two goals just before half-time."
Sligo -- Clarke; Keane, Ventre, McGuinness, Greene; Dillon (Horgan 65), Ryan, Ndo (Russell 65), Kirby; Cretaro (Devaney 82), Doyle.
UCD -- Barron; Harding, Boyle, D O'Connor, Nangle; Marshall (Russell 75), Ledwith (Benson 75), P O'Connor, Corry; Meenan (Roche 84), Rusk.
Ref -- R Winter.