Sligo Rovers were beaten 3-1 by Shamrock Rovers in Monday night’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division game at Tallaght Stadium.
A Graham Burke hat-trick helped the Dublin Rovers regain top spot in the table.
It was improved showing from Sligo Rovers on a night when manager Liam Buckley made six changes to the side which lost 2-1 to Shelbourne last Friday night with Garry Buckley returning after suspension.
Goalkeeper Ed McGinty was unable to complete the warm-up because of a rib injury sustained in that Shels game.
In front of a crowd of 3066, the visiting Rovers enjoyed a fine first half as they showed more intensity and composure on the ball in the opening 45 minutes than displayed against Shelbourne three days previously.
Max Mata came very close to opening the scoring following good approach play from Robbie McCourt.
Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley made a double-substitution at half-time, introducing Andy Lyons and Graham Burke – and the duo made instant impact.
Lyons set up Burke to give Shamrock Rovers the lead on 54 minutes
Then a moment later, Burke was on hand again to make it 2-0 following excellent work by Rory Gaffney.
And 14 minutes after scoring his opener, Burke completed his hat-trick to make it 3-0.
The scoreline was somewhat harsh on Rovers, given their first-half performance
Liam Buckley made a triple substitution at 3-0 down, and one of the men introduced, Aidan Keena, gave Rovers a glimmer of hope with an excellent finish from 25 years in the 82nd minute.
Rovers hit the post late on too – but 3-1 it finished.
Monday night’s win takes Shamrock Rovers two points clear of Derry City at the top of the table after the Candystripes were held to a nil-all draw by St Pat’s.
Monday night’s results
Shamrock Rovers 3 Sligo Rovers 1
Derry City 0 St Patrick’s Athletic 0.