Shamrock Rovers 6, Derry City 1
GRAHAM Burke bagged four goals as Shamrock Rovers demolished Derry City at Tallaght Stadium.
It was a miserable night for the Candy Stripes who slumped to a third defeat of the season and a record defeat in the League of Ireland!
And the way they fell apart in the second half will be of major concern to City boss, Kenny Shiels who must find answers quickly ahead of the club's return to Brandywell Stadium on Monday night,
Despite an encouraging start where Rory Patterson and Eoin Toal had excellent chances to give the visitors the lead, ex-Aston Villa man, Burke fired Rovers ahead four minutes before the break.
Derry failed to come out after the interval and Rovers ran riot with Burke adding three second half goals while returning Rovers skipper, Ronan Finn and Sean Kavanagh also got in on the act.
Ronan Hale did add a consolation strike when he came off the bench but it was a shocking display from City who had themselves to blame for at least four of the six goals.
Shiels had kept faith with the team which earned its first win of the season in Dalymount in their last outing while Rovers made just one change from the team which hit six past Bray with captain, Finn making his first appearance of the season at the expense of David McAllister.
The visitors came so close to taking a third minute lead when Aaron McEneff swung in a corner from the left and Eoin Toal's glancing header went just the wrong side of the far post.
Moments later Nicky Low spotted Rovers keeper, Kevin Horgan straying off his line and his audacious lob from inside his own half sailed narrowly over the net.
Rovers were struggling to contain Derry who were dangerous on the counter but the Dubliners eventually managed an effort on target on 13 minutes but it was a tame strike from distance from Trevor Clarke which was dealt with comfortably by Doherty.
Sean Kavanagh, who escaped the clutches of Shiels four days before the close of the transfer window, tested Doherty with a well struck effort from the edge of the area but the City skipper turned it behind.
Rovers really should've taken the lead when Kavanagh carved open the City defence with a sublime ball through the middle sending Brandon Miele one-on-one with Doherty who raced to the edge of the area but he screwed his shot well wide.
At the other end Low threaded a sublime pass through to Patterson who took it past the keeper but his low shot was cleared off the line at the near post by Gilchrist.
Rovers began to dominate the ball in the final 10 minutes of the half and Finn's close range header was saved by Doherty.
The Hoops hit the front on 41 minutes when Finn executed a beautifully timed chip over the top of the City defence and on to the feet of Burke who swept the ball into the net from eight yards.
It was a cruel blow for Derry who were made to rue those missed chances.
The Hoops almost doubled their advantage two minutes after the restart when Burke whipped in a dangerous cross from the right but Dan Carr blasted over.
The Dubliners did add a second on 52 minutes when Bone picked up a loose clearance from Toal before playing to the feet of Kavanagh. The ex-Fulham man showed a cool head as he sold Niall Logue a dummy before slotting cheekily into the corner.
Rovers netted a third on 68 minutes against a Derry team who were struggling to get into the game when Miele played into the path of Finn whose shot somehow found its way past Doherty.
The City keeper should've done better for that effort and two minutes later Doherty handed possession to Miele who found Burke and he made no mistake with a well taken finish - his second of the match.
The Candy Stripes pulled one back when Patterson sent substitute, Ronan Hale through and he fired powerfully across the keeper and into the net,
More misery was to come for the visitors as less than 60 seconds later Miele's ball across the face of the Derry six yard area was tapped in by Burke to complete his hat-trick and an utterly shambolic night for Derry City.
Shamrock Rovers: K. Horgan; E., Boyle (R. Lopes 68), A. Gilchrist, L. Grace, T. Clarke; B. Miele, S. Bone, R. Finn (D. McAllister 74), S. Kavanagh; G. Burke; D. Carr (G. Shaw 74); Subs Not Used - T. Chencinski, L. Byrne, R. Lopes, D. McAllister, J. Coultrain, S. Boyd.
Derry City: G. Doherty; D. Cole, E. Toal, N. Logue (Ronan Hale 58); J. McDonagh (C. McDermott 28), R. Hale (D. Kayode 82), N. Low, B. Doherty; R. Patterson; R. Curtis; Subs Not Used - E. Grimes, E. Tweed, S. Whiteside, J. Doyle.
Referee - Tomas Connolly.