THE domestic soccer focus moved from league to Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup action last weekend, and Dundalk remain on course for a league and cup double, after securing a place in the semi-finals with a convincing 4-0 win over Sligo Rovers at Oriel Park.
A stubborn Sligo defence kept the home side at bay until the 57th minute, but once the visiting defence was finally breached Dundalk took control, and the winning margin could have been much greater.
Dundalk's first half pressure was as incessant as the rain that bombarded Oriel Park throughout the evening, and they did everything bar putting the ball in the net, with Richie Towell, Ciaran Kilduff, Daryl Horgan and Dane Massey all spurning chances.
In contrast, Sligo's attacks were intermittent, although Regon Donelon did have one good opportunity to open the scoring for the visitors.
But Dundalk displayed a masterclass in quality finishing in the second half, starting with a fantastic curling effort from Daryl Horgan 12 minutes after the break.
The second goal came minutes later when Ciaran Kilduff conjured up a spectacular mid-air backheel that looped over the head of Sligo keeper Richard Brush from the edge of the box.
A beautifully placed shot into the far corner of the net from Ronan Finn put Dundalk three up, and substitute Sean Maguire rounded off a fine night with his first goal for the club late on, outpacing the Sligo defence before coolly slotting the ball past the advancing keeper Brush.
Bray Wanderers and Longford Town also clinched places in the semi-finals with wins over non-league opponents.
Bray made rather heavy weather of their 2-0 home win over Leinster Senior League side Killester United, although they got off to a great start, going ahead in the 7th minute when defender Hugh Douglas headed the opener from a Ryan McEvoy corner.
Michael Keogh had a great opportunity to level the tie for the non-leaguers, but saw his effort come back off the woodwork midway through the first-half
Killester, playing in the last eight for the first time since a defeat to Sligo Rovers in 2006, continued to enjoy some good possession and created a number of chances, but Bray took control with a second goal after the break when Dave Scully headed in a David Cassidy cross at the back post.
Two second half goals in the space of two minutes proved to be decisive for Longford Town, as they clinched their place in the last four for the first time since 2007 with a 3-1 win over Sheriff YC at the City Calling Stadium.
The home side dominated the first half, and David O'Sullivan opened the scoring on 25 minutes, with a close range finish after a scramble in the Sheriff penalty area.
The AUL champions, who knocked out Athlone Town in the last round, were rarely in the game in the opening 45 minutes, but they silenced the home crowd right on the stroke of half time when Joe Flood unleashed a cracking shot from 30 yards to pull his side level.
However, it didn't take Town long to regain control, as Ayman Ben Mohamed restored the lead within a minute of the restart, with a low strike from the edge of the box, and it was 3-1 two minutes later when Lorcan Shannon picked up a Kevin O'Connor pass, and finished with a shot into the corner of the net.
The last semi-final place will be decided by a replay, after Derry City and Cork City drew 1-1 at the Brandywell.
The hosts got off to a great start, taking the lead after just five minutes when Ryan McBride headed home from a Patrick McEleney corner.
But Cork drew level four minutes after half-time when Mark O'Sullivan blasted home an equaliser after Derry keeper Ger Doherty had beaten out a shot from Karl Sheppard.
There was one league game played in Division One, and Wexford Youths took a big step towards promotion with a 1-0 win over UCD.
Shane Dunne rifled home an 82nd minute winner that puts Youths seven points clear at the top of the First Division table with four games to play, and moves them closer to securing a place in the Premier Division for the first time in the club's history.
Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup Quarter Finals - Bray Wanderers 2 Killester United 0, Derry City 1 Cork City 1, Dundalk 4 Sligo Rovers 0, Longford Town 3 Sheriff YC 1.
SSE AIrtricity League Division One - Wexford Youths 1 UCD 0.