Dundalk came out on top against ten-man St Pat's in a pulsating encounter at Richmond Park thanks to goals from Matthew Tipton and Ross Gaynor.
Tipton flicked in the opener for the visitors on 26 minutes after good work from Dean Bennett and Daniel Kearns.
Gaynor put Dundalk two ahead on 52 before Damien Lynch reduced the arrears on 65 minutes, but Pat's couldn't muster an equaliser.
St Pat's were reduced to ten men when Ian Bermingham was sent off on 29 minutes.
The game started in bitterly cold conditions with both sides having plenty of possession but neither initially fully dominating.
Pat's introduced a new feature into their game in the form of the short corner which saw Brian Cash square the ball for Bermingham who then swung it into the area.
However, this invariably resulted in the Pat's man with the final touch missing the target or Dundalk repelling the threat before the ball reached the box.
Dundalk had Gaynor booked on 25 minutes for diving in the penalty area but they then took the lead a minute later.
Bennett's ball found Kearns on the right and he in turn floated a perfect ball across the face of goal and the inrushing Tipton flicked in from close range past Pat's goalkeeper Gary Rogers.
The Pat's keeper dived well to save from Fahrudin Kuduzovic on 29 minutes and seconds later Pat's were down to ten men when referee Alan Kelly showed Bermingham a straight red after he took down Tom Miller.
Pat's tried their hardest to get back into the game before the break but Brian Cash rocketed their best chance wide of the target on 41 minutes.
The banished Bermingham watched the second half from the director's box and saw Kearns nearly net Dundalk's second of the night with a cracking low drive on 49 but Rogers was well placed to make the save.
However, Dundalk persisted and doubled their lead on 52 minutes.
Kuduzovic was denied by the tracking Stuart Byrne and then blocked by Rogers and Derek Pender, before the ball fell for Gaynor to shoot in from the edge of the six-yard-box.
Pat's were back in the game on 65 minutes.
Conor Kenna was fouled by Liam Burns as Lynch's free-kick came into the area and referee Kelly pointed to the spot, booking Burns in the process.
Lynch's penalty was blocked by Dundalk keeper Peter Cherrie but the Pat's captain raced onto the rebound and smashed the ball past the Dundalk net minder.
Pat's went on the offensive after that, introducing Vinny Faherty, Gareth O'Connor and Sean Stewart, but Dundalk held out for three vital points.