St Patrick's Athletic slumped back to the bottom of the table as goals from Michael Duffy and David McMillan earned Dundalk a comfortable 2-0 victory at Richmond Park on Friday night.
Duffy opened the scoring slightly against the run of play after 21 minutes with a splendid free kick before McMillan secured the win with a solo effort midway through the second half.
Results elsewhere mean Pats drop three places to bottom position, behind Galway United on goal difference, while the Lilywhites remain 15 points behind Cork City in second.
Saints boss Liam Buckley opted not to make sweeping changes after Monday's 3-1 defeat at Finn Harps, with Pat Cregg and JJ Lunney for Graham Kelly and Conan Byrne the only changes.
Stephen Kenny made two changes from the side that drew with Derry City on Tuesday as captain Stephen O'Donnell and Sean Gannon replaced Robbie Benson and ex-Saint Sean Hoare.
There was a starting spot for another player to leave Richmond Park during the winter in Jamie McGrath, while Brian Gartland was fit to take a place on the bench having earlier been ruled out.
The Saints belied the pressure they're under at the bottom of the table with a bright start to the game, and they registered the first shot as JJ Lunney flashed a shot across goal after three minutes.
It took the Lilywhites a little longer to settle into the game, but they threatened when O'Donnell found himself in space on the right-hand side of the box, but he shot straight at Pats keeper Conor O'Malley.
The visitors probed and attempted to break the home side's determined shape, and it took until the 20th minute for Pats to crack as Gavin Peers rushed out of defence to trip David McMillan.
It was to prove costly as, from the free kick set up centrally 25 yards out, Duffy unleashed an unstoppable curling shot in the top left-hand corner of O'Malley's goal.
The home side were a touch unfortunate to find themselves behind, having contributed to a lively opening quarter, and they had a penalty shout turned down when Christy Fagan's cross appeared to bounce up onto the hand of Paddy Barrett.
Gradually, Dundalk's dominance of possession began to tell and they created a succession of chances as the Saints were indebted to O'Malley for a string of top-class saves to keep them in it.
Patrick McEleney was having a good game in the hole behind McMillan and he danced through two challenges in the box before attempting to nick the ball over O'Malley but the Castlebar man was equal to it, and again for Duffy's follow-up.
From the corner, O'Donnell had a glorious chance to make it two from close range but again O'Malley was live to it, somehow turning the ball over the bar with his feet, a stunning feat.
And the omnipresent O'Donnell found himself free down the left minutes later and sought to pick out McMillan in the box only to find O'Malley again his foil as he cut out the cross.
Pats did manage a chance of their own before half time, against the run of play, as they moved up the pitch with slick one-touch passing before Darragh Markey bent a shot straight at Gary Rogers.
Pats took the game to the Lilywhites early in the second half, pinning the Lilywhites into their half for three minutes before Kurtis Byrne's volley was saved by Rogers and pressure relieved.
Dundalk resumed their control of possession but they struggled to make inroads in the Pats third, with long-range shots from McEleney, McMillan and McEleney again the best they could muster.
McGrath had a chance to double the advantage when he skipped past the outrushing O'Malley in the box, but he was driven wide and couldn't find McMillan in the box.
It was McMillan who settled the tie shortly afterwards, as took the ball deep and run from left to right before squeezing a shot past O'Malley's fingertips, though the keeper may have done better.
Good link-up play between Markey and substitute Conan Byrne produced a good chance as Byrne picked his teammate out in the box but he couldn't beat Rogers from close range.
They continued to press as the Lilywhites looked content with their lot, with Markey particularly effective in the middle, but Dundalk comfortably saw the game out.
St Patrick's Athletic: Conor O'Malley; Michael Barker, Gavin Peers, Rory Feely, Ian Bermingham; Patrick Cregg (Graham Kelly 65), Lee Desmond (Alex O'Hanlon 74), JJ Lunney, Darragh Markey, Kurtis Byrne (Conan Byrne 80); Christy Fagan.
Subs not used: Barry Murphy (gk), Sam Verdon, Billy Dennehy, Josh O'Hanlon.
Booked: Michael Barker (77), Graham Kelly (90+1).
Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Paddy Barrett, Niclas Vemmelund, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Stephen O'Donnell (Robbie Benson 51), Jamie McGrath, Michael Duffy (Conor Clifford 87), Patrick McEleney; David McMillan (Ciaran Kilduff 84).
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava (gk), Brian Gartland, Sean Hoare, Thomas Stewart.
Referee: Sean Grant.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Patrick McEleney (Dundalk).