The Lilywhites have now won three in-a-row without conceding since returning from the mid-season break and this result saw them open up a seven-point lead over third placed Bray Wanderers, who they meet in the Carlisle Grounds on Friday night.
Crucially it was also another good momentum builder ahead of next month’s Champions League double header against Norwegian champions Rosenborg.
Having dominated from the off, Dundalk had an abundance of early chances, including a David McMillan effort cleared off the line by Colm Horgan after four minutes. The breakthrough then arrived on the quarter hour mark when Massey was allowed run unmarked to the six-yard box to head Michael Duffy’s corner past Conor Winn.
If the visitors were guilty of some slack defending on that occasion, then they stood firm for a long period afterwards.
Dundalk continued to dominate but struggled to create anything of note as Sean Hoare volleyed their best opening wide before half-time.
The pressure continued on the restart with Paddy Barrett heading over from close range three minutes after the restart before Winn denied McMillan with a fantastic stop after he looked to have rounded him on 56 minutes.
The second goal did finally arrive in the 63rd minute, however, with Jamie McGrath winning a 50/50 challenge with Alex Byrne in the box, allowing McEleney to turn on a sixpence to fire home his third goal in as many matches.
Shane Keegan’s visitors did get more adventurous but it was Dundalk who went closest to adding to their lead when McGrath skipped past Horgan on the left only to fire inches wide.
Derry City have been boosted ahead of Thursday’s Europa League first qualifying round clash with Danish side Midtjylland (7pm) with the news Scottish midfielder Nicky Low is extending his loan spell with the club. Low will now remain until the end of the season.
Rogers; Gannon, Barrett, Hoare, Massey; Duffy (Mountney 71), Shields, Benson, McGrath (Stewart 84); McEleney; McMillan (Kilduff 69). .
Winn; Horgan, Grace, Folan, Ludden; Byrne, Synott; Shanahan (Murray 72), Melody (Conway 87), Devaney; Faherty (McCormack 87).
Rob Harvey (Dublin).