Dundalk Youths exited the DDSL Ferrari League Cup at the quarter-final stage by going down to a sore 4-0 loss on home turf to Tolka Rovers.
It was the home side who created the first opportunity when Ciaran O’Connell drove down the right and sent a cross in for Cody Magill who could only steer the ball wide of the target.
Amid Fergal Sheeky doing his best to keep the visitors out by pulling off a string of decent stops, Padraig McGowan danced his way past two challenges with a brilliant dribble before teeing the ball up for Vlad Evseev but he could not find the back of the net with the goal gaping.
They would be punished for their missed opportunities when a dangerous corner was not dealt with by the Dundalk defence and the Dublin outfit poked the ball home amid the scramble to take the lead and 10 minutes later added a second to stun the home side.
The hosts would have been hoping to see it out until half time to regroup but were denied even that chance when the game was put beyond them after another corner kick aided by the wind caused uncertainty in the penalty area and they reaped the rewards by adding a third goal before the teams headed for the dressing rooms.
Alan Browne brought on the dangerous attacker Aaron Boyle in a bid to turn his side’s fortunes around and he twice went close, bringing a good save out of the goalkeeper on the second occasion with a stinging drive from distance.
The Dundalk misery was rounded off with five minutes to go when Rovers found space in the final third to work the ball into the six-yard box where they were left with an easy finish to make it 4-0 and secure their semi-final spot.
That loss will be a tough one for Dundalk to take given that this was a tournament which they had entered as defending champions following their victory last year.
DUNDALK YOUTHS: Fergal Sheeky; Ciaran O’Connell, Fearghal McDonald, Frank Osadebe, Conor McCoy; James Renaghan, Padraig McGowan, Vlad Evseev, Dylan O’Hanlon; Cody Magill (Aaron Boyle 60), Cormac Boyle (Sean Matthews 75). Unused subs: Liam Keenan, Robbie Macken, Cillian Mulligan.