Shaw joy for hoops in Oriel
After making their exit from the Europa League during the week, Shamrock Rovers went a long way to ensuring they would be back in it next year by collecting three valuable points at Oriel Park.
Gary Shaw's fifth-minute goal did the damage, securing a win that moves Stephen Bradley's side into third place, one point ahead of Derry City.
Dundalk remain 11 ahead of the Hoops and have all but guaranteed a place in the same competition for next season, but with their Champions League hopes ended by Rosenborg in Norway last Wednesday night, and the league title heading south to Cork, the two domestic cups are all that is left on offer for Stephen Kenny's side.
Just 30 seconds had elapsed when Dylan Connolly reacted quickly to break into the Hoops box but his effort was brilliantly saved by Tomer Chencinski.
Rovers responded brilliantly and took the lead with their first chance of the evening.
Ryan Connolly found Gary Shaw on the edge of the penalty area and he had enough room to spin Brian Gartland and rifle the ball past Gary Rogers from 18 yards. Dundalk looked jumpy in possession but they started to make some inroads, with Dane Massey going close to restoring parity with a curler that went wide of Checinski's post in the 11th minute. Play continued to swing from end to end, and Brandon Miele almost punished Paddy Barrett for a misplaced pass, the Rovers' man seeing his effort whistle past the upright.
Dundalk looked like they were beginning to build some momentum. Michael Duffy bent a shot just off target. David McMillan followed suit shortly after, pulling his effort wide under pressure from Dave Webster after a neat backheel by Connolly.
Burke became the first player to go into Rob Rogers' notebook on 38 minutes, a decision that was greeted by roars of delight from the crowd. From the subsequent free-kick, Barrett came in at the back post to get on the end of Connolly's delivery only to stab just wide.
Rovers probed for a second after the restart and Gary Rogers needed to get a solid hand on Dave Webster's header to keep Dundalk in the game.
Dundalk's midweek exertions looked to have taken their toll as things wore on. In contrast, Rovers seemed to have plenty in the tank and a Miele snapshot from distance forced Rogers into another decent save.
Stephen O'Donnell and Thomas Stewart both had half-chances late on but the expected Dundalk onslaught never arrived and Rovers held on for a well-earned win.