Devastating Dundalk blow hapless Seagulls away
Dundalk 8-1 Bray Wanderers
Dundalk's relentless start to the defence of their SSE Airtricity League title shows no signs of letting up, with Bray the latest side to feel the wrath of Stephen Kenny's side.
The red-hot Richie Towell set the natives on their way with one of the goals of the season after just three minutes, his sensational volley from Daryl Horgan's pass a joy to witness. The champions kept their foot on the accelerator and three minutes later it was 2-0 when Brian Gartland headed home a Darren Meenan corner.
Bray were thrown a lifeline in the 20th minute when Dane Massey took Michael Barker down in the penalty area and David Cassidy made no mistake to send Gary Rogers the wrong way from the spot. It was the first time Dundalk had conceded a league goal at Oriel Park since last August.
The reprieve lasted just three minutes as Dundalk restored their two-goal advantage with a carbon copy of Gartland's goal. This time it was Andy Boyle who powered home Meenan's corner.
Towell could have had a hat-trick in the first half, the former Celtic midfielder going close with two more efforts, before Dundalk scored again on the stroke of half-time when Gartland turned in another Meenan corner.
Any notions that Dundalk would take their foot off the pedal were dispelled in the 57th minute when Horgan slotted the ball past sub goalkeeper Brian Kane after neat approach play by Ronan Finn.
The stand-in 'keeper was beaten for a second time when a third defender got in on the goals. Dane Massey met Meenan's corner with a sweet header that clipped the 'bar on its way in and Finn soon added a magnificent seventh.
Dundalk ended the game as they started it - with an absolute screamer, this time Horgan curling in a sublime shot from 25 yards to inflict upon Bray their worst league defeat.
It leaves Kenny's side perched at the summit after the first series of games but the Dundalk boss isn't getting carried away.
"These games are one-offs. It shows the talent we have and the different players who can score goals but, at the same time, it's just one performance. We beat Longford 1-0 here and Drogheda 1-0 here and those results were equally as important," he said.
"Ultimately the credit must go to the players. I think they've been consistent, very hungry and very driven but we must maintain that. Nine wins and two draws is a great start but we must maintain that."
DUNDALK - Rogers; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Massey; Shields (O'Donnell 54), Towell (Byrne 67); Meenan, Finn, Horgan; McMillan (Mountney 61).
BRAY WANDERERS - McGuinness (Kane 45); Barker, Mitchell, Douglas, McGlynn; Onwubiko (Scully 79), McNally, Cassidy, McEvoy, McDonagh (O'Reilly h-t); Lyons.
REF - D Tomney (Dublin)