Dundalk claimed second place in the Airtricity Premier Division and condemned Bray Wanderers to the relegation/promotion play-off after a 2-0 win at the Carlisle Grounds.
Goals in each half from Patrick Hoban and Kurtis Byrne were enough for Stephen Kenny’s men to hold off Sligo Rovers.
The defeat leaves Bray second from bottom in the table and facing two next games Monday and Friday against Longford Town to preserve their Premier Division status.
For Dundalk, the €45,000 awarded to the league's runners-up will be welcome they aim to build for next season’s title challenge.
The confirmation of second place brought some cheer for Dundalk as it followed the death of former long-serving player Tommy McConville, who was honoured with a minute’s applause before kick-off.
Bray, who had won two games on the spin, made one change from the side that beat Bohemians last week. Captain Danny O’Connor failed to recover from injury and was replaced by Daire Doyle.
An unchanged Dundalk were given an early scare as Kieran Marty Waters charged down Peter Cherrie’s clearance after a poor back pass from Mark Rossiter.
At the other end, tame efforts from Hoban and Dane Massey failed to trouble Darren Quigley.
The visitors were more comfortable on the ball, but did not cause Bray too many problems until they went ahead five minutes before the break.
Cross-field passes from Towell and Byrne led to Stephen O’Donnell cushioning the ball into the path of Hoban. The low shot flew past Quigley into the bottom corner.
Bray rallied after the goal and Kevin O’Connor forced Cherrie into a smart stop before half-time.
Dundalk went two ahead on the hour mark when Byrne raced through onto John Mountney’s pass and slid in to poke the ball past Quigley.
The home side became stretched as they pressed to get back into the game, with Dundalk hitting them on the break. Quigley kept the score down by keeping out efforts from Towell and O’Donnell.
Bray battled to the end and Cherrie was called on to keep out substitute Gary Dempsey’s effort in the final minutes.
Their attention switches to the Monday night when they host Longford at the Carlisle Grounds, before heading to the midlands for the return leg next Friday night.
Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley; Daire Doyle, David Webster, Shane O’Connor, Dean Zambra; Ismahil Akinade, Kevin O’Connor, Kevin Maher (Gary Dempsey 64), Kieran Marty Waters (Conor Earley 80); John Mulroy, Jason Byrne (Ryan Coombes 71).
Subs not used: Kevin Knight, Eoin Hyland, Niall Cooney, Shane Redmond.
Booked: K O’Connor,
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Mark Rossiter, Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey; John Mountney, Chris Shields, Stephen O’Donnell (John Dillon 87), Richie Towell, Kurtis Byrne (Darren Meenan 89); Patrick Hoban (Vinny Faherty ’84).
Subs not used: John Sullivan, Tiarnan Mulvenna, Francis McCaffrey, Conor Winn.