Pat's fuming as ruthless Dundalk hit them for six
Dundalk 6 St Patrick's Athletic 0
David McMillan hit a quick-fire brace as Dundalk hit 10-man St Patrick's Athletic for six at Oriel Park last night.
Liam Buckley's side looked like they would go in level at the interval but McMillan's two goals in first half injury-time ended the game as a contest.
There was controversy attached to his first, a 46th-minute penalty awarded after referee Jim McKell, making his first appearance at the border venue since the night he awarded Bray two spot-kicks back in April, decided that the striker had been upended by Lee Desmond. Pat's were left fuming by the decision with Ian Bermingham sent off for protesting.
Before they had recovered, Dundalk had landed the knockout blow, McMillan meeting Michael Duffy's corner to bury a header past Lukasz Skowron in the fifth minute of added time for the striker's 15th goal of the season.
The Polish goalkeeper made his entrance in the eighth minute, replacing the injured Barry Murphy, and he was left with plenty to do.
Knowing that they needed a win to keep the champagne on ice down in Cork, Dundalk ramped it up and Skowron had to get down low to his right and make a smart save in the 39th minute to stop Michael Duffy before McMillan saw his goalbound flick cleared off the line by Desmond. Pat's did have chances, most notably when Graham Kelly curled a lovely right-footed effort over the top of Gary Rogers' crossbar. It looked like Pat's had done enough to go in scoreless but they were rocked by two goals in the five additional minutes at the end of the half.
Kelly should have pulled the Saints back into it just two minutes after the restart but he watched his 20-yard effort bend just wide of the upright.
It was a case of damage limitation after that as Dundalk put the foot on the accelerator and Sean Gannon broke inside from the right and guided a cool finish past Skowron to make it 3-0.
McMillan should have bagged his hat-trick in the 57th minute but he missed the target, much to the disbelief of those who were already cheering in the stand.
He departed shortly after to acclaim as Kenny, with an FAI Cup quarter-final and EA Sports Cup final on the horizon, worked his squad. Sub Robbie Benson tapped home on the hour mark after great work by Duffy and another replacement, Thomas Stewart, hit number six late on.