Poor defending costs Derry City
Dundalk 3 Derry City 0: Another game, another defeat for Derry City who fell victim to a Richie Towell hat-trick at Oriel Park last night.
With Shamrock Rovers also winning against Bray Wanderers, it means that Derry City are now in danger of slipping out of the top four this season, and missing out on European football.
City produced a much better performance against Dundalk than they did against Bohemians at the weekend, but their defensive problems arose again and they were easily beaten as a result.
It could have been different had a major decision gone with Derry in the opening stages.
Just six minutes in there was a moment of real controversy as Rory Patterson flicked the ball over Andy Boyle onto the run of Michael Rafter who went clean through on goal.
The Derry striker simply had to pick his spot but he hesitated and in attempting to take the ball around Peter Cherrie he went to ground. Rafter and the Derry City players appealed for a penalty but referee Graham Kelly produced a yellow card for simulation.
Derry's hard work in the opening 25 minutes came to nothing when yet more poor defending gifted a goal. A cross into the area was flicked into the path of Richie Towell and his volley from the angle had enough on it to beat Gerard Doherty to make it 1-0.
City then found themselves 2-0 down almost immediately. A cross from Meenan looked overhit but found Dane Massey at the back post, and he was able to lay it off for Towell, who volleyed it low and hard past Doherty and into the corner of the net.
Derry were unable to breach the Dundalk defence in the early stages of the second half and that ultimately proved costly as Towell completed his hat trick on 66 minutes to seal points.
Towell raced onto a through ball from John Dillon before curling the ball across Gerard Doherty and to complete his treble and confirm Dundalk's qualification for Europe next season.
Dundalk: Cherrie, Gartland, Boyle, Shields, Dillon, Hoban (Faherty 62 mins), Byrne, Massey, Towell (Mountney 90 mins), Rossiter (Sullivan 69 mins), Meenan.
Derry CITY: Doherty, Madden, S McEleney, Jarvis, Osborne (Kavanagh 59 mins), P McEleney (Griffin 77 mins), Molloy, Higgins, McNamee, Patterson, Rafter.
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork).