With erstwhile leaders Sligo Rovers drawing 0-0 at Limerick, Christy Fagan scored for the fourth time in as many games to help send St. Patrick's Athletic two points clear at the top of the Premier Division table after a 2-0 win over Bohemians at Dalymount Park.
Utterly dominant form the off, St. Pat's ran up their matchwinning lead inside two minutes midway through the first half as they stretched their unbeaten league run to eleven matches.
Fagan, played through by John Russell following a quick counterattack, slid the ball under Bohs' keeper Dean Delany for the opening goal on 25 minutes.
Two minutes later Killian Brennan blasted home a penalty, awarded after Derek Pender had handled a cross from Ian Bermingham.
It was a damaging result for Bohemians as wins elsewhere on the night by Bray Wanderers and UCD mean Aaron Callaghan's side drop to second bottom of the table.
Limerick frustrated Sligo at Thomond Park as the champions had to settle for a scoreless draw.
Sligo had the better chances, with Limerick keeper Barry Ryan making a terrific save to deprive Gavin Peers on seven minutes.
Limerick striker Axel Bossekota did have the ball in the Sligo net on 24 minutes, but it was disallowed for a handball.
Anthony Elding then wasted an excellent opening for Sligo when shooting straight at Ryan when through one-on-one early in second half.
Rory Patterson maintained his rich vein of form when scoring a late equliser as third-place Derry City had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Cork City at the Brandywell.
Wigner Daryl Horgan put Cork ahead on 83 minutes with a delightful strike from some 25 yards. But Patterson struck to level two minutes later when punishing a shocking backpass from John Dunleavy to score his fourth goal in three games and 12th of the season.
New Shelbourne boss John McDonnell watched his side lose 1-0 at Shamrock Rovers to slip seven points adrift at the foot of the table - a superb strike from midfielder Ronan Finn bringing the only goal of the game on 29 minutes to lift Rovers up to fifth in the table.
Veteran striker Jason Byrne scored a hat-trick, the third a dramatic winner deep in stoppage time, as Bray Wanderers beat Drogheda United, who finished with nine men, 3-2 at the Carlisle Grounds.
The sides swapped goals inside the opening 14 minutes. Byrne blasted Bray ahead form John Mulroy's pass on ten minutes with Declan O'Brien soon levelling when punishing a defensive slip.
Drogheda then had goalkeeper Gabriel Sava sent off on the half hour for handling a Marty Waters shot outside the box.
Byrne restored Bray's lead within a minute of the start of the second half when finishing from close range after good work from Waters.
But once again it was fellow veteran O'Brien who equalised for Drogheda on 53 minutes, tapping home Gavin Brennan's cross.
With the game looking like petering out to a draw, Drogheda had midfielder David Cassidy sent off for a second booking three minutes into stoppage time.
From the resulting free-kick, Byrne struck to win it. Shane O'Connor's header from Kevin Knight's delivery was tipped onto a post by replacement keeper Michael Schlingermann and Byrne tapped in the rebound to give Bray a third win in four games and lift them out of the bottom two. Byrne is now just two strikes shy of reaching the milestone of 200 league goals.
David McMillan scored twice as UCD also made it three wins from four games as they beat fourth-placed Dundalk 3-2 at Oriel Park.
Pat Hoban gave Dundalk the perfect start with the lead goal after just two minutes, shooting past keeper Conor O'Donnell from John Dillon's cross.
But College hit back to level from a 13th minute penalty converted by McMillan after John Sullivan fouled Gary Burke in the box.
Three minutes into the second half McMillan struck to give UCD the lead when finishing off a cross from Robbie Benson.
Benson then made it 3-1 on 58 minutes following a swift counterattack as McMillan returned the compliment to provide the assist.
Hoban got his second of the night with a header from a Dane Massey cross on 84 minutes to give Dundalk hope. UCD then survived late on as Kurtis Byrne hit their crossbar in added time as Dundalk's late push failed to bring an equaliser.