Shamrock Rovers went two points clear at the top of the table with second half goals from Billy Dennehy and another coolly taken Stephen O’Donnell penalty earning the champions a win in Oriel Park.
After a scoreless first half in which neither side threatened Dundalk looked more likely to open the scoring after the break but a fine low cross from new signing Rohan Ricketts evaded the Lilywhites’ defence and half-time substitute Dennehy was on hand to poke the ball home.
Ex-Spurs and Wolves man Ricketts was integral to much of Rovers’ attacking play and displayed a cultured touch and vision that will surely only get better when he is fully match fit.
The Hoops’ other midweek signing Jim Patterson also put in a solid performance at left back.
The Dundalk defence coped well despite Ricketts clever play but moments after Ciaran Kilduff replaced Gary Twigg Ricketts played a well weighted ball over the top and before Kilduff could get it under control Karl McHugh barged him over gifting Rovers a penalty.
Up stepped McDonnell with the same composure he showed in Belgrade and the penalty was duly dispatched on the 74th minute.
Dundalk gave Rovers a brief fright late on when Mark Quigley flicked a free kick past debutant keeper Richard Brush in injury time but it came too late and Rovers will go into next Friday’s game with third place Sligo on top of the table.