Two days after clinching the league title, Dundalk suffered their joint heaviest defeat under Stephen Kenny as they were put to the sword by St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park.
Liam Buckley’s side gave the champions a guard of honour before the game but that was were the niceties ended.
As expected, Kenny made a host of changes to the side that won the league less than 48 hours earlier with Ciaran O’Connor, Dean Shiels, Keith Dalton, Michael O’Connor and Georgie Poynton all handed their first league start for the club.
And Pat’s dismantled the makeshift Dundalk XI with wily duo, Christy Fagan and Conan Byrne, having a field day in the opening 45 minutes.
Kenny was then forced to hand out a sixth league debut when Carlton Ubaezuono came on to replace the injured Shane Grimes in the 18th minute.
Pat’s hit the front a minute later. Fagan left Alan Keane for dead with a brilliant turn before playing it wide to Byrne on the right. The striker continued his run, stylishly firing home Byrne’s subsequent cross.
Both were involved again seven minutes later. Paddy Barrett’s poor clearance was seized upon by JJ Lunney and he picked out Fagan, whose first touch lay-off was rifled home by Byrne.
Keane and Barrett struggled to contain the Pat’s frontline and goal number three arrived in the 36th minute, Byrne clinically dispatching a Fagan ball past the exposed Gary Rogers.
Full-back Ian Bermingham was next to get in on the act, smashing home at the far post after Byrne, yet again, had played a dangerous ball across the face of goal.
Dundalk pulled one back three minutes after the restart through Dean Shiels and Michael O’Connor gave the visitors hope when he forced a Sean Gannon cross over the line.
Lunney, though, put the seal on Pats’ win with a great strike from the edge of the area with four minutes to go.
ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC – Clarke; O’Brien, Hoare, Feely, Bermingham (Kelly 89);
Lunney, Kelly (McGrath 68); Byrne, Kinsella, Verdon; Fagan..
DUNDALK – Rogers; Gannon, Keane, Barrett, Grimes (Ubaezuono 18) (Gartland HT);
Poynton, Benson; Dalton (Mountney 71), Shiels, C O’Connor; M O’Connor.
REF – Rob Harvey.
League of Ireland
There was a European night last week which did produce a happy Irish ending. Dundalk's near miss against Zenit St Petersburg grabbed national headlines but, in Cork, where City fans are sick of the Louth men hogging the headlines, they did have a cause for celebration after their U-19 side enjoyed victory in their maiden UEFA Youth League tie with HJK Helsinki.