Dundalk and St Patrick's Athletic played out a hard fought goalless draw at Oriel Park with both sides finishing the game with ten men.
It looked like the pendulum had swung in Dundalk's favour when Pat's centre-back Ken Oman was shown a straight red card by referee Neil Doyle for a crude tackle on John Mountney after 66 minutes.
However the Lilywhites' numerical advantage lasted just four minutes as striker David McMillan was also dismissed for an altercation with Pat's sub Derek Foran four minutes later.
The result sends Dundalk into the mid-season break sitting top of the table, three points ahead of Cork City and six ahead of third placed Pat's.
A draw was probably the fairest outcome following a tense 90 minutes.
Dundalk, in keeping with their recent form, exploded from the traps but were kept at bay by a stubborn Pat's back line. The closest the hosts came to breaking through was after just three minutes. Darren Meenan got away from Chris Forrester way too easily on the right and his low cross cum shot just evaded David McMillan and Dane Massey - by centimeters - at the back post.
Meenan was then involved again soon after, setting Daryl Horgan away on the right before collecting the return. Unfortunately for Dundalk, he couldn't adjust his body and the shot floated wide.
Pat's settled to the task after withstanding the early pressure and Chris Forrester should have done better with an effort in the 21st minute. Dane Massey's clearance bounced off Brennan and kindly into Forrester's path but he snatched at the half volley.
The visiting support were given more encouragement five minutes later. Byrne's corner was met by a thunderous Kenny Browne header that Massey blocked on the line. From the ensuing scramble, Pat's had loud appeals for a penalty waved away by referee Neil Doyle.
The second-half saw both goalkeepers relatively untroubled again.
Mountney became the focal point of the Dundalk attack for the final 20 minutes but it was right-back Sean Gannon who almost broke the stalemate, his right footed drive whistling just past Brendan Clarke's post.
Liam Buckley introduced Mark Quigley as the game approached the final ten minutes and the former Dundalk striker almost made a big impression, forcing Cherrie to scramble to his right to make a late save.
Dundalk: Cherrie; Gannon, Gartland, Rossiter, Massey; Towell, Shields; Meenan (Griffin 80), Byrne (Mountney 63), Horgan; McMillan.
St Patrick's Athletic: Clarke; McCormack, Oman, Browne, Bermingham; Chambers, Bolger, Brennan; Byrne (Lynch 78), Fagan (Quigley 78), Forrester (Foran 68).
Referee: Neil Doyle.