Dundalk tightened their grip on the runners-up spot as Richie Towell and Patrick Hoban both scored contenders for the goal of the season as the Lilywhites brought their home campaign to an end with a 4-0 win over Cork City on Friday night.
Both players were this week nominated for both the PFAI Player and Young Player of the Year awards and they showed why, hitting two of the finest goals seen at the Carrick Road venue in many a year.
As the game approached the half hour mark it seemed only a matter of time before Dundalk went the front and they did so in some fashion after 36 minutes.
Nothing seemed on when Towell picked the ball up some 30-yards from goal but the midfielder let fly with a rocket that flew into Mark McNulty’s top corner.
If Towell’s strike was sensational, then there were few superlatives that could do justice to Hoban’s goal in first-half stoppage time.
Again, the Cork City goal looked safe from harm as the ball looped into the air on the edge of the 18-yard box but Hoban somehow managed to get up and guide an incredible bicycle kick past the stunned McNulty.
Stephen Kenny’s men showed no let up in the second-half and McNulty was left helpless again after 48 minutes when his centre-back Garry Buckley deflected a header into his own net.
Ciaran Kilduff and Danny Morrissey both had half chances for the Leesiders but the home side continued to play some fine football, carving City open at will and it took a host of fine saves from McNulty to prevent Dundalk from completely running riot before John Dillon made it 4-0 in stoppage time with another sublime effort.
Dundalk: Cherrie; Rossiter (Sullivan 78), Boyle, Gartland, Massey; O’Donnell (Dillon 55), Towell, Shields; Mountney, Hoban, Byrne (Mulvenna 89).
Cork City: McNulty; Kavanagh (Turner 56), Murray, Buckley (Spillane 75), Murphy; G Morrissey, Dunleavy (Kenny 84), Duggan, Horgan; Kilduff, D Morrissey.
Referee: Neil Doyle.