St Patrick's Athletic impressed from the outset as they comfortably accounted for a disappointing Longford Town on a 3-0 scoreline in a one-sided encounter at Richmond Park.
Christopher Forrester broke the deadlock in the 18th minute with an audacious lob and the same player doubled the Saints' advantage when firing home from the spot following a foul on Aaron Greene.
James Chambers added a third in the 49th minute after excellent approach play from Conor McCormack with Forrester, Sam Verdon and Morgan Langley missing late chances to extend that lead.
The hosts entered the game in rude health, having strung together three successive wins prior to the mid-season break. They enjoyed an enterprising opening, with Ian Bermingham firing a 20-yard shot just wide of Paul Skinner's left-hand upright in the 6th minute.
The desire of both home full-backs to bomb forward was the primary feature of the initial stages and Saints deservedly took the lead in the 18th minute with a goal of the highest quality.
The origin stemmed from Sean Hoare's impeccable pass from defence that released Christopher Forrester through on goal. The winger made the finish look easy, with a lobbed shot over the out-rushing Skinner from 14 yards.
The contest continued in a similar vein before the visitors managed to exert a small degree of pressure midway through the half.
Some sloppiness in the home defence almost allowed Longford a route back into the tie in the 27th minute, but Conor Powell and Kaleem Simon got their wires crossed, allowing Jason McGuinness to clear.
Perhaps buoyed by that half-chance, Longford continued to press and they were unfortunate not to level matters on the half-hour mark. Salmon arrived just too late at the back-post to land an accurate finish after Gary Shaw had burned McGuinness in the inside-right channel.
Despite enjoying a greater amount of possession, the visitors looked susceptible to the ball over the top and goalkeeper Skinner was perhaps fortunate to escape with just a booking in the 38th minute when he collided with Jamie McGrath.
Forrester crashed the resulting free-kick into the wall from 20 yards. He then spurned an even greater chance when Longford fail to clear their lines, but his header from six yards was placed far too close to Skinner.
However, Longford's respite was brief and they fell further behind in the 43rd minute. Forrester confidently converted from the penalty spot after Aaron Greene was fouled inside the area by Martin Deady.
Matters deteriorated for the visitors and they fell further behind within four minutes of the restart.
Conor McCormack worked wonders down the left flank with his pull-back being side-footed home from ten yards by James Chambers.
A fourth goal should have arrived in the 57th minute, but Greene headed wide from a central position after a superb left-wing cross by the marauding Bermingham
With the hosts happy to hit on the counter-attack, Longford enjoyed sporadic periods of pressure and Shaw tested Clarke's reflexes in the 72nd minute after a fine cross by lively substitute David O'Sullivan.
Forrester looked well set to complete his hat-trick four minutes from time, but Conor Powell was on hand to clear off the line after a rare final quarter sortie by the hosts.