Dundalk stretched back out to eight points ahead of Shamrock Rovers at the top of the table, taking advantage of ten-man St Patrick's Athletic's dire offensive returns at a sun-baked Inchicore.
Pat's are averaging comfortably south of a goal per game this season and they barely fashioned a chance here, furthering pressure on teenage recruit Glen McAuley to do something quickly if they are to finish in the top four this term.
They had Mikey Drennan sent off late on, long after John Mountney's goal decided a forgettable game. The champions were in cruise control once they went in front and Rovers will feel it a necessity that they beat a struggling Cork City at Turner's Cross tomorrow to keep the pressure up.
Dundalk, who are in action again in the Champions League against Qarabag in Baku Wednesday, made eight changes from the 1-1 draw against the Azeris, including an entirely new back four.
The highly-rated Cameron Dummigan started at right-back, with Georgie Kelly coming in up front. Patrick's passed with purpose and Drennan nearly ended his goal drought but failed to connect with Dean Clarke's cross. Drennan lacks confidence, evinced by a tepid shot from a free-kick on ten minutes.
If Dundalk were second-best in the first half in their 1-1 draw against Qarabag, they were sluggish again here, albeit without conceding. Pat's sensed they had a chance.
However, Dundalk are always threatening and Dean Jarvis' cross on 20 minutes found John Mountney, Brendan Clarke making a smart save.
Conor Clifford, outstanding in front of goal in recent weeks, sprayed the ball around with confidence, and it was hard to tell that Pat's went into the game 19 points behind the champions.
Chris Shields tries to get away from Chris Forrester
However, the former Dundalk midfielder got a deserved yellow for hacking down Patrick McEleney ten minutes before the break.Dundalk have had historic struggles in their domestic matches after big European games and the first half was a similar story, with few incidents of note at either end.
Gorgeous play by McEleney ended in his dinking a left-footed cross shortly after the break but Dan Kelly failed to connect. However, six minutes after the interval, McEleney again found space on the left and crossed for Mountney, who guided into the net with his left foot at the back post.
Pat's were now pretty clueless in possession and gave every indication they are a team lacking confidence up front, their strikers having had such a poor campaign. Their passing was very out of sorts as Dundalk established domination.
Sean Murray, superb against Qarabag, fizzed a free-kick wide shortly after Dundalk brought both Jamie McGrath and Patrick Hoban off the bench.Drennan's frustrating campaign got worse with three minutes left when he collided with Gary Rogers and saw yellow, then getting sent off after arguing with the referee â€“ the County Kilkenny man's second red for mouthing at the whistler this season.
One positive for Pat's is that the out-of-sorts Chris Forrester did pretty well after coming off the bench, threatening a belated return to brilliance. For Dundalk, this was a perfect send-off to eastern Europe, as they barely broke a sweat.