Daniel Kelly’s goal proved the difference at Oriel Park last night as Dundalk got the better of St Patrick’s Athletic to move up to second place in the SSE Airtricity League table.
The victory for Stephen O’Donnell over his old club means that the Co Louth side are now the main challengers to table toppers Shamrock Rovers, who they trail by eight points - albeit with a game in hand.
Dundalk boss the first half and deservedly found the breakthrough on 24 minutes in what was a bit of a horrow show at the back for Pat’s.
After Patrick Hoban looked to play Kelly in it looked as though the danger had been snuffed out when Sam Curtis came across the winger but Ian Bermingham’s decision to step in and try to head back to Joseph Anang backfired with Kelly picking up possession to round the goalkeeper and slot home his fifth of the season.
Tim Clancy’s side will feel they should have had a penalty two minutes before the break when Leahy’s attempted clearance saw him catch Tunde Owolabi in the box but despite the Belgian striker’s appeals referee Ray Matthews failed to point to the spot.
The visitors pushed hard for an equaliser late on but could find no way past Nathan Shepperd who was immense in the closing stages to deny all three Pat's substitutes Billy King, Mark Doyle and Darragh Burns.
Shepperd; Macari, Connolly, Boyle, Leahy (Bone 89); Sloggett, Benson (Martin 79); Bradley (Ward 59), Adams (Doyle 59), Kelly; Hoban (McMillan 79).
Anang; Grivosti, Redmond, Bermingham (King 57); Curtis, O’Reilly, Forrester, McClelland (Doyle 57), Breslin; Owolabi (Burns 57), Doyle.
Ray Matthews (Westmeath).