Second-half goals from Aaron McEneff and Aaron Greene sealed a deserved win for second-place Shamrock Rovers at Derry City.
Declan Devine's side paid the penalty as young striker David Parkhouse missed a golden chance to cancel out McEneff’s spot-kick when his penalty was kept out by Alan Mannus, then minutes later Greene sealed the points.
Having dominated for long periods in the opening half hour, the Hoops went close to breaking the deadlock on 37 minutes as Graham Burke’s stinging close-range strike was kept out by Peter Cherrie.
Derry’s first real effort came on 43 minutes as Gerardo Bruna, who signed a new one-year deal with the club earlier in the week, saw his 25-yard drive flash inches wide.
The home side went even closer early in the second half as Barry McNamee played in Jame McDonagh and the right winger’s curling first-time strike fizzed just past the post.
Rovers took the lead on 64 minutes from the penalty spot, after Greg Sloggett was adjudged to have brought down Jack Byne inside the box and McEneff made no mistake with the resulting penalty.
Derry missed a golden chance to equalise themselves from the penalty spot on 72 minutes.
Centre-back Roberto Lopes was deemed to have pushed Parkhouse inside the box, but the big striker’s resulting effort from 12 yards was kept out by Mannus, who dived to his right to keep the effort out.
Rovers compounded Parkhouse’s misery as they added a second four minutes later as Greene raced in behind Eoin Toal before firing past Cherrie.
Derry City: Peter Cherrie, Darren Cole, Ally Gilchirst, Eoin Toal, Ciaran Coll; Gerardo Bruna (Darren McCauley 78), Greg Sloggett, Barry McNamee (Jack Malone 74); Jamie McDonagh, David Parkhouse, Ciaron Harkin (Michael McCrudden 74).
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus, Ethan Boyle, Roberto Lopes (Brandon Kavanagh 87), Lee Grace, Sean Kavanagh; Greg Bolger, Ronan Finn, Aaron McEneff (Dylan Watts 78), Jack Byrne, Graham Burke (Gary O'Neill 77), Aaron Greene.
Referee: Robert Hennessy (Clare).